As cooler weather finally arrives, it’s time to get back to nature on Lynchburg’s James River Heritage Trail www.lynchburgva.gov. Click on the trails link from the Parks and Recreation section of the city’s website for information and maps. The fall colors will soon be showing in our area and the James River Heritage Trail is a great place to enjoy the scenery. The James River Heritage Trail is actually a series of trails meandering through Lynchburg’s Blackwater Creek area. There are entrances to the trail system located throughout the city.
The best known and most used section of the James River Heritage Trail is the RiverWalk trail at the Percival’s Island Natural Area downtown. RiverWalk is a 2.3 mile level paved trail that begins downtown on Jefferson Street and runs beside the James River, crosses over the river, and ends in Amherst County at Fertilizer Road.
The Blackwater Creek Bikeway was the first section of the James River Heritage Trail and was completed in the 1970s. Blackwater Creek Bikeway has two public parking areas, accessed off Old Langhorne Road at the Ed Page entrance and at the East Randolph Place entrance. Blackwater Creek Bikeway is a beautiful 3-mile long shaded trail suitable for walking, running, or bike riding.
The Blackwater Creek Bikeway also provides access to many hiking trails along the Blackwater Creek Natural Area including the popular Ruskin Freer Loop Trail. This trail leads to the Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve, which is a 115 acre natural area located in the center of the Blackwater Creek Natural Area. The nature preserve can be accessed from Thompson Drive, the Ed Page entrance, and the East Randolph Place entrance. The Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve was named for long-time Lynchburg College professor Ruskin Freer who shared his love of nature and wildlife with his students.
Another popular biking and hiking trail located in the center of the Blackwater Creek Natural Area is the Creekside Trail, a five-mile long gravel trail that can be accessed from the Blackwater Creek Athletic Area and the Point of Honor Trail. This is a popular trail for families that runs beside Blackwater Creek and includes six bridges along the way, many trees, shrubs, and plants. Deer and birds are in abundance on this trail, allowing for great photography.
Point of Honor Trail is 1.7 miles long and is a paved trail for walking, running, and biking. This trail crosses Blackwater Creek at Hollins Mill Park and also provides acccess to Creekside Trail and the Blackwater Creek Bikeway.
Families can often be seen walking and biking in the cool Hollins Mill Tunnel, located mid-way between Point of Honor and the East Randolph Place entrance to the Blackwater Creek Bikeway. The tunnel is a favorite of children and they love the water dripping down from above.
There’s so much to see and it’s all free. So bring the family down to explore the beauty of Lynchburg on the Blackwater Creek Bikeway. Maps are available in boxes located along the Blackwater Creek Bikeway or you can print one out at the Parks and Recreation’s trails link on Lynchburg city’s website www.lynchburgva.gov.