High Bridge, a crossing of the Appomattox River near Farmville, Virginia, played a significant role in the final days of the Civil War in the east. As Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia retreated westward after the fall of Petersburg, rear-guard detachments would try to damage or disrupt avenues of Union pursuit. High Bridge was one such path. On April 6, 1865, the bridge was captured by a small Union force, a move which threatened to divide the Confederate Army on either side of the Appomattox. Fighting desperately, Confederate reinforcements managed to clear the bridge and capture nearly 800 Federal defenders. However, on April 7, fresh Union troops attacked and drove the Confederates out of their positions before the bridge could be destroyed. With the Union Army still hot on his tail, Robert E. Lee turned his men west towards Appomattox.
Today, the 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 itself, 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. The trail is a National Recreation Trail recognizing exemplary trails of local and regional significance, connecting people to nature, to each other, and to our shared history and culture. Bring drinking water because none is available on the trail.