High Bridge


“There have been higher bridges not so long and longer bridges not so high but taking the height and length together, this is perhaps, the largest bridge in the world.”C.O. Sanford, South Side Railroad’s chief engineer, 1852

High Bridge

I first stumbled upon High Bridge, or High Bridge State Park, while on a charity ride in 2013. Our route for the day didn’t take us anywhere near this site but that was the problem. Our map didn’t take us anywhere. The organization wasn’t organized and after making a 30-mile loop we were back to where we started. Someone (me) saw the trail and the signs to High Bridge and we made a deal. Let us ride over the bridge and we’ll call our 50-mile ride to nowhere a ride to somewhere and drive the rest of the way to Raleigh.

Train station, Farmville, Va.

It was an early Spring day in 2013 and there were lots of users out on the trail. I wanted to see it without people so I chose a day in December. And I didn’t see any users until I was nearing the end of my ride when a couple went by on bikes. It was a gray day with temperatures in the upper 50s. I would have preferred a few more degrees or sunshine but I could not control that.

Farmville, Va.

I chose to park in a shopping plaza next to a Cook Out restaurant. I wanted to see a little of the charming town of Farmville and not just stick to the trail. Although the prettiest part of the downtown I bypassed by staying on the trail. It’s charming nonetheless.

High Bridge

In preparation for the ride, I read some trail reviews on TrailLink.com. What junk reviews. One user complained because Mile Marker 0.0 is in the middle of the bridge and they count up from there – in both directions. He stated he wouldn’t be back. Who really cares?

MM 0.0
The center of the bridge

Other users complained because the bridge is the only fixture on the trail. They don’t make trails based on your model train layout. Another complained that the crushed limestone was really gravel. Well, duh!

High Bridge Trail

It’s a rail trail. Almost all of its 33 miles are flat (a feature of most rail beds turned rail trail). There are no great vistas along the trail except for one and it’s really great – the bridge. The surface is crushed limestone which was mostly packed solid making for a very passable surface even for a road bike – which I rode today.

High Bridge

Farmville is a charming college town. Longwood University is located here. From Farmville to the bridge is 4.5 miles (7.25 km). The trail is not a thru-trail, unlike the Great Allegheny Passage which connects Pittsburgh with Cumberland (and to Washington, D.C. via the C&O Canal Towpath). Is it a “destination” trail? Maybe, depending on your perspective.

Downtown Farmville, Va.

I don’t know that I would plan to vacation here, unlike the Pine Creek Trail in Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon. Thirty-three miles is a little short for a destination trail. As mentioned previously, there is but one fixture, High Bridge, but that alone makes a trip here worthwhile.

High Bridge

I enjoyed the peace and quiet of today’s ride. It was weird not seeing any other users except that couple near the end. I saw four dogs roaming around. One had a really bad coat of fur but also a ribbon around his neck. They didn’t approach me and while I thought of approaching them, I did not. Likely as not to be someone’s pets that were off-leash.

High Bridge Trail in Farmville, Va.

Bottom line: If you’re anywhere near the trail, take a ride, a walk, or a run on it. The bridge is awesome.

Farmville, Va.

DISTANCE: 14.5 miles
WEIGHT: 172 pounds

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