10 Trails for Spring Adventure

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Mar 9, 2015 | Updated: Apr 17, 2018

Comments: 10 Comments

Put that extra amount of daylight to good use this spring along one of Virginia’s beautiful trails. Along these you’ll find trees budding, birds nest-building, and a rebirth of natural beauty. Take a stroll, and don’t miss the map below!

A popular destination of nearby college students and locals is Cascades National Recreation Trail in Pembroke. Its centerpiece is a 66′ waterfall with a fantastic swimming hole at the bottom. The hike is considered low to moderate difficulty; four miles out and back. Day use only.

Cascade Falls and Trail


Not so wild but easily accessible to every one and every ability is the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail that traverses three public parks over a two-mile stretch. The trail runs through the Historic Port of Falmouth and along the Rappahannock River. The trail is paved; there are three parking areas and a rest facility along the route. MAP


Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail

Portsmouth’s Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve is a 142-acre sanctuary that is so dearly protected that you’re asked to only walk the trail – no jogging, biking, dog walking, smoking, or other actions that otherwise disturb the trail or the environment. This parcel is the last that remains of the Hoffler Creek Watershed. MAP

Within the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County, you’ll find a 6.3-mile easy loop that is quite a sight to behold later in spring. The largest population of large-flowered trillium in North America grow here, blooming between April and early June. Don’t forget to take your camera because taking the trillium is not allowed.

Have you heard of a fairy stone? They’re pinkish-brown stones in the shape of a cross that can be found at Fairy Stone State Park in Stuart. You’ll need a keen eye to find them naturally along the trails, or you can cheat and purchase a found stone in the gift shop.

Fairy Stone State Park, courtesy Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Fairy Stone State Park

Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville has an abundant population of American Lady butterfly. The 1.2 mile Old Plantation Interpretive Trail is an easy loop highlighting plantation ruins, a family cemetery and remnants of a terraced garden.

Intriguing history awaits along the Helen Williams Barbrown Interpretive Trail in Saltville. See the well fields – dig sites for archaeology and paleontology. Saltville is aptly named for the salt deposits found there. The salt has been a draw for all of history, including the Civil War.

Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank

Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank

Tuck behind a duck blind  with your telephoto lens to capture a shot of a wood duck, great blue heron, or other majestic water fowl inside the Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank in Woodbridge. A raised trail leads the way through the wetland, which is teeming with life in all seasons.

Bark Camp Recreation Area in Coeburn centers around Bark Camp Lake, but the trails are worth a trip, too. The 3.25-mile shoreline trail may yield views of water fowl, turtles and frogs, while “Kitchen Rock,” a geological formation, can be accessed along a separate .5-mile trail.Camping is available. Day use fee applies.

Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve is a 298-acre protected habitat on the Eastern Shore. Here you many encounter migratory songbirds as well as the threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle. The short, easy .75-mile trail through some of the highest sand dunes on the Shore will reward you with Chesapeake Bay views and breezes.

Savage Neck Dunes. Courtesy VA Dept of Conservation & Recreation

Savage Neck Dunes

Looking for more Spring Hikes? Check out these 30 Favorite Virginia Hikes recommended by Twitter and Facebook fans.

Where do you love to spend time in spring? Leave a comment to share your knowledge.


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Avatar Diane says:

Would love to see the wildlife in VA’s Mountains

Avatar Shellie Anne says:

I love that these are trails on the outskirts of Virginia, nice article Casey. Worthy of a rerun this year.

Avatar Darrell Adams says:

I live ten minutes from Cascades………very beautiful and not that hard of a hike

Avatar giniajim says:

Try the Dahlgren Heritage Railroad Trail in the Northern Neck. Nice 15 mile trail through a canopy of trees. Biking and hiking. Check out the Friends’ web site for more info (friendsdrht.org). It’s a private trail until it becomes part of the state park system, and the owner asks that users obtain a permit (no charge for the permit).

Avatar Mary G says:

I wish you’d plotted these onto a map.

Avatar Casey Higgins says:

We may add a map; I’ve been trying to create them as I am able. Thanks for following along!

Avatar Mia Jones says:

Yesterday I went for a lovely walk along Madison Run just outside Harrisonburg. It eventually links with the Appalachian Trail! Thanks for the nice list!

Avatar Layla says:

You should add an ability to save this to Pinterest!

Avatar Casey Higgins says:

We do have that option. You’ll see it appear if you hover over the photos. Pinterest also offers a “pin it” button you can add to your toolbar. Doing so allows you to pin from any site. I use it faithfully!