Planning to take on a Southwest Virginia adventure? Here are the 10 Best Hikes the area has to offer
Southwest Virginia boasts of many hiking trails and destinations. Take some time off to enjoy this scenic natural area. We recommend starting with these:
Cascades National Recreation Trail
One of the great things about the Cascades National Recreation Trail is that it is open all year. The cascade journey is just over 12 miles long and leads to Barney’s Wall near Pembroke. You will love the 66-foot waterfall and the multitude of activities to take part in here. Dogs are welcome, so feel free to bring your four-legged friends. Try your hand at fishing or just take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife. The most popular route is rocky, but not too difficult. There is an easier path as well, and this hike is suitable for adventurers of all ages.
Chestnut Ridge, Appalachian Trail
photo from metroparks
The Appalachian Trail to Chestnut Ridge is a little more than three miles. Unlike the Cascades National Recreation Trail, this one is strenuous, and therefore, not suitable for small children or novice hikers. The trail involves passing through isolated areas and climbing steep grades. Despite the difficult trek, this hike site is one of the most popular in Southwest Virginia, largely because of Burke’s Garden, a fascinating natural formation resembling a volcanic crater. Apart from the breathtaking views from this valley, there is some interesting history behind it.
The Channels Trail
photo from https://virginiatrailguide.com
The Channels Trail in Abingdon is unique for its sandstone crevices. It has numerous slot canyons and mazes of sandstone. Though the channels have been there for years, few people have heard of them. In fact, they are little known to even the natives of the area! Like many trails in the area, this one involves a climb, but it is just tough enough for adventure seekers to tackle. The area has a large bear population, so hikers should be on the lookout and make noise as they navigate the trail. It’s a good idea to carry bear spray and familiarize yourself with bear behavior. Never hike alone.
Crystal Springs Trail Loop
People of all ages can hike here. Dogs off leash and bike riding are the leisure activities here. It is a short trail with manageable obstacles for everyone. The town of Wytheville takes pride in managing this gorgeous area. The tracks are clear and bridges are sturdy, though hikers should be cautious of slippery areas during wet weather.
Virginia Creeper Trail
This trail borders Abingdon and private lands surround the trail, so be sure to stay the course. Hikers might have to open gates ahead as this marks the right direction. The Virginia Creeper Trail is one of the best places for a bike ride.
Seven Sisters Trail
The name of this trail alludes to the seven steep ascents you will climb throughout the hike. Despite the incline, this trail provides easy disabled access. People can ride bikes, use wheelchairs, scooters, and even pushchairs. River Cuckmere passes along this area, and provides a great spot to rest and take in the scenery.
Breaks Interstate Park
This recreational facility allows you to enjoy hundreds of plant species. There are caves to explore, wildlife to watch, motorbiking to enjoy, and hidden springs to find. Some trails in this park allow for horse riding too, but they do not intersect with hike-only trails
The Pine mountain trail
photo from timgetsfit
This trail lies on the Cumberland Mountain. Here you can enjoy up to 23 miles of pure nature. This hiking trail features impressively rare rocky outcrops and mountain streams. If you are not up to the 23-mile challenge there are still some shorter loops to enjoy. There are campsites along the trail, too.
New River Trail
This trail follows the railway line, so it is a flat, linear hike, and it goes alongside the New River. This trail is quite primitive, and its campsites are often empty, so remember to carry enough water with you. This trail crosses four counties. The flat terrain makes this hike a perfect choice for families. Popular activities here include biking and fishing. New River Trail is also a great picnic destination for families.
Southwest Virginia is known for its incredible and unique hiking trails. There are many more recreational areas, so do not feel confined to this list. Explore these and then some!