Most of us in Virginia know that one of the best ways to explore this beautiful state is on foot. And for those particularly drawn to the gorgeous landscapes, there are thousands of miles of trails available. Often, with so many choices, the difficulty is knowing
which trail to hike. So to help you make the most of your trekking experience, we’ve devised a list of some of the most extraordinary trails in the state. See how many of these you can conquer.
1. Old Rag Mountain
Old Rag is an impressive 9-mile trail just outside of Syria. It's often considered the most popular in Shenandoah National Park, and with such extravagant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it's no mystery why. You can expect a bit of scrambling, but the trail has plenty of switchbacks.
2. McAfee Knob
Located near Salem, McAfee Knob is a 7.7 mile loop that reaches an elevation of 3,171. The trail features gorgeous wildflowers during the warmer months as well as an overlook that has become an iconic vision of the Appalachian Trail.
3. Great Falls Loop Trail
Located in Great Falls Park near McLean, the Great Falls Loop takes hikers 2.6 miles. The terrain is somewhat rocky and a bit challenging, but the views and waterfall will be worth the effort.
4. Scott's Run
Scott's Run is another trail near McLean that features beautiful wildflowers, a waterfall, and also ruins throughout its 2.5-mile course. Hikers will enjoy the rare breeds of plants that grow along the cliffs and trail during this trek. This area also happens to be a sanctuary for birds.
5. White Oak Canyon
White Oak Canyon can be accessed from Skyline Drive and totals 8.4 miles. The hike offers beautiful views of Lower and Upper Falls and for that reason is one of the most popular hikes in the area.
6. Fountainhead Regional Park
The Fountainhead Regional Park Trail is located near Fairfax Station and is 8.6 miles in length. The trails is enjoyed by bikers and hikers alike and features an exquisite hike, as you will see photographed above.
7. Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls is an absolute must for waterfall lovers. This 2.8-mile trek outside of Montebello allows hikers to walk right alongside the longest series of waterfalls east of the Mississippi. Just be sure to stay on the marked pavement, as slippery conditions can be very dangerous.
8. Dragon's Tooth
Located outside of Catawba, Dragon's Tooth is a 4.3-mile trail that offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. The hike, particularly the last mile, can be very challenging but is equally rewarding.
9. Bearfence Mountain Trail
Short and sweet, Bearfence Mountain trail is a 1.1-mile loop in Shenandoah National Park. The trail is open from April until October and features beautiful wildflowers and something of a scramble climb that leads to breathtaking views.
10. Blue Bells Trail (Bull Run Park)
Located near Bentonville, the Bluebell Loop Trail is a friendly and peaceful 1 mile loop. The trail is named for the breathtaking wildflowers, Virginia Blue Bells, that grow during the warmer months of the year.
11. Humpback Rock
Just outside of Lyndhurst, Humpback Rock is one of the most popular trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This 2 mile out-and-back hike is a challenging climb but leads to a spectacular clearing over the trail's main feature, Humpback Rock. You can expect this hike to be pretty crowded on any given day.
12. Dark Hollows Trail
Dark Hollows Trail is another popular hike in Shenandoah National Park that runs about 6.2 miles in length. The loop passes by Rose River falls as well as an old copper mine, both of which are fascinating stopping points.
13. Riprap Trail
The Riprap trail is an 8.6 mile loop near Crozet, accessible February through November. Plan to spend at least 6 hours for this hike, whose rocky terrain leads to a waterfall and beautiful panoramas of the mountains.
14. Fallingwater Cascades Trail
This exquisite 1.7-mile trail is located within the Peaks of Otter Recreational Area, showing off views of Sharp Top and Flat Top Mountains. This trail features a gorgeous waterfalls and views that you'll be able to admire without much of a crowd.
15. Lake Burke Trail
Last but certainly not least, the Lake Burke Trail is a 4.50-mile loop near Springfield. This multi-use trail is flat and circles around the beautiful water. This hike is especially stunning in the spring and fall.
Virginia has an endless supply of beautiful hikes, and we’re aware that this list only scratches the surface. So now we’d love to hear from you: which are some of your favorite hikes in the state?