Wednesday, August 15, 2012

High Bridge Trail State Park

Click on the photos to enlarge them
Sign announcing The High Bridge Trail State Park

The High Bridge Trail is 31 miles long. The trail runs through Nottoway, Cumberland, and Prince Edward counties and nears the border of Appomattox County. The far ends of the trail are from Pamplin City, VA to beyond Moran Road almost to Burkeville, VA. High Bridge Trail is open to bicyclists, foot traffic and horse back riding. The trail surface is made up of crushed white limestone.  It is built on a railway no longer used by Norfolk Southern Railroad.  Norfolk Southern donated approximately 500 acres to the state for the park. The trail was opened in sections over several years. The final section, The  High Bridge, was opened in April of 2012.

The first High Bridge was built in 1854 across the Appomattox River connecting Petersburg to Lynchburg. The bridge is 2,400 feet long and ranges from 60 to 125 feet high. It was originally made of wood, standing on 21 brick towers and included a pedestrian walkway next to the tracks. It was the site of several significant battles during the civil war. 

For more information on The High Bridge State Park click here.
The High Bridge Trail head in Pamplin City, VA.

I wanted to ride the whole trail from end to end. Of course this meant that when I got to one end I had to turn around and ride all the way back. I started my ride at the trail head in Pamplin City, VA.
There are restroom facilities approximately every five miles along the trail. They are clean and pretty much odorless.
The photo above shows much of how the trail looks. Once I became tired and out of food and water it all began to look the same. Be sure and take more food and water than you would ever think you might need. There are little opportunities for food or water outside of Farmville, VA.
The video below will give you an idea of what riding on the trail is like.

Music: Ain't it a shame by Lightnin' Hopkins
Nice restrooms on the trail as it crosses Main Street in the town of Farmville, VA. Be sure and take note of the water- fountains on the outside of the building. Don't miss the opportunity to fill all of your water-bottles.

I stopped and loaded up on freshly made cookies at Walker's Diner on Main Street in Farmville, VA. The diner backs up to The High Bridge Trail. The small diner's only seating is stools at the counter. They sell t-shirts with, "Don't be a fool, sit on a stool", their slogan and the name of the diner printed on them.

The beginning of the High Bridge.

Looking across The High Bridge

A view of the Appomattox River from The High Bridge.

There are a couple of shady spots to rest on benches and take in the view from The High Bridge.
The video below is crossing the bridge on a bicycle.
Music: Take me on the midnight train by The Boxcars
I took this picture of the bridge's structure from one of the shady rest stops on The High Bridge.

Brick and mortar pilings of an older bridge's construction. The bridge has been rebuilt five times since the original was constructed in 1854.

1854

1865

1913 -  1914

1929

The High Bridge Trail crosses several roads. These gates allow trail users to pass and slows them down at intersections. The yellow gates also help to keep motorized vehicles off of the trail.

At this intersection the trail crosses a dirt road. I was glad to see that there are still dirt roads around.

I could imagine steam powered locomotives making their way along this route.

I was disappointed when I reached the end of The High Bridge Trail in Moran and found that it just stopped in the middle of no where. I was apprehensive when I realised I was almost out of water, it was 90 degrees and it was 15 miles back to Farmville before I would have a chance to refill my water-bottles and buy some food. I slowed my pace a little and stopped a couple of times to take photos and made it to food and water ok.

I had a great time on my cycling adventure riding The High Bridge Trail. At the end I had ridden a total of just over 62 miles. Being able to ride this far without having to deal with cars was very nice.  I posted many pictures since every picture tells a story. In the early 1970's Rod Stewart sang a song titled "Every Picture Tells A Story".  Below he sings it in 1992.



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