Now that the weather is cooling off, it is the perfect time to explore the beautiful and scenic views that our lovely part of Virginia has to offer. Lynchburg is conveniently close to so many hiking trails that you need to take advantage of this fall. Here are a few of our favorites.
At the entrance of Riverside Park, you can enjoy the first dedicated walking trail developed within a Lynchburg park. This mile long Alpine Trail will let you experience the peace and solitude of the wooded hillside that surrounds Riverside Park and offers beautiful views of the James River. Since this is a hiking trail along the ridge side, strollers and bicycles are prohibited. For safety, stay on the marked pathway.
Claytor Nature Center
Just a 30-minute drive from LYH and located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Claytor Nature Center features a trail system along freshwater streams, woodlands, and wetlands with incredible views. A hiking trail system, small-group campground, and amphitheater are other features of the property. The Virginia Claytor Memorial Gardens, created in memory of the late Mrs. Claytor, form a series of formal flower, herb, and shrub plantings. The Claytor Nature Center is open to the general public seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For the more adventurous hiker, Crabtree Falls is the hike for you. This hike features the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The 3-mile trail offers 5 overlooks that give amazing views of Crabtree Creek Falls and the vistas of the Tye River Valley. This trail is family friendly and the lower portion of the trail is wheelchair accessible. As an added bonus, you can bring your dog as long as it is kept on leash.
The hike to Mount Pleasant will take you on a scenic loop through the double summit of Mount Pleasant and Pompey Mountain. This loop is a longer hike at about 6 miles, but at the right time of year you’ll be able to enjoy the streams, the wild flowers and the spectacular views. You will be able to see for miles on a clear day. This is another hike that you can bring your dog on!
Sharp Top is one of the most popular hikes in the area, as well as one of the tougher uphill climbs. At the top you will find the empty summit house that you can enter and explore, as well as look out the windows for some mountain views. Keep trekking past the cabin to find some impressive rock formations where you can relax and marvel at the miles of landscape you can see. There is also an option to take a bus ride that will bring you closer to the summit, so if you’re not physically able to hike up the mountain, you may still be able to make your way to see the spectacular views.
Spy Rock Trail via Cash Hollow is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tyro, Virginia that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail on a leash.
Skyline Drive Hikes
For a small admission fee, you can cruise Skyline Drive to gain access to 75 overlooks and more than 500 miles of trails within the Shenandoah National Park. With so many hikes to choose from, it won’t be hard to find the perfect one for you and your group. For an easier hike, you can try out the Stony Man Summits and Lower Cliffs, which offers some of the best views that the park has to offer. If you’re looking for a challenge, try the Stony Man to Skyland to Big Meadows for 7 miles along the ridgeline that will take you to two of the best peaks in the park.
And don’t miss out on our nearby attractions also with hiking trails, a two-for-one opportunity to get in a little history and a hike at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and Patrick Henry’s Red Hill.