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High Bridge, Farmville, Virginia


On my trip to Farmville, Virginia I discovered the High Bridge Historic attraction somewhat outside of the city proper.  I was told the bridge itself is part of the High Bridge Trail State Park, which has a 30-mile limestone trail for hikers and bikers.  You can rent bikes and catch the beginning of the trail in Farmville downtown, but I was directed to parking lot along the trail that a local said is a quarter mile walk from the bridge.

High Bridge Trail Sign

High Bridge Signage

Being an extremely hot day, I figured the walk was manageable. However, the walk turned out to be over two miles.  A couple bikers passed me along the way and saw I was laboring in the heat and gave me some bottled water.  I finally reached the bridge where my vertigo took over.  This bridge is really high and has a wooden plank path across the length of the bridge with a lookout bench area.  The views made the difficult walk entirely worth the effort.

High Bridge #2

The bridge is over 2,400 feet long and rises 125 feet above the Appomattox River.  It is one of the longest in the USA. In the 1850s, the South Side Railroad was built between Lynchburg and Petersburg Virginia, and the High Bridge was completed as part of that railroad line in 1853.

High Bridge Bike TrailHigh Bridge Lookout

In the following decade, High Bridge was heavily damaged during the final days of the Civil War. After the last major battle of the Civil War, Confederate General Robert E. Lee retreated directly through the Town of Farmville, and the Confederate army crossed and then attempted to burn High Bridge. The Union forces saved the bridge and continued their pursuit of Lee’s army towards Appomattox Courthouse, where General Lee surrendered a few days later to General Ulysses S. Grant.

High Bridge Trail Sign (2)

After the war, the bridge was rebuilt and eventually became part of the Norfolk Southern Railway system. When maintenance costs became too high, the Farmville service was downgraded and eventually abandoned.

High Bridge

In 2006, Norfolk Southern donated 31 miles of abandoned rail to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. On April 6, 2012, after the “rail to trail” conversion and the restoration of High Bridge itself, the trail opened for the first time along its full length.


Images (7)
  • High Bridge #2
  • High Bridge Bike Trail
  • High Bridge Lookout
  • High Bridge Signage
  • High Bridge Trail Sign (2)
  • High Bridge Trail Sign
  • High Bridge

George G

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