Regardless of where your Virginia event takes you, there’s an outdoor moment waiting nearby. Virginia has something for the most ardent outdoor adrenaline junkie and soft adventure that’s perfect for a family. Here are a few new things to enjoy.
For some time, Virginia has had a rails to trails program that converted old railroad grades to multi-use trails. Running from Mendota to Bristol, the Mendota Trail is the newest of those old rail corridors. Additional distance is being added during 2018. With the Mendota Trail opening, the Virginia Rail Trails program has eight statewide multi-use complexes. The 34-mile Virginia Creeper Trail is a relaxing two-wheel adventure from Abingdon to the Whitetop Station. Sections of the Tobacco Heritage Trail are open in Brunswick and Lunenburg counties. The 2,400-foot historic bridge highlights High Bridge Trail State Park in Farmville while the Guest River Gorge Trail in Southwest Virginia provides a six-mile remote escape. New River Trail State Park parallels the New River and totals 57 miles through four counties. From Shirlington to Purceville, the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crosses 45 scenic miles. The nine-mile James River Heritage Trail combines nature’s beauty and historic downtown Lynchburg. Following the Murray River from Lexington to Buena Vista, the Chessie Nature Trail permits no vehicles, including bicycles. The Huckleberry Trail between Blacksburg and Christiansburg is six miles long, but expanding.
Not all multi-use trails are rails to trails. In Norton, Flag Rock Area Trails is expanding from eight to more than 30 miles. Norton also recently opened the Woodbogger GeoTrail. The Powell River Trail connects Appalachia and Big Stone Gap following the Powell River with two bridge crossings and a walk, or bike through a 47-feet, seven-inch railroad tunnel. The Mary Ingles Trail has received a facelift through a partnership with the Army Corps and volunteer trail maintenance groups. The 7.8-mile trail from Glen Lyn to the West Virginia border follows the river and is an easy biking, walking grade. In Giles County, the newly opened Twin Depot Scenic Trail follows Route 61 along Wolf Creek connecting two identical Norfolk Southern Train Depots. Waynesboro’s South River Greenway Trail will be expanding its one-mile paved pathway. Near Bedford, Moneta Park has opened new bike trails and disc golf. Plans are in the works to include a trail system for walkers, hikers and mountain bikers.
Moneta Park is not the only place for disc golf. Disc golf is growing in Virginia and there’s a new course in Roanoke’s Explore Park and a new one planned near Hillsville in Carroll County. Narrows, in Giles County, has expanded Camp Success to offer a new 18-hole disc golf course open to the public.
As late as the 1970s, the zip line was basically a transportation tool moving people and goods across difficult terrain. Today, there are recreational and new zip lines continuously appearing. Virginia has several new facilities opening. Breaks Interstate Park in Dickinson has opened three new zipline tours covering 2,200 feet over the canyon rim. Go Ape! Zip Line & Treetop Adventure has opened the largest zip line course in Springfield and includes a junior course. The family adventure includes Tarzan swings, giant rope nets and more fun. In Franklin County just off Smith Mountain Lake Black Water Junction Wake Park, a new cable park has opened. Riders of all skill levels can experience wakeboarding and wakeskating. In Sterling, the Zavazone Trampoline and Indoor Adventure Park is now open. High and low rope courses join the Ninja Warrior zip line course in the Park’s Adventure Zone.
The 37 Virginia State Parks are as varied as the state itself. From the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge Mountains and historic sites to outside major cities, regardless of wh
ere you’re competing in Virginia there’s a state park nearby. There are certainly parks that feature trails for hiking and biking and others that are perfect for paddling and tubing. Many of Virginia’s State Parks feature special events and festivals. However, the one thing that’s available at all locations is a picnic area perfect for family, or team getaways. The newest addition to the state park system is Widewater State Park near Stafford, which highlights the area’s natural, historic and recreational resources. Regardless which season you visit Virginia, or where your event is located you’ll find plenty of reasons to get out of the car and experience the great outdoors. To learn more about the many outdoor opportunities in Virginia visit online at Virginia.org/outdoors. #VAoutdoors