As the months and uncertainty go on, many of us are finding ourselves feeling a bit more underwhelmed by our own backyards and hopelessly cooped up. Thankfully, for those of us in Virginia, our state is packed with gorgeous landscapes, natural wonders, and strikingly beautiful trails. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of hiking, getting plenty of fresh air can have a profound effect on your mental health as well. So in the interest of social distancing approved outdoor activities, here are my four favorite hikes in Virginia:
The Magical Hike: If you’re a fan of unique scenery and hikes with a truly mystical feel, I can’t recommend The Great Channels Natural Area Preserve in Abingdon, Virginia, highly enough. Named for its winding, natural maze of stone, The Great Channels feels almost other-worldly. An 11 mile out-and-back, winding hike, The Great Channels is not the easiest trail out there, but the scenery is like nothing else. This trail has been closed due to the pandemic, but is set to re-open June 10. Be sure to snap plenty of photos if you go!
The Hike with Waterfalls: Looking to spot some great waterfalls on your hike? Look no further than the Matildaville Trail at Great Falls near Mclean, Virginia. It costs $5 to hike the trail, but the views over the Potomac will not disappoint. The Matildaville trail is one of the easier paths in the park, but if you’re looking for more of a challenge try out the River Loop trail.
The Romantic Sunset Hike: If romantic, widespread sunsets are your desire, consider the trails at Peaks of Otter in Bedford, Virginia. Peaks of Otter is actually made up of three peaks: Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill, although most will agree that Sharp Top has the best panoramic views of the region. This is a slightly more difficult hike, but well worth the effort if you are up for the challenge!
The Family Friendly Hike: Kiddos want to join in on the outdoor fun? Check out Black Rock Summit at Shenandoah National Park. This easy, 1 mile loop is a simple, lush hike, with a natural play area at the top. The trail itself has a gentle incline that little ones can handle, and plenty of picturesque spots for family photos.
Heading out on a hike to break up the quarantine blues? Snap some photos and let me know which trail was your favorite. Now get out there and explore!