Are you ready to get outdoors and find the best hiking in Virginia? You have come to the right place because here you will find hiking all over the beautiful southern state.
It does not matter if you are an advanced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll there are plenty of options for hiking in Virginia. You will be able to see the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains or you could even make your way through the forest to see stunning waterfalls.
One way to make the most out of your trip is to check out all the fun things to do in Virginia. It does not matter what time of the year you are looking to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors because there are plenty of good hikes in Virginia during all the seasons.
During the spring you will see the blooming flowers and luscious forests. In the autumn you can experience the leaves changing color and the crisp air. During the summer months, you will feel the sun shining down on your face and you could find a hike where the payoff is a swim in the ocean. So get ready to enjoy some of the best hiking in Virginia no matter when you come.
12 Best Trails for Hiking in Virginia
Ragged Mountain Natural Area
At the Ragged Mountain Natural Area, you will find one of the best hikes near Charlottesville. There are a few different trails that you can take once you reach the parking lot for this trail.
The most popular one is the main loop trail. It is 7.5 miles long and takes you through the forest and around the reservoir. To walk the whole trail will take about 4 hours so be sure to pack accordingly with plenty of water and snacks.
About 2 miles in you will cross a wooden floating bridge that takes you across the beautiful river. Be on the lookout for the many different wooden carvings along the way. If you are not in the mood or do not have the time to hike the whole 7.5 loop trail there are a few shorter options for you to take at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area.
All of the hikes start at the trail kiosk so you can decide once you get there. This natural area is a must-do if you are looking for the best hiking trails in Virginia.
Great Falls Park
Located in Mclean, Great Falls Park is home to some of the best hikes in Northern Virginia. There are 15 miles of hiking trails to enjoy at the Great Falls parks. So there is definitely something for everyone to love. When you arrive at Great Falls Park head inside the visitor center to find pamphlets and figure out which trail is best for you. You cannot go wrong with whatever footpath you take when you are at the Great Falls Virginia hiking trails.
The most popular hike is the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. You can even camp overnight here if you wanted to make more of an adventure. You must make a reservation to camp overnight online before you go. There is a fee to get into the park and they advise arriving early in the spring and summer because they do fill up fast. Be sure to check out Great Falls Park because it is home to the best hiking in Virginia.
The Buttermilk Trail is one of the most popular hikes near Richmond. This is a moderate to a bit hard trail along the James River and is 4.5 miles long. There is a bit of elevation gain and rocky terrain but nothing too hard. There are a few different entrances to the Buttermilk Trail. But most people start at either the 21st street entrance or the Reedy Creek canoe launch.
Being one of the best trails in Virginia it can get busy during the summer and spring. Some parts of this hike are also used by mountain bikers so be on the lookout as you trek along. You will see plenty of creeks, cross over a few bridges, and a few areas with borders that are always fun to explore. If you are in or around Richmond this is one of the places to hit up for the best hiking in Virginia for the whole family.
Bull Run Occoquan Trail
There is so much fun to have at the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. Here you will find one of the best Northern Virginia hikes. The Bull Run Trail is Northern Virginia’s longest natural surface trail and there are more than 5,000 acres and a 17-mile hiking trail for you to explore. Like most hiking areas in Virginia, they are open from dawn to dusk so you have all day to explore.
The Bull Run Occoquan Trail has an interesting past and as you walk around you will be able to see all the different battles that took place here from the Civil and the Revolutionary Wars. If you are lucky you may run into a few different wildlife that lives in the park from whitetail deer to many types of birds. Be sure to add the Bull Run Occoquan Trail to your list of the best day hikes in Virginia because you could spend the entire day here and never get bored.
Read Mountain Preserve
The Read Mountain Preserve has some of the best hikes near Roanoke. This Preserve has been welcoming guests for years and has over 240 acres of preserved land to enjoy. The park has over 5 miles of trails with all levels of difficulty. The main trail is 2 miles long and is moderate to hard and is called Buzzards Rock.
You will follow a stream along the mountainside, climb stairs made from rocks, and finally be rewarded with a beautiful scene when you reach the top. The view from the top of Buzzards Rock is known to be the best in all of Roanoke. So take a seat on the bench at the top and take in the stunning views of the valley. You do not want to miss this beautiful and one of the best mountain hikes in Virginia when you are visiting Roanoke.
Rock Creek Park
Rock Creek Park is one of the best hikes near Washington DC. This special place was recognized by the federal government in 1890 to become the 3rd national park. Here you will find a spacious 1,754-acre park with plenty over 25 miles of the best hiking in Virginia. The two most popular hikes here are the Western Ridge Trail which is green on the map and the Valley Trail which is marked orange.
The rangers at Rock Creek Park advise that you use a map or a guide here. This is because there are not many signs in the park to tell you where to go. Dogs are welcome to join you all over the park but please keep them on a leash. Another popular choice is the Millhouse Ford hike. This easy hike is 1.75 miles long and you will see an old civil war fort, a poet’s cabin, and a small creek. Another popular thing to do here is to create your hike. Be aware of your surroundings and be sure to know how to get back to your car.
Lake Shenandoah Trail
Lake Shenandoah has a trail that is one of the best hikes near Harrisonburg for nature and animal lovers. Although this is a short and easy 1.5-mile hike around the beautiful lake it is home to many different species of animals and wildflowers. They have purposely planted all types of pollinating flowers to attract the best kind of wildlife.
Here you can enjoy fishing from the pier, have yourself a picnic or just enjoy a stroll along the lake. You will leave this oasis feeling refreshed and you may even learn a little about wildlife during your visit to one of the best hiking trails in Virginia. If you are in the Shenandoah Valley you are going to want to put the Lake Shenandoah Trail high on the list of things to see when you are visiting the mountains.
First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is one of the most popular destinations for easy hikes in Virginia Beach. There are over 20 miles of hikes throughout this beautiful and historic state park. The name First Landing gets its name because it is said that this is where the English settlers landed back in the 1600s. Since then the waterways have been transformed into an amazing park for hiking, and biking, and there are even camping spots to reserve.
The Cape Henry Trail is the most popular in the park and it is a 10.1-mile hike and is a flat and easy route. Expect it to take you about 3 hours and there is plenty of shade and even places to swim in the ocean. You can bring your furry friend along with you but they must be on a leash the whole time. There is a small fee to enter the state park and try and get there early, especially on the weekends. Do not miss your chance to experience some of the most scenic and best hiking in Virginia.
Virginia Creeper Trail
The Virginia Creeper Trail is one of the most popular rails to trail in all of America. This trail starts at the North Carolina and Virginia border and runs into Abington, VA. You are welcome to come and hike this beautiful rail trail any time of the year. The real magic of this trail is during the fall when the leaves are changing colors and the crisp air fills your lungs.
Although this is a very popular mountain biking trail it is just as much fun to hike. You will find a few restaurants along the way to stop and have a snack or a refreshing drink. The trail is mostly flat with solid gravel the whole way. No matter how long you decide to spend you will enjoy some of the best hiking in Virginia on the Creeper Trail.
If you are looking for the best places to hike in Virginia the Compton Peak Trail is right off of Skyline Drive. Compton Peak is a very popular section of the Appalachian Trail for its amazing scenery. This easy hike is 3.4 miles out and back trail that should take you about 2 hours to complete. It is open all year round but during the winter Skyline Drive is known to close sections for the snow.
The payoff of Compton Peak is gorgeous views and geologic features. You can expect an elevation change of a little more than 800 feet but is still a moderate trail. Dogs are welcome to accompany you on your hike to the peak but they ask you to please keep them on a leash.
St. Marys Wilderness
If you are looking for one of the best places for hiking in Virginia with a waterfall then St Mary’s Wilderness is perfect for you. There are plenty of ways to reach the majestic falls at St. Mary’s Wilderness. The most common trail is Mine Bank Trail which is a 9-mile out and back trail. Many people decide to backpack and spend the night in the forest.
St. Marys is located in Raphine, Va, and is a moderate to hard trail. Give yourself plenty of time to experience the elevation change of almost 2000 feet. It usually takes about 6 hours to complete but you may want to add in a few more hours if you plan to spend time swimming at the falls. Add St. Mary’s Wilderness to your list of the best mountain hikes in Virginia with waterfalls.
Crabtree Falls Trails
Located in Nelson County, VA Crabtree Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Virginia. This hike is 2.5 miles long and you will be able to see the Crabtree waterfall and the Tye River Valley cascade. There are over 5 different waterfalls to see along the trail. Close by there is a campground that is open from the spring to the fall if you plan on staying the night.
You can enjoy this easy hike from dawn to dust and your dog is welcome to join if they are on a leash. Along with one of the prettiest Virginia hikes you will be able to see even gravel paths, wooden stairs, plenty of overlooks, and a 100-foot bridge above the Tye River. Make sure to add these beautiful waterfalls to your list of the best hiking areas in Virginia.