10 Beautiful Fall Hikes near Virginia Wineries

by Johnny Molloy | Posted: Sep 23, 2016

Comments: 9 Comments

Talk about a pairing. When you combine visiting a Virginia winery with a hike in Virginia’s bountiful natural glory, the sensory delights extend far beyond the palette! Furthermore, touring a winery can be a scenic experience in its own right – viewing the rows of grape arbors, walking wonderfully landscaped grounds on cobblestone paths and soaking in views of the rolling countryside. And let’s not forget the tastings, whether they are indoors or out. The tastings are the raison d’etre as far as winery tours are concerned.

However, just because we love wine tastings and touring wineries doesn’t mean we can’t add a walk or hike to the adventure. Hiking to a nearby waterfall, overlook or historic site just might build up an appreciation for the great outdoors and perhaps a thirst for the harvest of the grape — wine produced in Virginia.

Here are 10 Virginia hikes paired with nearby wineries. Cheers!

 

– THE HIKE: VIRGINIA CREEPER TRAIL –

The Winery: Abingdon Vineyard & Winery

GPS Hike Location: 36.65158, -81.88726

GPS Winery Location: 36.65787, -81.88827

Nearest Town: Abingdon

Virginia Creeper Trail

The Pairing: This winery is located on a 50-acre tract astride the South Fork Holston River. Moreover, just across the river lies the famed Virginia Creeper Trail, the railroad grade turned hiking, bicycling and equestrian path stretching 34 miles between the town of Abingdon through Damascus and high into the mountains, to end at Whitetop Station and the North Carolina state line. You can access the Creeper Trail at the South Holston bridge in Alvarado, very near the winery. Or pick your own trail segment. The section of the Creeper near Abingdon is pastoral, whereas, if you start at Damascus, you can follow crashing Whitetop Laurel Creek through montane scenery. Alternatively, you might want to rent a bicycle in Damascus to pedal the gravel track.

 

– THE HIKE: BOTTOM CREEK GORGE –

The Winery: AMRhein’s Wine Cellars

GPS Hike Location: 37.13183, -80.18059

GPS Winery Location:   37.11996, -80.152

Nearest Town: Bent Mountain

The Pairing: This estate covers over 40 acres and features 20 varieties of grapes and 15 styles of red and white wine. The family has a two-decade tradition of wine making and nearly a century in the jewelry business. In addition to touring the ground of AmRhein’s, take a hike to one of Virginia’s tallest waterfalls and special swaths of nature – Bottom Creek Gorge.

Make a 4.6-mile loop using a network of old settler roads and newer foot trails to explore the Bottom Creek valley. First, climb to a ridgetop plateau and enter a formerly settled area with evidence of the past from chimneys to fence posts and more. Next, enjoy natural features such as 200-foot Bent Mountain Falls, then finally visit Bottom Creek, where pools and cascades form an area known as The Kettles.

 

– THE HIKE: DANVILLE RIVERWALK –

The Winery: Two Witches Winery and Brewery

GPS Hike Location: 36.59086, -79.38858

GPS Winery Location: 36.58564, -79.42101

Nearest Town: Danville

Scenes Along the Dan River in Danville

The Pairing: Two Witches lays claim to being the only combination winery and brewery in Virginia. While grapes are grown on site they also use grapes grown on their other farm. Their tasting room is generally open in the evenings, giving you the afternoon to get in your hike. An immediate choice is the Danville Riverwalk. This 9-mile greenway travels along the north bank of the Dan River, and has been ingeniously incorporated into the existing infrastructure. On its journey, the Riverwalk passes through hub parks such as Dan Daniel Park and Anglers Park. The trail is paved and is popular with joggers, bicyclers and walkers. Along the way, it tells the story of Danville from its industrial and Civil War past to today, where we see natural beauty integrated into this linear trail system.

If you are looking for something a little more rustic, try Fairy Stone State Park, about an hour’s drive west. Explore Stuarts Knob and early 1700 mining industry. Follow Civilian Conservation Corps built trails, all encapsulated in hilly wooded terrain enhanced with natural beauty, including a cleared view from the shoulder of Stuarts Knob.

 

– THE HIKE: CHIPPOKES PLANTATION STATE PARK –

The Winery: The Williamsburg Winery

GPS Hike Location: 37.14627, -76.74036

GPS Winery Location: 37.23206, -76.71842

Nearest Town: Williamsburg

Chippokes Plantation State Park

The Pairing: Combine a historic farm turned winery with another remarkable farm turned state park. Both plantations have their roots in the 1600s, early in Virginia history. When visiting here, you can take a winery tour, or a tour and tasting, or just a tasting of the impressive wine selection. Visitors can dine or overnight here, too. You might say it is an “all-inclusive” winery.

Well, almost … for a hike from the winery, take the ferry across the James River to visit Chippokes Plantation State Park, embedded with Virginia history so deep it is one of the oldest continually working farms on the continent. Utilize a network of trails emanating from the visitor center, exploring 20 architecturally significant buildings. Walk along the James River beach, then cross College Run. From there, the trail rises to meet the heart of the plantation, where you can explore a working farm, outbuildings and the mansion. The Farm and Forestry Museum is a must stop. Check out actual implements of farming days gone by.

 

– THE HIKE: DUTCH GAP LOOP –

The Winery: Upper Shirley Vineyards

GPS Hike Location: 37.37537, -77.36122

GPS Winery Location: 37.34592, -77.2573

Nearest Town: Hopewell

Dutch Gap Conservation Area

The Pairing: This winery is run by native Virginians who returned home after careers elsewhere. Love of home led them to a historic house and farm to cultivate their passion for winemaking. With 16 acres under cultivation and more to come, the winery is open for tastings Wednesday through Monday. A restaurant on site adds dining to the mix.

Just a few miles to the west lays the equally historic Henricus Village, where you can hike in preserved wildland near the famous recreated Henricus Village of the 1600s. Long ago, English colonists settled in the area, forming Henricus, a community around which a defensive ditch was built. The moat became known as the Dutch Gap. Fast forward, as commercial traffic increased on the James River, a canal was cut across a loop in the James, forming a big oxbow lake. Now Dutch Gap is preserved and you can make a 4.7-loop hike amid these wetlands starting behind the Henricus Village visitor center.

 

– THE HIKE: APPALACHIAN TRAIL ON BROWN MOUNTAIN CREEK –

The Winery: Ankida Ridge Vineyards

GPS Hike Location: 37.72362, -79.25079

GPS Winery Location: 37.7056, -79.17359

Nearest Town: Amherst

Appalachian Trail

The Pairing: This high country winery is perched on the east slope of the Blue Ridge, nestled in at 1,800 feet. There are open Saturdays only for tastings. The smallish winery is on a once-rocky mountainside that the proprietors correctly surmised would grow quality grapes. Now known as Virginia’s “Little Burgundy” the winery strives to be as organic as possible, even down to using sheep to graze the vineyard floor!

The Appalachian Trail is within easy striking distance, just a few miles away. Leave US 60 at Long Mountain Wayside and head south. Take a 4.6-mile there-and-back hike into Appalachian Mountain history, visiting a formerly inhabited hollow along Brown Mountain Creek. Here, a gorgeous wooded valley is centered by a raucous stream, once populated with scores of sharecroppers. While hiking look for evidence of these former residents, whether it is old stone fences, stone spring boxes, even a chimney, all fading into the past, as the forest grows ever tall and lush.

 

– THE HIKE: SPLIT ROCK FROM HARPERS FERRY –

The Winery: 868 Estate Vineyards

GPS Hike Location: 39.32183, -77.74262

GPS Winery Location: 39.23113, -77.73937

Nearest Town: Purcellville

The Pairing: This northern Virginia winery uses “old world practices and cutting edge technology” in producing their vino on a historic farm. In addition to tastings, visitors can enjoy music at times and a restaurant using locally sourced cuisine. The proprietors describe the 868 Estate Vineyards experience in four words – wine, food, art, nature. The operation is well run and caters to visitors.

Add a little more nature by making the 6-mile there-and-back hike to Split Rock. Pick up the Appalachian Trail in nearby Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (the only place with good parking for this hike). Cross the Shenandoah River, pass a homesite then climb to the state line dividing West Virginia and Virginia. Follow the Virginia boundary to Split Rock, where a fantastic view opens down the Potomac River dividing Maryland and Virginia and upriver to Harpers Ferry.

 

– THE HIKE: SKY MEADOWS STATE PARK –

The Winery: Arterra Wines

GPS Hike Location: 38.99194, -77.96833

GPS Winery Location: 38.96405, -77.97141

Nearest Town: Delaplane

Sky Meadows State Park.

The Pairing: Arterra Wines is managed by a husband-wife team with both into the wine making process but the wife having an additional passion for creating art, thus the name Arterra.  The winery seeks “to create a fruit driven wine that authentically expresses all Virginia has to offer as a wine region”. They fully embrace the Virginia winery culture. They offer tastings Fridays through Sundays and during the week by appointment. Enjoy artistic creations during your tasting.

Sky Meadows State Park is just a few miles distant from Arterra. Immerse in the countryside where Arterra stands while hiking here. This 5-mile loop hike starts near the ranger station. Take the Piedmont Overlook Trail and enjoys two vistas, then joins the Ambassador Whitehouse Trail, reaching another overlook. Finally, pick up the Appalachian Trail and tread that famous path south for a couple of miles before looping back to the trailhead via the North Ridge Trail.

 

– THE HIKE: SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE STATE PARK –

The Winery: Altillo Vineyards and Winery

GPS Hike Location: 37.08268, -79.60733

GPS Winery Location: 37.06473, -79.24421

Nearest Town: Altavista

Smith Mountain Lake

The Pairing: Altillo Vineyards and Winery is a smaller, family operated business that specializes in finely crafted wines of limited production. They pride themselves on attention to detail. At their tasting facility you can sit at a bar, out on the deck or relax before the fireplace. Open Friday and Saturday from noon to 6, your tasting fee goes toward the purchase of your first bottle of wine.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park, located west of the winery, presents miles of trails skirting the shoreline of the attractive impoundment that is Smith Mountain Lake. You can enjoy aquatic views while traipsing through the sloping shoreline woods. Park along Interpretive Trail Road and head out to Turtle Island, linked by a bridge to the mainland, and also gain many views of the impoundment from vistas complete with benches. Make sure to visit the restored tobacco barn, as well as one left to the elements and time, for a 4 mile loop. Additional trails and numerous trail intersections allow you to shorten or lengthen your trek.

 

– THE HIKE: SAVAGE NECK DUNES NATURAL AREA PRESERVE –

The Winery: Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek

GPS Hike Location: 37.32751, -76.00413

GPS Winery Location: 37.4566, -75.92689

Nearest Town: Eastville

Savage Neck Dunes. Courtesy VA Dept of Conservation & Recreation

The Pairing: Operated by a second generation Virginia winery family on a centuries old working farm, the proprietors feature 20 acres of high density, high quality European-style vines. Their grapes are handpicked and assorted to ensure high quality wines. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for tastings.

A few miles south of Chatham Vineyards stands Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve, a protected Virginia resource. The preserve is best known for sand dunes rising 50 feet high from Chesapeake Bay. The preserve safeguards a mile of wild shoreline abutting Chesapeake Bay where views will enhance your walk. Visitors accessing the preserve can trace a ¾-mile trail through the dunes to the beach, where you can enjoy walking the sandy shoreline.

 

 

 

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8 Comments on "10 Beautiful Fall Hikes near Virginia Wineries"

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[…] However, just because we love wine tastings and touring wineries doesn’t mean we can’t add a walk or hike to the adventure. Hiking to a nearby waterfall, overlook or historic site just might build up an appreciation for the great outdoors and perhaps a thirst for the harvest of the grape — wine produced in Virginia. Read more at Virginia.org… […]

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[…] 10 Beautiful Fall Hikes near Virginia Wineries […]

Julie @ FuninFairfaxVA
Guest

Manassas Battlefield and Bull Run Occoquan Trail are two more hikes that pair perfectly with a Virginia winery. Here are our 5 favorite hike and wine combos in Northern Virignia: http://www.funinfairfaxva.com/5-fun-virginia-hike-and-wine-daytrips/

Moire
Guest

Near Sky Meadows, check out Naked Mountain a little further down Leeds Manor. Or, go about 4 miles east on Rt. 55, you’ll find the Appalachian Trail and Fox Meadow up Freezeland Road.

Ujjwal
Guest

Wow spectacular, great place for hiking

Thank you for sharing the informative information.

Thi Tran
Guest

There’s also Manassas National Battlefield Park and The Winery at Bull Run (Literally side by side to each other)

Heather Isbell
Guest

Buffalo Mountain Preserve near Chateau Morissette near Meadows of Dan

Wilmer Alvarez
Guest

So beautiful love it

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