A view of Peaks of Otter by Nicole Johnson.
With the trees bare, there’s hardly an obstruction to the immense views some of Virginia’s favorite hikes offer in the winter. In addition to the viewshed, special places await. Special places like frozen waterfalls!
Some of the favorite hikes, per Facebook folks, are the following:
— IN SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK —
“Old Rag Mountain. Tough hike but worth it!” MAP
“When we were all at home as teenagers near Overall, Va, my brothers and I enjoyed the hike to Overall Falls, and in the winter it was common to see the ravens “playing” there. They would sail over the top of the falls and then pull their wings back against themselves causing them to drop like rocks. As they neared the bottom they would put their wings back out to catch their fall.”
— ALONG THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY —
“Hiked in to Humpback this am and it was beautiful, but pretty icy and a touch scary. Love winter at Shenandoah National Park though!”
“Apple orchard falls when it’s frozen.” MAP
“Sharp top great memories climbing … when we’re over from the UK. :)”
“Sharp top is amazing but crossrock on Flat top is interesting also. The Peaks of Otter is one of my favorite places to hike!”
“Cold Mountain had amazing views and is a blast in the snow!” MAP
— HIKES TO WATERFALLS —
“The hike up to the cascades in Giles County.”
- Dismal Falls, Bland
- Whiteoak Canyon, Shenandoah National Park
- Crabtree Falls, Montebello
- Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park
- Doyles River Falls, Shenandoah National Park
— HIKES TO FIRE TOWERS —
Sure, the summit is beautiful, but who doesn’t want to climb just a tad higher? A few fire towers are open to the public, if you want to check them out this winter. The two below were recommended by Krissy Reynolds of the Forest Fire Lookout Association.
Woodstock Tower in Shenandoah County was built in 1935 and boasts 360-degree views of the Seven Bends in the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. The Fire Tower Trail off of State Route 758 is blazed pink and is a simple.2-mile round trip. It’s literally right there off of the parking area. The tower is steel and in excellent condition.
Big Walker Lookout in Wythe County as a great hike with the tremendous pay off of the fire tower. The tower is 100 feet tall and sits atop the 3,405-foot Big Walker Mountain. Let it be a clear, crisp winter day and you’ll see North Carolina and Tennessee from up there. It’ll cost you $6 to climb the 1947 tower.
Don’t stop there! Surely Virginia’s other favorite hikes are fantastic in any season. See them!
What’s your favorite winter hike and why? Leave a comment!