The top outdoor races, festivals, events, and experiences in the Blue Ridge and beyond.
24th Annual Eagle Festival
Mason Neck State Park, Va.
Join us for a full day of live animal shows, hands on educational opportunities, and outdoor recreation clinics that all aim to highlight the rich natural history of Northern Virginia and foster stewardship of our environment. virginiastateparks.com
Appalachian Trail Days
Appalachian Trail Days is celebrating its 35th year as Damascus gears up for another record season of thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Trail Days is a celebration of the Appalachian Trail and thru-hiker culture. The title sponsor again this year is Hyperlite Mountain Gear. visitdamascus.org/traildays.html
Mountain Lake Lodge Annual Brew Ridge Music Festival
Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke, Va.
Join us for Mountain Lake’s Annual Brew Ridge Music Festival. Bring family and friends for an afternoon full of Bands, Beers, and Brats. Enjoy Virginia’s best craft beer with live musical performances! Packages and tickets available now. mtnlakelodge.com
Gathering in the Gap Music Festival
Southwest Virginia Museum, Big Stone Gap Va.
Celebrate Southwest Virginia’s rich tradition of old-time, bluegrass, blues and Americana music. Legendary country music star Crystal Gayle will be this year’s featured performer. Also enjoy performances by regionally and nationally renowned musicians Dave Eggar and Bristol Lighting ft. Blake Collins and Tanner Perry, and more! virginiastateparks.com
NC Trail Days
Nestled between 2 state parks, Stone Mountain and Pilot Mountain, Elkin is the perfect place to bring your bikes, boats and boots to explore the many area trails. Spend the weekend in Elkin and enjoy guided and self-guided hikes, Yadkin River excursions, outdoor exhibitors, live music, art and more! nctraildays.com
Music in the Park
Beginning June 3
Hungry Mother State Park, Va.
Enjoy the sounds of local musicians as you take in the beautiful park. Nearly every Friday during the Summer season, the park hosts a different artist who will share their musical talent with you. virginiastateparks.com
National Trail Day Events Throughout Virginia State Parks
Virginia State Parks
Cleanups and other events throughout the state parks to celebrate National Trail Day. virginiastateparks.com
Flying Squirrel Ten Miler
Experience some of the best road running in Asheville with The Flying Squirrel Ten Miler, Asheville’s premier 10 Mile road race. Enjoy the ease and convenience of a road race with the spectacular views and seclusion of a mountain race. The race starts and finishes just blocks from downtown Asheville. Benefiting: Carolina Flying Squirrel via the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. runsignup.com/flyingsquirreltenmiler
Taskinas Creek 1/2 Marathon
York River State Park, Va.
Half marathon run on a mixture of mountain bike trail, fire road, and pavement. virginiastateparks.com
Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge
This incredible IRONMAN 70.3 race will showcase the best of the outdoors and scenic beauty in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, including the opportunity to swim at Carvins Cove, bicycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and run along the Roanoke River Greenway. visitroanokeva.com/ironman
Claytor Lake Festival
Claytor Lake State Park, Va.
The Claytor Lake Festival Committee presents the 25th annual Claytor Lake Festival. Enjoy entertainment all day, fireworks at dusk, a public safety display, arts & crafts, a car and motorcycle show, children’s activities, an adult/youth fishing tournament, and more. virginiastateparks.com
Nantahala Outdoor Center 50 Years of Adventure Celebration
What started out in 1972 as a simple gas station and small motel has grown to be one of the nation’s premiere Outfitters. Come celebrate 50 years of the Nantahala Outdoor Center complete with Live Music, giveaways, a vendor village and more! All NOC locations will have activities, please see NOC’s website for more info. noc.com/events
Camp Paradise at High Bridge Trail State Park, Va.
Look down from High Bridge and witness the spectacle of a galaxy of starry fireflies flashing in tree tops in the Appomattox River Valley below. The Festival will begin with a ranger led explanation of these mysterious, luminous insects at 9 p.m. Activities, firefly viewing, and insect displays will be available at the event. virginiastateparks.com
Bushels & Barrels Local Food, Wine & Beer Festival
June 17 -18
Reynolds Homestead, Critz, Va.
Celebrating all things local, this two day event features a local foods Farm-to-Table dinner, Homebrew Competition and the festival itself with music, food trucks and wineries and breweries. bushelsandbarrels.com
Pocahontas State Park, Va.
Multi-stage Enduro style race on single track. virginiastateparks.com
Night Train 1/2 Marathon
High Bridge Trail State Park, Va.
An ultra-distance runs with shorter options. Both 50k and 1/2 marathon on cinder rail-to-trail. virginiastateparks.com
2022 USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships
June 29 – July 2
Hundreds of cyclists from around the country will be competing to win national titles in the road race, individual time trial, and criterium, in what promises to be four action-packed days of cycling in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. usacycling.org/events/national-championships/2022-amateur-road-nationals
Brownsburg Garden Tour
Visit five beautiful, diverse private gardens by shuttle van on Saturday, July 2 from 9am – 3pm. Garden owners and docents will be onsite to answer questions. Lunch available for purchase. Tickets $25 in advance, $30 day of the event. Ticket sales open May 15 at brownsburgva.com. brownsburgva.com
North Rockbridge Trail in Bloom
Fairfield, Raphine and Brownsburg, Va.
Take a driving tour through the scenic countryside in full bloom with wildflowers, gardens, and colorful plantings. Over 20 businesses including shops, vineyards, historic sites, farms, and B&Bs invite you to enjoy a stroll, a sit, a glass, an ice-cream & enjoy the local hospitality. Free admission. facebook.com/northrockbridgetrail
Balloons Over Rockbridge Hot Air Balloon & Music Festival
July 2 – July 3
Virginia Horse Center, Lexington Va.
It’s all about the hot air balloons—piloted flights soaring overhead, tethered rides, and nighttime glows. Enjoy two days of balloons, local bands, a variety of food and merchandise vendors, beer and wine, and children’s activities. Free admission. balloonsoverrockbridge.com
Freedom Food Festival
Downtown Lexington, Va.
Main Street is converted into a community street and music festival featuring live music, beer/wine sales, desserts, and tasty July 4th picnic-style fare. This fundraiser pairs local celebrity chefs and restaurants with area non-profits in a festive, family-friendly atmosphere. Free admission. freedomfoodfestival.com
Kid’s Bike Parade
Downtown Lexington, Va.
Kids can celebrate with their own parade! Gather to decorate bikes and get face paintings, then ride down Main Street en masse with families and dogs in tow. Free decorations provided to all. Refreshments will be available. mainstreetlexington.org
Music & Fireworks
Glen Maury Park, Buena Vista, Va.
Bring the entire family to Glen Maury Park to wrap up the Independence Weekend. Live music and dancing, food and beverage sales, and spectacular fireworks display that can be seen from miles around. buenavistava.org/residents/recreation/glen-maury-park
Fourth of July Weekend at Bryce Resort
Bryce Resort, Va.
Celebrate your Fourth of July weekend at Bryce Resort on Saturday, July 2nd with live music, family friendly activities, craft vendors and an amazing fireworks display in the mountains! The Hackens Boys are back for 2022 so bring the whole family for a lively day at Bryce!” bryceresort.com
Music on the Cliffs
Beginning July 16
Westmoreland State Park Visitor Center, Va.
The Friends of Westmoreland State Park presents Music on the Cliffs, a free Summer concert series featuring local musicians. virginiastateparks.com
York River State Park, Va.
11-mile* run or 22-mile* mountain bike race. *Distance may change slightly; the final course is still being set. Possible run being explored. virginiastateparks.com
Virginia Commonwealth Games at Liberty University
40 individual/team sports with a Tailgate Party and Opening Ceremonies. commonwealthgames.org
A 5-day celebration of music, arts, outdoor adventure, and craft libations in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest VA. Featuring over 100 performers on 8 stages, including Lake Street Dive, Turnpike Troubadours, Morgan Wade, Trampled by Turtles, Old Crow Medicine Show, Melissa Etheridge, Marcus King, Ann Wilson of Heart and so many more. This year’s festival will also feature the Blue Ridge Outdoors 5k Race! floydfest.com
Guts, Gravel, Glory
Pocahontas State Park, Va.
Cyclocross races with 50-mile, 36-mile, 19-mile options on fire roads. virginiastateparks.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
New River Trail Challenge
September 17, 2022
New River Trail State Park, Va.
Long-distance adventure triathlon. 40-mile bike, 12.1-mile kayak, 1/2 marathon, in and along the New River Trail. virginiastateparks.com
Howlin’ Coyote 10K and Wiley Pup Kids Trail Dash
Caledon State Park, Va.
10k adult race, 1-mile kids race on a wide, groomed trail in King George. This is a dog-friendly race! virginiastateparks.com
James River Ultra Runs
James River State Park, Va.
Ultra-distance runs with shorter runs (50-mile, 50k, 10-mile options on mixed trails). virginiastateparks.com
Whether you take part in the marathon, CarMax Richmond Half Marathon, or 8k, Richmond, Va. 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
Star City Half Marathon/10K
Half Marathon & 10K road race in Roanoke, Va. The post-race food “A Taste of Roanoke” and awards ceremonies will be held in the Roanoke City Parks & Rec parking lot off Reserve Ave. commonwealthgames.org
Cover photo courtesy of Getty Images