The novel Bridge to Terabithia is set in a rural and agricultural area in the US state of Virginia, in a fictional town called Lark Creek. Further surrounding cities which are mentioned in the novel are Arlington, Norfolk and Washington D.C.
The area in which the novel takes place is described by the author Katherine Paterson as rural, agricultural and green with a combination of farmland and forest. Paterson writes about empty fields, hills and creek beds which mark the end of the farmland and the beginning of the woods (49). The author outlines the big pine trees in the woodland, the high oaks and the evergreens, where dogwood and redbud grows in between.
The story is set roughly during the years 1975 to 1977. The 1970s were a time of economic uncertainty and high unemployment in the United States. The Vietnam War had just ended, but the country was still in a state of political and social upheaval.
The actual duration of the story is approximately one school year, from September until just after Easter.