Favorite Virginia Spring Hikes

by Casey Higgins | Posted on April 9th, 2013

Warm spring breezes have returned to Virginia and it’s the perfect time for a spring hike. Pear and redbud trees have already bloomed in some parts of the Commonwealth while dogwood trees are right on their heels. Try one of these treasured paths to go enjoy the new blooms.

Cascades National Recreation Trail

Cascades National Recreation Trail in Pembroke leads to a 66′ waterfall within Jefferson National Forest. The hike is low to moderate difficulty and four miles ’round trip. Restroom, picnic area and water available. Day use only. $3 per vehicle.

If you love wildflowers, the 6.3-mile easy loop of the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County is one very rewarding hike. The area is on Virginia’s Native Plant Society register as an important native plant site. It’s here that you’ll find the largest population of large-flowered trillium in North America, and this wildflower blooms between April and early June.

The Henry Lanum Trail in the Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area of Rockbridge and Amherst Counties is a 4.69-mile moderate loop that yields spectacular summit views. Rare peregrine falcons are known to inhabit the area, making it an additional reward for wildlife lovers.

Love butterflies? Occoneechee State Park has an abundant population of American Lady. Walk The Old Plantation Interpretive Trail to chance an encounter. It’s an easy 1.2-mile loop that winds through the woods. Highlights include plantation structural remains, a family cemetery and what’s left of the five-terraced garden.

The 45-acre Bark Camp Lake is the centerpiece of the Bark Camp Recreation Area in Coeburn, but the trails are an attractive draw, too. Those who love the shimmer of the sun on the water will want to try the 3.25-mile shoreline trail.  “Kitchen Rock” is an interesting geological formation – a sandstone rock shelter that resembles an oven – that a separate, .5-mile hike delivers. Camping is available. Day use fee is $3/vehicle.

On Virginia’s Eastern Shore is Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve, a 298-acre protected habitat for migratory songbirds and the threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle. Take the .75-mile trail through some of the highest sand dunes on the Shore for amazing Chesapeake Bay views and breezes.

See more great Virginia hikes as suggested by our Facebook and Twitter followers: Virginia.org/Hiking.

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