One of the most beloved parks in Lynchburg, and the second oldest, Riverside Park has over 49 acres of rolling parkland with lovely stands of trees and walking trails that provide views of the wooded hillsides and the river beyond. The park has wonderful views of the James River from the Overlook and along the Alpine Trail, which was the first dedicated hiking trail in Lynchburg.
Active recreation opportunities include tennis and basketball, with extensive playground equipment for younger children located in the front of the park. The latest addition to the park is the first fully accessible playground in Lynchburg. The park also includes the sprayground, open seasonally. The transportation exhibit in the park includes a train locomotive, tender, and caboose, the Fink Deck Truss Bridge, which is a national engineering landmark, and the hull of the packet boat, Marshall.
The tennis courts located in the front of the park are named in honor of the local tennis patron, Dr. Walter Johnson, who provided summer tennis camps for African-American children, including Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson.
Visitors will enjoy the view of the surrounding ravine down to the James from the Overlook, while more serious hikers will revel in the trees and wildlife found along the Alpine Trail. The Alpine Trail descends steeply towards the James River and then winds back up to the park.
Two picnic shelters and a gazebo can be rented for picnics, birthday parties or family reunions. For more information or to rent/reserve a shelter or the gazebo, visit the rentals page or call (434) 455-5858.
Master Planning for Riverside Park began in the fall of 2007. Stakeholders, interested community members and City staff worked closely with a team of landscape architects from John Milner Associates, Inc., throughout the Master Planning process.
The Junior League of Lynchburg recently joined other groups contributing both time and money to the renovation of historic Riverside Park. Along with the Junior League donation of $125,000, over $1 million dollars in grant funding and organizational donations have contributed to the renovation.
Partners of Riverside Park include the James River Garden Club, Lynchburg Garden Club, Lynchburg Historical Foundation, Lynchburg Kiwanis Club, Lynchburg Rotary Club, and the Junior League of Lynchburg. The project has received substantial grant funding from VDOT through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act- A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) program.
Lynchburg’s first fully-accessible playground opened in the fall of 2012. Designed to provide recreation and family fun for children of all abilities, the playground was funded by donations from the Rotary Club and the City of Lynchburg. The playground features: Handicap accessible walkways and play equipment, two play structures- one, a large locomotive-themed play structure, and another sanctuary structure ideal for children who prefer a quieter place to play, a sensory wall and drum circle area with built-in instruments to please kids of all ages, benches, water fountains, and beautifully landscaped grounds with shrubs and flowers to attract butterflies and birds.
- Tennis courts
- Basketball courts
- ADA compliant playground
- Sensory wall and drum circle area
- Trail access
- Picnic shelters