Lynchburg is home to a beautiful network of earthen and paved trails that run through the Blackwater Creek Natural Area. Although many residents and visitors are familiar only with the trails of Blackwater Creek, there are many trails alongside the creek and beyond to explore.
Heading to Percival’s Island? Visit our RiverWalk page.
Blackwater Creek Trail
The Blackwater Creek Trail is one of the most popular trails in the city. Following along the winding Blackwater Creek and built along an abandoned railway bed, this 3-mile paved trail is perfect for jogging, walking, or biking. It trail travels through a lovely urban forest, and is intersected at various points with earthen trails that allow visitors to delve deeper into the forested area and enjoy the many plants and wildlife species inhabiting it.
Beginning at the Ed Page entrance , it’s about three miles to the entrance to the RiverWalk Trail, or approximately 2 miles before reaching the Point of Honor Trail Section.
Public parking is available at both the Ed Page and East Randolph Place entrances. Restrooms are available at the Ed Page entrance.
The Awareness Garden
The Awareness Garden is also located at the Ed Page entrance. The beautiful garden is a special place for all of those whose lives have been affected by cancer. The garden was funded by the Awareness Garden Foundation. For more information be sure to look at the brochure box located in the garden, or visit their website.
Point of Honor Trail
The Point of Honor trail section is a 1.5 mile spur off of the Blackwater Creek Trail, traveling past the historic Point of Honor home before connecting to the entrance of RiverWalk and back to the eastern end of the Blackwater Creek Trail. Point of Honor is a historic home, situated on a point of land in the Daniel’s Hill neighborhood overlooking the James River. The trail also passes through scenic Hollins Mill Park.
The Point of Honor Trail section also provides access to the Creekside Trail.
Kemper Station Trail
Kemper St. and Park Ave.
Blackwater Creek Trail Mile 2
The Kemper Station Trail section joins the Blackwater Creek Trail near mile marker 2.0 and ends at the historic Kemper Street Train Station, connecting trail users to Lynchburg’s Midtown neighborhood and Miller Park. The Kemper Station trail section was dedicated on March 30, 2006.
Blackwater Creek Athletic Area
Point of Honor Trail
Neighborhood Entrances (see below)
Beginning at the Blackwater Creek Athletic Area, this earthen trail follows Blackwater Creek for approximately five miles. Located in a steep-sided stream valley, the Creekside Trail provides the perfect place to search for early spring woodland wildflowers, birding opportunities, and year-round wildlife observation.
The gravel path is level and suitable for both bikers and hikers. The trail is marked with yellow blazes, and connects to the Marsh Farm Trail, Elk Trail, Freer Interpretive Loop Trail, Beaver Trail, Jefferson Park Trail, and the Point of Honor Trail. Neighborhood entrances are located at Hill Street, Langhorne Road, Peninsular Street, Thomson Drive and Hillsdale Road. With six (6) bridges along the trail, children especially will enjoy exploring the sights and sounds of the creek along the way.
A wide variety of lowland species of trees, shrubs and perennial plants are found along the banks, including sycamore, willow and joe-pye weed. Deer and beaver can be seen along the stream banks, and year-round birds as well as migrating species frequent the rich habitat along the stream valley.
Ruskin Freer Loop
The Ruskin Freer Loop Trail can be accessed at different points along the Blackwater Creek Trail.
The Ruskin Freer Loop Trail is designed to showcase the amazing abundance of plant and animal life in the Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve.
This 115 acre preserve is named in honor of Ruskin Freer, a noted teacher of biology at Lynchburg College who inspired generations of individuals to love and protect wildlife. The preserve is located near the center of the Blackwater Creek Natural Area and shows various stages of plant growth marked by five interpretive signs and 36 plant identification signs along the loop trail.
The Freer Loop Trail is not paved and is restricted to foot travel only. Please help us preserve this special area by following all of the rules for natural areas.
The Blackwater Creek Natural Area (BWCNA) is primarily a linear greenway that follows the winding route of Blackwater Creek, incorporating wooded hillsides and stream valleys throughout its length. Extensive trails- both paved and earthen- allow hikers, bikers, and runners access to most of the natural area, as well as connecting busy neighborhoods, schools, and parks to the peace and solitude of the BWCNA.
Many varieties of plants and animals thrive in the BWCNA. Tree species found in the natural area include sycamore, spice bush, paw-paw, walnut, oak, pine, hickory, maple, and tulip poplar. The abundant flora provides food and habitat to support the deer, wild turkeys, oppossums, raccoons, foxes, snakes, and rodents. An abundance of bird species, including cardinals, doves, sparrows, finches, blue jays, owls, hawks, wrens, flickers, herons, and pileated woodpeckers can be found.
Located near the center of the Blackwater Creek Natural Area, is the Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve named in honor of a renowned biology teacher at Lynchburg College. The preserve has an interpretive loop trail that includes plant identification signs, as well as information about plant growth and succession.
Trail Safety and Etiquette:
Check out our trail safety and etiquette page for important information about staying safe on the trails, and how to have a good experience while traveling on the trails.