High Bridge Trail is 31 miles long and ideally suited for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Once a rail bed, the trail is wide, level and generally flat. Its finely crushed limestone surface and dimensions make it easy to enjoy. The park’s centerpiece is the majestic High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 125 feet above the Appomattox River. It is the longest recreational bridge in Virginia and among the longest in the United States. High Bridge, a Virginia Historic Landmark, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Location: There are 9-entrances to this park. Addresses to these entrances can be found HERE. The parking lot closest to the actual High Bridge is Camp Paradise Road. It is .3 miles from the bridge. It is closed until May 18 due to renovations. (~2 hours from Fredericksburg)
Hours: The park is open sunrise to dusk.
Cost: $5 per vehicle/ Free for homeschoolers who show their homeschool ID or NOI letter. Pay lots. You may use cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express at self-pay lots.
Click HERE for the trail map.
Website: High Bridge Trail State Park
- There are 8 bathrooms spread out over the trail.
- The wide, flat trail is perfect for strollers.
- Bring drinking water because none is available on the trail.
National Kids to Park Day – Fish & Bike Edition is May 15, 2021. There are lots of free kids’ activities. Details can be found HERE.
Three years ago we headed to High Bridge State Park for part of spring break. The 1/2-mile hike across the bridge was amazing. There are several lookouts on the bridge which provide sweeping views of the river and surrounding landscape. The views were breathtaking.
We’re looking forward to the bridge’s reopening as it really is a unique experience.
Civil War History of High Bridge:
By April 6, 1865, General Robert E. Lee’s army was depleted and short of food and other supplies. Lee hoped to retreat until he could join other Confederate forces in North Carolina. He wanted to use the Appomattox River as a barrier to Union troops.
Lee’s army retreated across the High Bridge and attempted to burn it, to prevent Grant’s army from pursuing them. There was also a smaller wagon bridge below the High bridge, and Grant’s army used that to cross the swollen river.
The Union thus prevented him from joining forces to the south and also seized rations Lee needed for his army
Lee retreated to Appomattox where his generals reported to him it was no use to continue fighting.
On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered.
You can learn more HERE.
Camp Paradise: Members of Donaldsonville’s Artillery guarded High Bridge from these earthwork fortifications. These members were “feasted” and “pampered” by local families so the post became known as “Camp Paradise”.
The Donaldsonville Artillery detachment took part in the Battle of High Bridge on April 6, 1865.
We were able to see these earthwork fortifications on our hike/walk to the bridge.
For some beautiful footage of High Bridge State Park, watch this video:
Be sure to add High Bridge State Park to your list of weekend adventures!