Thursday, December 31, 2009

DRBA to Hike Richmond & Danville Rail-Trail

Returning to a popular hike in Pittsylvania County, at 10:00 on January 2, 2010, DRBA will hike four miles on the Richmond & Danville Rail-Trail, beginning at Hackberry Road near Sutherlin, VA. Starting near wetlands where wildlife, especially water birds, may be visible, the hike on the smooth, five-foot-wide, crushed-stone surface passes farms, homesteads, fields, and forests. Three miles into the trip, hikers will stop for lunch at the five-arch stone trestle over Sandy Creek, a stunning, well-preserved structure. The hike will end at the Shawnee Road parking area one mile beyond the trestle.

Chartered in 1835, the Richmond & Danville Railroad ran its first train in 1856. During the Civil War it was the busiest link between Southside Virginia and the Confederate capital at Richmond. Jefferson Davis and the entire Confederate cabinet retreated from Richmond to Danville along this line in 1865, probably carrying the Confederate treasury with them before it mysteriously disappeared.

Preserved by the Dan River Trail Association for hikers, bikers, and equestrians, the R&D rail-trail is projected to be part of the Beaches to Bluegrass trail system that will cross southern Virginia.

Hikers should meet at 10:00 a.m. at the eastern terminus of the trail, located on Hackberry Road (GPS coordinates: North 36°37'28.37" West 79°11'58.44"). Trip coordinator Paul Johnson advises, "Wear stout shoes, dress in layers and bring lunch, water, a camera and a good hiking stick." All participants will be asked to sign a waiver form.


From South Boston, travel west on U.S. 58 about 3 miles past the intersection of Highway 119 to Hackberry Road. Turn right. Travel 3.2 miles to the trailhead on the left, just past a large body of open water.

From Danville, travel east on U.S. 58. About 3.9 miles past the traffic signal at the intersection of state Highway 62 turn left on Hackberry Road. Travel 3.2 miles to the trailhead on the left, just past a large body of open water.

Further information: Paul Johnson, 434-579-7599 or

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