Virginia December 17, 2016
9 Picturesque Trails In Virginia That Are Perfect For Winter Hiking
Winter hiking is a magical experience that, despite chilly weather, allows for a glimpse into one of the most enchanting seasons in Virginia. While hiking during warmer months of the year is usually accompanied by wildflower sightings, waterfalls, and blossoming wildlife, hiking off-season can provide rare glimpses of frozen waterfalls, icy branches, and peacefully quiet forests. So here are 9 winter-approved trails you’ll want to try out soon:
1. Any trail at Grayson Highlands (Mouth of Wilson)
As you can see by the photograph above, Grayson Highlands State Park becomes an absolute winter wonderland when it snows. Especially considering the presence of wild ponies. A scenic, short trail to try would be Cabin Creek Trail, at a total length of 1.8 miles. Follow the yellow blazed trail and prepare to see breathtaking waterfalls. Address: Grayson Highland Ln, Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363.
2. Signal Knob (Strausburg)
Anyone up for a truly challenging hike will want to try tackling Signal Knob Mountain. Packing in 9 miles of trail, this hike also promises an unparalleled view of the Shenandoah Valley. Be sure to set aside at least 5 hours for this trail.
3. Sharp Top (Bedford)
To embark on the scenic Sharp Top Trail, start at the Peaks of Otter Nature Center (milepost 86 along the Blue Ridge Parkway). If you call ahead, you may even be able to schedule a bus ride to a point near the top of the trail. For those who wish to complete the hike, it's a little over 3 miles total. The view from the top is breathtaking, no matter what time of year.
4. Wilderness Road Trail (Ewing)
Located at Wilderness Road State Park, the Wilderness Road Trail allows hikers to experience Virginia in the same way as pioneers like Daniel Boone might have. And this time of year, the visibility is crystal clear. The trail is approximately 8.5 miles in length, but can be modified according to preference. Address: 8051 Wilderness Rd Trail, Ewing, VA 24248.
5. Sky Meadows State Park (Delaplane)
One of the main attractions of Sky Meadows State Park is that it features a network of hiking trails suitable for just about any skill level. So whether you're traveling with a family or on a solo hiking excursion, there's plenty of adventure that awaits here come winter time. Address: 11012 Edmonds Ln, Delaplane, VA 20144.
6. Bearfence Mountain (Elkton)
This short hike can be accessed just 9 miles from Route 33 along Skyline Drive. After a bit of a rock scrambles, hikers will be able to enjoy a pristine 360-degree view that makes for a splendid sunrise or sunset.
7. Crabtree Falls (Montebello)
One of the state’s most beloved hikes is even more magical come winter time. While the falls may not be frozen entirely — they are, after all, some of the longest in the East Coast — surely you’ll be able to see a glimpse of sparkling icicles along the way. Address: 11581 Crabtree Falls Hwy.
8. Buffalo Mountain (Willis)
Another short hike, this one-mile trek can be accessed from the Blue Ride Parkway and doesn’t require tons of effort. The longer version of the trail runs for a little over 4 miles and offers scenic views of the surrounding winter landscape.
9. Woodstock Tower (Woodstock)
The Woodstock Tower offers a no-nonsense trek to one of the most outstanding views around. Simply take the Fire Tower Trail from State Route 758 and follow the pink blazes. What awaits at the top of this tower, constructed in 1936, is a panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley, with little to no obstruction in sight.
What do you think about these winter trails? Did any of your favorites miss the list? Be sure to share your thoughts with us!