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The top outdoor races, festivals, events, and experiences in the Blue Ridge and beyond.
All Year Long
Astronomy for Everyone at Sky Meadows State Park
Various Dates (check website)
Sky Meadows State Park, Va.
Discover Virginia State Parks’ International Dark Sky Park, beginning with their Junior Astronomer program. Learn about dark skies, light conservation, and the latest news in astronomy. Finish the evening by relaxing and enjoying the night’s beauty with a tour of the night sky. virginiastateparks.com
Winter Wildlife Tram Tours at False Cape State Park
Now through end of March 2022
False Cape State Park, Va.
Join Virginia State Parks’ staff for a scenic ride through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to observe wintering waterfowl. Then, continue to the heart of False Cape State Park for a one-mile guided hike to the remnants of the Wash Woods cemetery and church site. virginiastateparks.com
Weekend Wonders at Pocahontas State Park
February 6, 13, 20, & 27
Pocahontas State Park, Va.
Stop by the Virginia State Parks Visitor Center each Sunday in February, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., for a different activity kit that will get you and your family outdoors and making natural and cultural discoveries. Suitable for all ages, but primarily geared towards 12 and under. virginiastateparks.com
Great Backyard Bird Count
The world comes together each February for the love of birds. Participate in the largest biodiversity-related citizen science project to collect data on wild birds. Virginia State Parks are prime habitat for hundreds of species of birds, so find a participating park and start counting. virginiastateparks.com
Stories of the Stars at Staunton River State Park
Staunton River State Park, Va.
Join storytellers from the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society to hear stories about constellations, planets, astrophotography, and the distance from the stars to Earth. Reduce the impact to observers’ night vision by getting a red light filter at the visitor center for your flashlight or phone. virginiastateparks.com
Bryce Resort, Va.
Celebrate the end of the winter season with a party at Bryce! Winterfest is back for 2022 with pond skimming, live music from 3 a.m. – midnight, and family-friendly activities throughout the day. Buy a pint of your favorite beverage and take home the custom Bryce Winterfest glass. bryceresort.com/events-and-activities/events/winterfest
Tour de Pocahontas
Pocahontas State Park, Va.
Enter in the mountain bike races at Pocahontas State Park, a 7,919-acre park about 30 minutes from Richmond, Va. There are a variety of races during this event, ranging from 2.5 miles to the 34-mile “tour” race. Bring family and friends to cheer you on and enjoy the park. dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/adventureseries
The Whole Enchilada MTB Race
U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte, N.C.
Todas las millas. Every mile of trail by bike. Race includes both Whole and Half Options that cover the entirety of the USNWC trail network (whole is roughly 45-50 miles). whitewater.org/race/the-whole-enchilada
Dogwood Ultra Marathon
Green Bay, Va.
New to the adventure series, this 10-mile run at Twin Lakes State Park in Green Bay, Va., is not far from Farmville and about an hour from Richmond. Check out the website for all the details about this and other races happening during the Dogwood Ultra. dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/adventureseries
Frozen Foot Challenge
Seven Bends State Park, Va.
Seven Bends State Park is the location for this 6-hour adventure race, which is new to the Adventure Series. The park is located in the geographically unique Seven Bends area of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, and is just a few miles from Historic Downtown Woodstock. dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/adventureseries
The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon
Get away to Roanoke, Va., for an epic race-cation with “America’s Toughest Road Marathon.” Enjoy more elevation change than any road marathon in America, breathtaking overlooks, downtown music festival, and recovery Slow-K. Choose from: full marathon, half marathon, 10k, 4-person marathon relay, or double marathon. blueridgemarathon.com
Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by Kroger
The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by Kroger is back and better on April 23! Whether you’re in pursuit of a 6.2-mile PR or prefer a casual stroll, we guarantee costumed runners, live bands, porch parties, tree-lined streets, historic homes, stunning architecture, and more! sportsbackers.org/events/monument-ave-10k
York River State Park, Va.
York River State Park in Williamsburg, Va., is home to this new 11-mile trail run or 22-mile mountain bike race. The park is known for its rare and delicate estuarine environment, where freshwater and saltwater meet to create a rich habitat for marine and plant life. dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/adventureseries
Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon
Smith Mountain Lake State Park, Va.
Enjoy all that Smith Mountain Lake State Park has to offer with a triathlon that shifts from the lake to the rolling hills to the flat trails. This sprint triathlon includes a 750-meter swim, 20K bike ride and a 5K run. dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/adventureseries
Agony in the Alleghanies Gran Fondo
Visit the beautiful Alleghany Highlands of Virginia to ride in one of the most scenic Gran Fondo’s on the East Coast! This cycling event rightfully exemplifies its name, “Agony in the Alleghanies,” with our Gran Fondo course reaching nearly 10,000 feet of climbing! granfondoalleghany.com
Maryland Coast Bike Festival
Ocean City, Md.
The Maryland Coast Bike Festival offers riders a unique and beautiful coastal environment. Take it all in, from the shore break and wild ponies on Assateague Island to the flat rural backcountry of Maryland’s coastal region. Choose from three amazing flat and scenic routes. marylandcoastbikefestival.com
Dominion Energy Riverrock
From music to trail runs, bikes to beer, SUPs to pups, and climbing to kayaks, Dominion Energy Riverrock draws thousands of visitors and outdoor enthusiasts to the downtown riverfront in Richmond, Va., every May. Don’t miss the Nation’s Premier Sports and Music Festival! riverrockrva.com
Storming of Thunder Ridge – The John Bell Memorial Ride
The 13th annual biking event in Lynchburg, Virginia offers camaraderie and challenge for every rider’s ability with a choice of 27, 45, 48, 75 and 100 mile routes as you ride at your own pace along safe and scenic well-marked country roads and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. ymcacva.org/storming-thunder-ridge
Located in the gorgeous Virginia foothills, Rooster Walk is a nonprofit, family-friendly 4-day music festival featuring an eclectic mix of 50+ bands across six stages. In addition, catch the songwriter brunch, yoga, river floats, disc golf, and a brewery bike ride. roosterwalk.com
Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k
This fun event has something for everyone! The USATF certified course follows an old railroad bed of the C&O Railway that winds through small communities, cultivated fields, and patches of woodland. The Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon is a certified Boston Marathon qualifying race. jacksonrivermarathon.com
Front Porch Fest
Spirithaven Farm, Stuart, Va.
This intimate gathering on the front porch to the Blue Ridge Mountains is perfect for families of all ages, seasoned festival goers, and first timers. With an entire volunteer staff this labor of love raises funds for local charities. frontporchfest.com
Virginia 10 Miler
The historic Virginia 10 Miler will celebrate its 47th year on September 23-24, 2022 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Join more than 4,000 runners on a historic course that has hosted participants from around the globe. The 10 mile run, 4 and more mile run/walk, and Amazing Mile Children’s Run invite men, women, and children of all ages and abilities to participate.
The historic Virginia 10 Miler will celebrate its 47th year on September 23-24, 2022 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Join more than 4,000 runners on a historic course that has hosted participants from around the globe. The 10 mile run, 4 and more mile run/walk, and Amazing Mile Children’s Run invite men, women, and children of all ages and abilities to participate. virginiatenmiler.com
Whether you take part in the marathon, CarMax Richmond Half Marathon, or 8k, Richmond provides phenomenal course support, great fall scenery, and awesome finisher swag. The marathon is a top 25 Boston Qualifier, and the course is mostly flat with some rolling hills—perfect for first-timers. richmondmarathon.org
Cover photo courtesy of Getty Images