Lynchburg Virginia and the Percival's Island nature trail, a pictorial visit.

A Nature Walk in Lynchburg Virginia

My wife and I try to get as much exercise as possible and one thing that we really enjoy in our travels in our RV is finding a great Nature trail for our walks.

We try to walk at least 4-5 miles a day, at least five days a week.

These walks keep us healthier, of course, and just walking among the many trees, plants and the occasional flowers turns what could be a boring task into a true joy for us.

So, we search out trails that are not just long enough for us, but very scenic if possible.

Percival's Island

The sign at the entrance to the Percival's Island section of the Riverwalk
The sign at the entrance to the Percival's Island section of the Riverwalk | Source

Lynchburg, a typical Southern town

We have been visiting my hometown of Lynchburg Virginia for a while and staying in our motorhome. Presently, we live in Florida but we do come back “home” occasionally to see our family and friends.

For your information, Lynchburg is a great little city in Central Virginia, pretty typical of the South, situated on the banks of the James River. It is named after it’s founder, John Lynch.

Lynch found that the area where the city is now located happens to be at the highest point of the James River that a boat can go without having to resort to portage.

This made the land along the banks of the river important as a potential area as a port for goods to be shipped inland and down to the coast.

The Lynch family acquired the adjacent land and established a Ferry across the river as well as eventually starting the new settlement, on the riverbanks of the James, that was to eventually become Lynchburg, Virginia.

Wild Strawberries growing on Percival's Island

Wild Strawberries grow along the path of the Riverwalk
Wild Strawberries grow along the path of the Riverwalk | Source

The James River at Lynchburg Virginia

A view of the James River from the Percival's Island bridge over to Amherst County
A view of the James River from the Percival's Island bridge over to Amherst County | Source

Percival's Island history

The city’s history is well known and documented and I won’t go into that in this article but I will mention the present and the very nice Walking trail on Percival’s Island.

Percival’s Island is right below the center of town and sits as a long spit of land between the city and the adjacent county of Amherst.

This island was used for over a hundred years by the railroad companies who owned it as a place to maintain and store rail cars off of the mainland, for their own convenience.

Lynchburg, and what were, at the time, the major industries, such as; the Lynchburg Foundry, the Tobacco and Cotton Warehouses, the railroads and others, were prosperous for many decades along the banks of what is called the “lower basin”.

Most of them have long been closed down and their buildings closed, including the railroads’ need for Percival’s Island.

The Riverwalk

The city now owns this island and regardless of what happens in the future, it has turned the island into one grand asset for the local citizens.

They tore out the old railroad tracks on the bridges and the island and replaced them with a well though out walking path along with several nature trails branching off to the river banks themselves.

They call this walkway “the Riverwalk” and it is just that, a great trip along the James River.

In conjunction with the county of Amherst they have established a wide paved trail including a bridge from Lynchburg on one end and another over to the Madison Heights area of Amherst on the other side.

The walk is a well wooded one that is over six miles long that provides numerous views of the James River and access to its banks.

There are a number of cleared areas for the individual, or couple, or family to lay out a blanket and just enjoy the sun and the surrounding nature or just relax and catch a few of the sun’s rays.

As I mentioned, there are several points along the Riverwalk where you can take your children or friends down to the water for a swim in the river, or a waterside picnic or just to watch the many people floating by on a warm summer’s day in their Kayaks, Canoes and other such floatation devices.

I mention all of this because when you add everything up, you have a world-class asset for the city where people can; take a casual walk, have a good run, ride their bike, or just take the family out for some fresh air.

My wife and I have been going downtown for the past few days, parking our car in a free parking lot situated below Commerce street and taking advantage of this great “Riverwalk”.

This is one place where I feel public monies were well spent.

And, judging by the happy faces on the many others using the Riverwalk, they also appreciate what a jewel the city has provided for them.

With it being the end of May, we did notice, on our walks, a number of flowering plants.

Most of what we saw were wild plants indigenous to the area, so it was a treat to find some of them blooming and some were even bearing fruit.

Riverwalk Views

One of the many informational signs along the Riverwalk
One of the many informational signs along the Riverwalk | Source
Honeysuckle vines in bloom
Honeysuckle vines in bloom | Source

Nature at its best

Blackberries, Huckleberries, Wild Strawberries, even Honeysuckle bushes were abundant along the path, you just had to stop and look. And you could even have a taste, if you wanted.

And, there were a few wild trees I remembered from my youth that we called Stinkweed. It's a tree that will grow where nothing else will and it smells nasty.

In fact, just touching a limb of this plant will transfer its odor onto your hands. I haven't seen one of these trees, up close for decades, but I did remember to keep my hands away from the little stinkers.

Overall, the variety of trees and bushes along the path was a good sampling of what I remember seeing in the wilds of Virginia for ages.

I had my camera with me, so I took a few shots of most of what I saw, as we walked along the pathways and banks of the river itself.

I have attached some photos of what we found blooming along the paths that day, along with some great views that might be of interest to you the reader, in case you want to take a great nature walk while in Lynchburg.

Kayaks and Canoes on the James River

Kayaks and Canoes on a lazy day float down the James River at Percival's Island
Kayaks and Canoes on a lazy day float down the James River at Percival's Island | Source

Annual Batteau Race in Lynchburg Virginia

Bridge video at Percival's Island

Do you Walk or Run

Do you Walk or Run for your Regular Exercise

  • Yes, I walk daily
  • Yes, I walk at least 3 days a week
  • I rarely Walk or Run for Exercise
  • NO, I neer walk or Run for Exercise
See results without voting

Parking and Entrance to Riverwalk

Annual Batteau Race in Lynchburg Virginia

Kayak Race on the James River in Lynchburg Virginia

© 2015 Don Bobbitt

More by this Author

Comments 7 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

There is some serious Civil War history in that area, isn't there? I've been there, as a matter of fact, back in 1997, and I just loved the area. It was a tad hot and muggy LOL but I loved it. Thanks for the tour, Don!

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Well that was sure a nice walk. Where we going next? Thank you for a wonderful article that was a real pleasure to read. Your pics are perfect.

Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 17 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

billybuc- You're right. Twenty miles away is the Surrender Grounds at Appomattox.

And, if you check, most of the major battles of the Civil War were somewhere in Virginia. Growing up, it seemed that everywhere I went there was a historical marker describing battles, skirmishes and such.

Lynchburg, being right on a major railway, was the sight of one of the major Confederate hospitals that treated both Confederate soldiers and captured and wounded Union soldiers. Those that died were all buried together in a special section of the City Cemetery, but after the war, the government (Yankee government, that is, LOL!) came through the South and dug up ALL Union dead and reburied them in their home states.

I find the area and the early American history fascinating, myself.

As to the weather, you bet, it gets very hot and agonizingly humid from Spring to early Fall.

I seem to recall that the Mint Julep drink was invented to ease the discomfort of the Southern humidity. LOL!.

Thanks for the comment and the read,


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 17 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Ericdeirker- Thanks Eric, It really is a great trail open to the public year round.

I have walked a lot of "Nature Trails" that are essentially just a path cut through the woods, but this one was well planned and is a real treat to walk.

Thanks again,


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 17 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

Hi Don, How nice you get to visit home and family and friends. You pictures make feel like I was there. I told you before that I can only see things through your hubs, since we don't travel. Thanks for the beautiful scenery. Voted up and interesting.

Blessings to you.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 17 months ago from The Caribbean

Don, apart from the fact that you love the city, it is obviously a great blend of history and beauty. Thank you for the invitation.

Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 17 months ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Rachel L Alba- I am glad you like the pictures of this great walking trail in my hometown of Lynchburg.

So many towns make haphazard efforts to provide its citizens with useable amenities, but this trail is one of the better ones I have found.

Thanks for the coment,


    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article