The Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley are bordered by four mountain ranges – Blue Ridge Mountains, Massanutten Mountain, Great North Mountain, and Allegheny Mountain. These valleys and mountains offer lots of activities for the outdoor adventure enthusiast.
Hiking is great activity enjoyed by both locals and visitors to the mountains in Virginia and West Virginia. Located just an hour from metropolitan DC, many trails are pet and family friendly and offer great stress escapes. There are two ways to approach hiking. As a hiking fanatic, the goal is to add a check mark to the completion of one trail after another. As a weekend novice, the goal is to pull alongside a road and take a one to three hour hike. Check out GoBRT’s helpful hints for hiking with kids!
Go Blue Ridge Travel (GoBRT) will go to the experts, “you,” for the Best Hiking in Virginia. Based on a facebook and twitter polls, Virginia.org has shared the most popular hikes covering the entire state. Hhiking professionals are encouraged to explore Hiking Upward – offering great GPS maps, descriptions and reviews. One of our favorites on the list is The Stony Man Trail. Another great resourse, the Appalachian Conservancy, has its national headquarters right here in the Shenandoah Valley located in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It is easy to find trails on their website.
GoBRT will showcase the novice trails here in the northern Shenandoah Valley where West Virginia and Maryland connect to Virginia. ‘Discovering the Unexpected’ is what happens as you explore the Shenandoah Valley.
Perhaps one of the most hidden hiking experiences is in the George Washington National Forrest. The Woodstock Water Tower offers a spectacular view of the seven bends of the Shenandoah River. A must see as a lifetime memory of the Shenandoah Valley.
At 1350 feet, Bears Den Rocks provide a panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The westward-looking view provides a prime spot for the sunset. This overlook has unique rock formations believed to be a directional landmark of the indigenous people who hunted and fished in the region 12,000 years ago. “One of the most popular experience on the GoBRT’s Kids Bucket List,” said Nancy Craun, owner of GoBRT. “I knew one child who went there four times in one week by not letting his various visiting relatives know he had just been there earlier!”
Following closer to the Potomac River, check out hiking the Antietam Battlefield located near Sharpsburg, Maryland is an easy drive from Interstate 70 or Route 340 to Shepherdstown, WV crossing the Potomac Bridge into Maryland. The battlefields are easy to find wrapping around the small village of Sharpsburg. There are many places to pull off and just start walking. This is a paved road experience thru the battlefields themselves with lots of markers explaining the battles that were fought.
C&O Canal runs alongside of the Potomac River. Less than 5 minutes from Sharpsburg, the hiker can walk or ride a bike. This section of the Potomac River is great for dogs loving the water. There are many good shallow places to wade into the Potomac. Bring bug spray since this is a historic canal with stagnant water.
West Virginians refer to many of the smaller ridges as the hills of West Virginia. Sitting on Jefferson Rock , one can look across at Maryland Heights and Loudoun Heights. Maryland Heights is a challenging climb but well worth the view at the top. Take a good amount of water for drinking. There are also the paths around Bolivar Heights where battles of the Civil War occurred.
Just over the line from Harpers Ferry is the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship . 900 serene acres offer three popular hiking trails. The Farmstead Loop is the Blue Ridge Center’s signature hiking trail. Just over a mile long and with minimal elevation change, the trail is perfect for all ages and fitness levels. There is also the Western Trails with the highlight being Butterfly Alley and Birds of the Ridge for the bird watcher enthusiast.
If traveling with pets, there are many hotels and bed and breakfasts which are pet-friendly. Chris and Caressa Zanelli of Hillbrook Inn and Spa offer a pet friendly welcome with these words. “We are dog lovers at HIllbrook Inn and welcome your furry friends. We realize that some vacations are not complete without the furry members of your family. We have two ponds at Hillbrook Inn. Taking a plunge is not a problem. It is nothing a hose and some towels can’t fix.” said Chris.
The summer is a great time for a fun weekend discovering nature in the Virginia mountains. Whether you hike with friends, kids, or one’s canine friend, the peace and serenity will bring harmony to your life. LIKE US on Facebook.