outdoors courtesy of Aaron Black-Schmidt
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page iconOutdoor Adventures in the Region

In addition to exceptional paddling and fishing on the Upper James, the mountains of Virginia and southern Shenandoah Valley region offer lots of other opportunities for outdoor fun. Discover world-class mountain biking, scenic road cycling options, bird and wildlife viewing and miles and miles of hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail, the most famous footpath in America.

Appalachian TrailAppalachian Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Georgia and Maine. The trail is approximately 2,200 miles long. The trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Access points can be found throughout Botetourt and Rockbridge counties. Troutville, Glasgow and Buena Vista are all designated AT Communities, offering a warm welcome and various services to trail hikers. Each location has parking available to hikers.

More Information:

Blue Ridge ParkwayBlue Ridge Parkway

America’s favorite scenic drive offers overlooks, trails, picnic and camping areas for those traveling by car, motorcycle or bicycle. Spanning 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina, there are three access points in Rockbridge County: Vesuvius/ U.S. Route 56 (MP 27.2); Buena Vista/ U.S. Route 60 (MP 45.6); and Glasgow/ U.S. Route 130 (MP 61.4). Certain sections may be closed during inclement weather.

More Information:

Blue Ridge Parkway Association: 828-298-0398

Glen Maury ParkGlen Maury Park

Glen Maury Park is Buena Vista’s 315 acre playground, providing miles of hiking and biking trails, an Olympic-sized pool, two campgrounds, as well as several pavilions where residents and tourists alike make the natural choice for enjoying life. Glen Maury Park hosts a variety of events each year – music from old time to classical, beach music to bluegrass, and gospel to rock n’roll. Around town, you’ll find eateries and service businesses ready to provide what you need… all close at hand.

Glen Maury Park has several pavilions and amenities that can accommodate small parties to corporate picnics and concerts.

Kayak, inner tube, and bike rentals available. Visit park office for more information.

Directions: Glen Maury Park Road, Buena Vista, VA. From I-81, take Exit 188A on Route 60 East for 13.7 miles. Turn right on Route 608, continue 2.3 miles. Turn left on Route 745/Paxton House Drive for 0.4 miles. Turn left on W. 10th Street, which becomes Route 745 and lead to Glen Maury Park Road.

More Information:

Phone: 540-261-7321

Goshen PassGoshen Pass

The oldest state-managed natural area in Virginia, Goshen Pass is a magnificent mountain gorge three miles long that was formed by the Maury River. Visitors here enjoy a picnic pavilion, swimming, tubing, canoeing, fishing, picnicking and walking the trail on the north side of the river.

This part of the Maury River is some of the most popular whitewater in Virginia and is rated at a high difficulty. Kayakers and canoers can experience six miles of numerous class II, class III, and two class IV rapids, specifically Devil’s Kitchen and Corner Rapid.

Directions: 12 miles west of Lexington on Rt. 39. From I-81, merge onto I-64 W, exit 55 to Rt. 11 N, immediate left turn onto Rt. 39. Numerous access points to the water from Rt. 39.

More Information:

Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries: 540-899-4169 or 540-248-9360

Greenfield Disc Golf CourseGreenfield Disc Golf Course

Opened May 2014, the Greenfield Disc Golf Course is the only 18-hole course in the area. Already ranking in the Top 20 in the world, GDGC features hill top tee boxes to foot bridges across the creek to the target, GDGC captures the true essence of outdoor recreation.

Each hole features three marked boxes based on experience level and difficulty to begin. Each hole features a metal basket. If you’re interested in playing and don’t have your own discs, no worries. GDGC stores extra discs at the course welcome sign near tee #1 with discs you can use and return, no charge. Please respect the course and other players while visiting.

More Information:

Botetourt County Parks and Recreation: 540-928-2130

Greenfield Trail SystemGreenfield Trail System

The Greenfield Trail System is a 125-acre park with access to hiking, horseback riding, children’s playground and sports fields. Within the park, you can access the Bowyer-Holladay Trail, the Cherry Blossom Trail, the Colonel William Preston Trail, and the Greenfield Recreational Trail.

More Information:

Botetourt County Parks and Recreation: 540-928-2130

Natural Bridge State ParkNatural Bridge State Park

The 37th Virginia State Park, affiliated unit of the National Park Service, and Virginia treasure is more than just the Bridge. Once owned by Thomas Jefferson and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 215-foot tall Natural Bridge is a limestone arch and gorge carved out by Cedar Creek. Enjoy 6 miles of various hiking trails, including the accessible Cedar Creek Trail leading from the Bridge to the Monacan Indian Village and Lace Falls with its 30-foot cascade.

Hours: Open daily 8am – dusk. $6 ages 6-12 and $8 ages 13 & up.

Directions: 6477 S. Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA 24578. From I-81, take exit 175 or 180A to U.S. 11 and follow signs to the park.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

More Information:

Phone: 540-291-1326

Roaring Run Recreational AreaRoaring Run Recreational Area (Falls and historic furnace)

Looking for a fun hike that features a natural water slide? Roaring Run Falls and Furnace Trail is an excellent hiking trail for the whole family. Two trails lead to the falls creating a 1.5 mile loop trail and the easy, well-marked trail begins at an historic iron furnace and winds back and forth along the Roaring Run stream. You will pass rock walls, cascading water, and cross five footbridges before ending at beautiful Roaring Run Falls.

Directions: From Eagle Rock, VA take US 220 north and turn left on Craig Creek Road (SR 615). Continue for 5.5 miles. Turn right on Roaring Run Road (SR 621). Travel one mile to entrance of Roaring Run Day Use Area.

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: 1.40 miles

Elevation: 1200 to 1300 feet

More Information:

Botetourt County Parks and Recreation: 540-928-2130

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