Nestled in the heart of Southside Virginia, Henry County beckons outdoor enthusiasts with a network of scenic trails full of wildlife and natural wonder. Martinsville’s trails are also steeped in history, each path weaving through the rich tapestry of the city’s past. Explore the lush greenery, discover hidden gems, and embrace the outdoor culture that defines this charming region.
The Smith River
Explore scenic river views on the Smith River Trail System, a network that encompasses all local trails, including a 1.5-mile out-and-back trail from Laurel Mountain Preserve in Bassett, VA. This unpaved path along the Smith River is ideal for bird and wildlife enthusiasts, offering glimpses of historic factories along the way.
A popular trail within this system is the family-friendly Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail. Weaving through Martinsville and Henry County, this paved path is perfect for walkers and bikers alike. With six access points and two sections spanning 6.5 miles and 2.5 miles respectively, trekkers and train enthusiasts can discover the local history of the former Danville and Western Railroad. Excitingly, the trail is actively expanding, with the D & W’s newest section connecting the two existing sections creating an 11-mile one-way trail experience.
Prefer water exploration? The Smith River Blueway offers 10 access points in Martinsville-Henry County, while Philpott Lake boasts its own blueway, including the renowned Philpott Dam and charming waterfalls. Notably, Philpott Dam clinched the title of “Best Fishing Spot” in the 2023 Best of Blue Ridge contest.
More to Explore
History buffs rejoice in Martinsville-Henry County! The Textile Heritage Trail in Fieldale unveils the region’s textile manufacturing legacy, connecting to the unpaved Fieldale Walking Trail along the Smith River. Explore Richard P. Gravely, Jr. Nature Preserve‘s 75 acres, where the Jones Cliff Trail offers self-guided tours delving into early 1900s tobacco farming and the Burgess Family plantation of the 1800s.
For some indoor history fun, the Bassett Historical Center, Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center & Museum, and the Virginia Museum of Natural History are all great options. There is also a visitor center and museum at Philpott Lake that has exhibits on local wildlife, the dam’s construction, and the old towns in the area.
Wrap up your historical exploration at Scuffle Hill Brewing Company, serving a dynamic menu of local brews rooted in history. For outdoor enthusiasts, Papa’s Pizzeria and Railway Café are favored spots with outdoor seating, conveniently situated near river access points in Bassett.