New River Trail: Hiwassee Trestle

The New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way.  The rail corridor was donated to the state of Virginia by Norfolk Southern Corporation in 1986, and by summer 1987, the trail’s first four miles were opened.

The park parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles and passes through four counties and the city of Galax.  The trail’s gentle slope makes it great for visitors of all ages to hike, bike and ride horseback.

The trail has two tunnels, three major bridges, and nearly 30 smaller bridges and trestles.  These photos, taken one after the other as I moved closer to the center of the bridge, are of the Hiwassee Bridge which is 951 feet in length.

The bridge allows all users to cross over the gorgeous New River.

Multiple access points to the New River Trail make it one of the most popular eco-tourism destinations in Southwest Virginia.  If you are ever in my neck of the woods, I’d love to take you there.  My great friend and fellow blogger Karen, from The Unassuming Hiker, can also show you around.  She and her husband section hiked all 57 miles.

Much of the text of this post was taken from the Department of Conservation and Recreation website, linked above.

14 thoughts on “New River Trail: Hiwassee Trestle

  1. I tend to feel quite smug when you write about the New River Trail, being as how we walked alongside the New River and I believe saw that bridge, (was it this bridge?) even if from a distance and even if we did a mere fraction of the 57 miles worth of trail and even if I was so jet lagged and exhausted most of it is now a blur, I still remember the colours and feel of that excursion and us all wandering around and listening to you speak with such pride and love of your city.

  2. Oh Laurie, this makes me want to load up the bike and go on a road trip to Virginia. Beautiful photos! I love bike trails with tunnels and bridges. This one is completely awesome! Wisconsin has many trails formed from the beds of old railroad tracks. It makes perfect sense to utilize those in favor of a place for hikers, bikers and horse people to enjoy.

  3. What a great read! Very descriptive 🙂 we are hoping to get onto this trail one day soon 🙂 any tips? Check out the trails we done so far to if your interested, appreciate your advice and support.

  4. Love the photos and discovered the New River Rail Trial back in April. Started biking it a couple days ago. We started at the Shot Tower, biked to Foster Falls and back.

    Where abouts is this bridge located, from Shot Tower? Or where is the nearest access point? We’ve completed the Virignia Creeper Trail and This is our next check Mark.

    Enjoyable read. Thank you.


  5. Well, it’s almost five years later and I’ve come across your blog when googling New River Trail trestles! Great pics. My friend Neal Kilgore used to be the head honcho of the NRT State Park and before it was open in some sections, there were no rails on the trestles yet. He used to cross them in his State pick-up truck anyway! He said he took some volunteers/interns along with him a couple of times when they went out to do work and they were shocked when they realized he was going to cross. He said, very calmly and matter-of-factly, “It would have been too far to go all the way around to get to the other side.” 🙂

Because Boomdee dared me: Lay a little sugar on me :-)

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