Blackwater Creek Natural Area

Blackwater Creek Natural Area is the largest of Lynchburg’s city parks, featuring miles of trails and several picnic sites, scenic vistas, an off-leash dog park, and a multi-use athletic field. It is also home to the 115-acre Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve. Read this first!

The paved trail runs alongside Blackwater Creek and intersects with earthen trails that allow you to explore more of the woods.

Nature

Encompassing 288 acres, Blackwater Creek Natural Area is the largest of Lynchburg city parks and boasts miles of trails, picnic sites, scenic vistas, and an off-leash dog park. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife and flora.

The park’s wooded nature preserve offers paved and earthen trails for biking, jogging, and walking. The Blackwater Creek Trail, a 3.2-mile paved trail, is one of the most popular in the area and connects to other paved trails like the Kemper Street Trail and Point of Honor Trail.

The park is also home to the Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve, named in honor of a Lynchburg College biology teacher and dedicated to plant conservation and education. The preserve features an interpretive loop trail and 36 plant identification signs.

History

In addition to hiking and running trails, the park features an off-leash dog area, sports fields, scenic vistas, and an educational center. The 300-acre Blackwater Creek Natural Area, located within a narrow stream valley, provides hikers, runners, and bikers with an expansive trail system.

The paved trail follows a former railroad line through Lynchburg’s cityscape, which was once dotted with Norfolk and Western rail yards and service facilities. The track passes through a slender, mile-long island in the James River called Percival’s Island, where old relics such as a railroad tunnel can be seen.

The paved trail continues through the forest along the creek, with sycamore, tulip poplar, and walnut trees among the flora. Wildflowers bloom in spring, and woodland species such as bloodroot and jack-in-the-pulpit can be found throughout the year. Discover more exciting places here.

Events

In Lynchburg, a walk down the Blackwater Creek Trail takes you away from a bustling urban downtown street to a serene trail beside a babbling stream and onto an island. This city-owned trail system is a wonderful place for joggers, hikers, and cyclists to experience the outdoors in a natural setting.

The paved trail is intersected by earthen trails that allow visitors to explore the woods and walk beside Blackwater Creek. One of the unique features of the trail is Hollins Mill Tunnel, which is an old railroad tunnel that is a sight to behold.

A connector trail to the Freer Loop Trail exits the paved bike path at 0.7 miles from the Ed Page Trailhead. Also near the trailhead is a beautiful Awareness Garden.

Parking

A number of parking options are available near Blackwater Creek Natural Area. For example, Fort Avenue Park is a fenced neighborhood park that is popular for picnics, family gatherings, and basketball games. The park has three separate picnic areas with grills and is shaded by large trees.

Another option is the Ed Page trailhead on Langhorne Road, which has ample parking and a nice park. This paved trail is perfect for jogging, walking, and biking and connects to the Jefferson Heritage Trail. It also leads to Percival’s Island Natural Area and the RiverWalk Trail.

Peaks View Park on Ivy Creek Greenway offers a 1.75-mile multi-use, paved linear trail with flat sections that are easy enough for kids. The park also includes a playground, fishing access, and beautiful views of the Ivy Creek swinging bridge and historic Hollins Mill Dam.

Facilities

The scenic Blackwater Creek Trails snake through the city and offer a tranquil escape into nature. The paved and earthen trails are ideal for walking, jogging, and biking. Segments of the trail feature a waterfall, an abandoned railroad tunnel and a bridge to Percival’s Island.

A paved trail also showcases Lynchburg’s namesake river, which aided the development of local industries during the Civil War. The sycamore, walnut, oak, maple, hickory, and tulip poplar trees that thrive in the Blackwater Creek Natural Area provide food and shelter for deer, wild turkeys, opossums, and raccoons.

The Ruskin Freer Nature Preserve is named after a renowned biology teacher at Lynchburg College and features an interpretive loop trail that displays various stages of plant growth. It also includes 36 plant identification signs. Check out this interesting post!

 

 

Driving directions from All Lit Up to Blackwater Creek Natural Area

Driving directions from Blackwater Creek Natural Area to Ivy Creek Park

 

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