Virginia offers some of the best destinations for hiking, both for beginners and expert enthusiasts who come from all over the country to enjoy of the wonders of nature and the wide diversity of fauna and flora that you can find in this tremendous place. In Virginia, there are so many forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains that you will simply return several times to enjoy the best trails of the Mid-Atlantic. If this is the first time you visit The Old Dominion, this is an excellent opportunity to enjoy some of the key aspects that this state offers to the public. Wear your best shoes, bring your camera, pack some food and water, and let’s go.
Bearfence Mountain Trail
This is a good trail to start because of its short length: less than two miles, actually. The terrain is flat, so the road is not too demanding. Although you will not find places to fish here, there are tons of rocks where you can practice climbing, among other things. It is an excellent option to take the children since they will not get tired so fast and they will have a lot of space to play. Pets are also very welcome. Come to Shenandoah Nature Park and ask for this trail: the view will simply take your breath away.
Little Stony Man Loop
This trail is located in the same natural park, and, even though it is not that hard to walk, it is a bit more challenging than the previous one. The distance is 5.5 miles and the terrain is sometimes a bit rocky and swampy. One of the advantages of this trail is that it is accessible all over the year, and it is a wonderful experience even during the darkest winter days. This is also a good option for your pets (dogs of any size, really,) but it is not the best option for small children because some stretches may be quite steep. Here you will enjoy one of the best views of all of Virginia, so what are you waiting for?
Read also: The Best Hacks For New Hikers, by Sudir Raju
Dark Hollow Falls
This trail is just perfect for beginners. The distance of the whole route is not that long (2.3 miles,) and, although the whole road is very much easy to walk, the last part may be a bit tough. This trail is perfect during the sunny days of spring but many people visit it from April to October. What the visitors of this trail like the most are the waterfalls, which you can see from the beginning to the end. During the hot summer days, it is very nice to swim a little in the rivers and have some picnics. It is a nice family plan that you will never forget.
Hawksbill Gap Loop
Several visitors come to this trail not only to walk but to watch birds, to exercise outdoors (yoga, for example,) or just to lie under a tree to read a nice book. The views are beautiful from the mountains, especially from the highest point of Shenandoah Park. If you enjoy silence and fresh air, this is the place for you. Even if there are no lakes to bathe and fish (which is what many hikers enjoy,) the peacefulness of the path and the contact with the wildflowers will make you feel like in paradise itself. Do not forget to take enough sunscreen since in some sections there is not much vegetation, and you could suffer from sunstroke on sunny days.
Humpback Rocks Recreation Area
This is one of the favorite options of the George Washington National Forest. The route is not long (2.6 kilometers) but here you will find some steep slopes that will make you sweat. If you are a beginner, do not be scared, just take it easy. You will find lots of people at your side because many visitors come throughout the year, so you will not feel alone at any moment. One of the best times to walk this trail is during the fall due to the beautiful colors of the falling leaves! Sometimes the wind can blow really cold, indeed, but this is nothing that thermal clothing cannot solve. Highly recommended.
This is a good option for those who want to walk an easy route but who also want to know the Appalachian Trail. It will take you about an hour to walk it all, and this is perfect for those who do not have much time for hiking but who do not want to miss a good opportunity to enjoy nature. Sometimes it may get foggy, especially during the rainy days, but do not be scared: the trail is well-signposted. The road is a bit rocky (it’s the Stony Man, after all,) and it is quite tall (over 4000 feet in height.) In any case, it is super easy to walk, you can take your children and your pets, and everyone will spend a pretty nice time.
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