Appomattox National Historical Park Loop

  • Highlights: Historic sites, monuments, Appomattox River
  • Distance: 6.6 miles loop
  • Elevation change: 426 feet
  • Difficulty level: Easy/Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Lee’s Headquarters parking area, route 24 Appomattox VA
  • Website: National Park Service and AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Loose Shoe Brewery—The Apprentice brown ale & Strait Up Amarillo IPA

The Hike:

We have been to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park many times and were pleasantly surprised to learn the park has over eight miles of hiking trails. We combined several shorter trails to form a 6.6 mile loop through the park. The trails are well maintained and junctions are marked.

Numerous signs describe the buildings and monuments in the park and explain the historic events which took place here in April 1865. Several buildings are open to the public in the historic village and park rangers are happy to answer questions.

We began this hike at the Lee’s Headquarters parking area on Route 24/Old Courthouse Road, about 1.5 miles north of the visitor center. In the parking area is a trailhead kiosk with maps and descriptions of the trails. From the parking area facing route 24, turn left and walk on the shoulder of the highway for about 100 yards.

Carefully cross route 24 and follow route 656/Horseshoe Road up a small hill to the Connor House parking area. Turn left and follow the Sweeny Trail through the field and then into a wooded area. Reach the Sweeny Cabin at .8 miles and the Sweeny family cemetery at 1.1 miles.

The Sweeny Trail ends at Appomattox Wayside. The footbridge over the Appomattox River washed away in a winter storm and had not been replaced as of December 2021. To keep your feet dry, walk up to route 24 and cross the river on the highway bridge and then turn right to return to the river.

Turn left and follow the Stage Road Trail into the historic village. The visitor center and several buildings are usually open and descriptive signs and historical interpreters tell the story of this historic site. Follow the road through the village past the courthouse and McLean house. The road continues gradually uphill to the Confederate Cemetery.

At 2.6 miles, turn left and walk past past the cemetery. Once again carefully cross route 24. The trail now becomes Grant’s Approach Trail. The monument to the left marks a family cemetery. Turn right and at the parking area and follow the trail into a wooded area. White blazes now mark the trail.

At 2.9 miles reach the North Carolina Monument which honors some of the last soldiers killed in the Civil War. At 3.7 miles reach the junction with the Southside Connector Trail. A footbridge crosses Plain Run and this part of the hike is just a nice walk through the forest.

The trail crosses River Ridge Road and begins a steady climb uphill before reaching the Appomattox River. A footbridge crosses the river near the Sweeny dam and mill site. At this point, the trail becomes the Tobacco Prizery Nature Trail. 

Bear right at the junction and walk uphill to the site of the Sweeny Prizery. A prizery is where tobacco was packed in large barrels for shipping. Follow the trail through the woods to the Lee Headquarters parking area and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

We were pleased to learn Loose Shoe Brewing in Amherst opened a new location in Appomattox. Loose Shoe Too is in the site of the former Krikelkay Brewing Company just a few miles from the trailhead. Loose Shoe Too has indoor and outdoor seating, live music on Fridays, and several nearby food options. Owner Derin is a a gracious host and brews some really good beer. 

We tried a flight to sample a variety of beers. Kathy’s favorite was Strait Up Amarillo, an American-style IPA. Brewed with Amarillo hops and at 59 IBUs it was nicely hopped with a smooth finish. Pete really liked The Apprentice, an American brown ale with nice caramel tones and rich malt backbone. This beer has a nice blend of hops and malt and at 24 IBUs, it’s a nice post-hike beer. 

Beer Flight at Loose Shoe Too

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.