Ten of the best hiking destinations in Virginia

Virginia

Scenic view of Wild Oak Trail (Photo: Emma North)

VIRGINIA (WRIC) — When it comes to lacing up those boots and packing a backpack for a hike, there aren’t many places more scenic, historical and unique than Virginia. The state has several well-loved places to hike for a variety of different skill levels, from first-timers to experts.

Without any further adieu, here are ten of the best places to hike in Virginia.

Humpback Rocks (Western Virginia)

Located on the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 5.8 in Lyndhurst, Virginia, Humpback Rocks is one of the most popular places to hike in the commonwealth. The available trails are easy, moderate and more strenuous, and of varying lengths. There is also a wheelchair-accessible visitor’s center.

The area is also rich in history – the Humpback Rocks were a landmark for wagon trains over the Howardsville Turnpike in the 1840s. Learn more on the Blue Ridge Parkway website.

Photo: Tyler Thrasher/WRIC

Old Rag Mountain (Shenandoah Valley)

Shenandoah National Park encompasses over 200,000 acres of forests and mountains and offers one of the most renowned hikes in Shenandoah – Old Rag Mountain which tops out at 3,284 feet.

The most common route to take to the peak is a nine-mile loop beginning at the Old Rag parking area at the end of Route 601.

A rock outcrop overlooks mountain layers below, exploding with fall colors: red, orange, and yellow
Photo: National Park Service

The Devil’s Marbleyard (Western Virginia)

The Devil’s Marbleyard acts as more of a geological feature than a true hike, but it’s well worth the trip to take a few photos on the jumble of huge boulders. The James River Face Wilderness area and part of the Belfast Trail features a three-mile hike and a huge rock field with boulders ranging from the size of coffee tables to those of large vans.

Read more on the Visit Roanoke website.

Kennedy Peak Trail (Shenandoah Valley)

Located in Luray, Virginia, the Kennedy Peak Trail offers a popular day hike with incredible views from an observation tower. The day hike is 9.2 miles round trip with a 1,320 ft. ascent. You can also view beautiful wildflowers along the hike.

Visit the Shenandoah County website for a map of the hike.

Kennedy Peak Trail (Photo: Emma North/WRIC)
Caterpillars Kennedy Peak Trail (Photo: Emma North/WRIC)

Maymont (Richmond)

For those who are just beginning to hike, Maymont provides a 100-acre historic estate and park right in the heart of Richmond with unexpected features to enjoy. With gardens, an arboretum, native wildlife habitats and The Robins Nature Center, there is no shortage of things to do while out walking the miles of trails in the historic park.

Maymont’s Japanese Gardens (Photo: Tyler Thrasher/WRIC)

Dragon’s Tooth Trail (Western Virginia)

If you are looking for a rugged trail with incredible views and the geological features of the Blue Ridge Mountains, then Dragon’s Tooth Trail will provide a rewarding climb. The Dragon’s Tooth is a “unique spire that projects 35 feet above the surrounding rock,” according to Visit Roanoke.

For directions and a map of the trail, click here.

White Rock Falls Loop (Blue Ridge Parkway)

Near Montebello, Virginia, is a 4.7-mile loop that features a waterfall and is rated as a moderate path for hikers to test their abilities on.

The White Rock Falls Loop has an elevation of 1,023 feet.

Wild Oak Trail (Western Virginia)

Wild Oak Trail is a 28.2-mile loop in the George Washington National Forest. The loop has multiple trails and forest roads for hikers to travel and has also become a popular mountain biking destination.

Scenic view of Wild Oak Trail (Photo: Emma North)

Peaks of Otter (Western Virginia)

Located near Bedford, Virginia, Peaks of Otter has natural beauty from its two large mountains overlooking the Jefferson National Forest. The views are said to inspire travelers along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Peaks of Otter Lodge has 63 rooms and a restaurant and there are six trails to pick from in the area.

1peaks
Photo: National Park Service

Crabtree Falls Trail (Blue Ridge Parkway)

Tucked away in Nelson County, the Crabtree Falls Trail has the highest vertical cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River in the United States. According to the Nelson County website, “Crabtree Falls features a series of five major cascades and a number of smaller ones that fall a total distance of 1,200 feet.”

Hikers can travel along a 2.5-mile trail that leads to four different overlooks offering naturally beautiful views.

a waterfall surrounded by dense green forest
Photo: National Park Service

Interested in other hikes in the commonwealth? Richmond author Phil Riggan wrote a book on hiking in the region titled “60 hikes in 60 miles” where you can learn more.

Twitter assisted 8News in the search for the best hiking locations in Virginia. Other recommended hikes included Strickler Knob, Mary’s Rock, Doyle Falls, Mount Rogers and many more.

For a map of the locations listed, visit the virginia.org website.

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