Find your hidden oasis in the peaks and valleys surrounding Harrisonburg, VA. Swim in refreshing swimming holes and play in cascading waterfalls. Explore secluded woodland groves and gorgeous displays of autumn foliage. Trek to stunning panoramic views and breathe in the cool mountain air. Retreat to downtown Harrisonburg to sample award-winning craft beverages, chat with friendly, knowledgeable outfitters, and peruse a copy of the new trail guide for the rest of your journey. Harrisonburg is your basecamp for adventure!
Trails Less Traveled
Climb to the top of High Knob Fire Tower, one of the last remaining fire towers east of the Mississippi River. Expansive 360 degree views of Spruce Knob, the highest mountain on the Eastern Continental Divide, and sunset vistas of distant ridges can be seen from the nest of the fire tower.
Hike past other-worldly rock formations to expansive views at the top of Furnace Mountain, one of the most challenging and rewarding trails on the western side of Shenandoah National Park. Rest and recharge at a rocky overlook and then descend down the mountain to Madison Run. A tunnel of blueberry bushes flanks the trail each summer.
Explore the dense network of trails at Hone Quarry Recreation Area where secluded sandstone cliffs, glittering reservoirs, and hidden waterfalls are tucked away in the shadows of Shenandoah Mountain. The Cliff Trail boasts a stunning overlook, while Hidden Rocks Trail leads you to a towering rock face. Rappel with your climbing gear down the cliff and feel the rush of the wind at your back.
Trek alongside babbling streams at Fridley Gap, where waterfalls feed gently into a swimming hole at the base of the mountain. Mountain laurel and other plants bloom alongside the trail. Hike along the Massanutten Trail to the overlook at Fourth Mountain, and take in scenic views of Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley below.
Some of the area’s most legendary trails are accessible via the Swift Run Gap entrance station of Shenandoah National Park, a 30-minute drive from Harrisonburg. Take a short drive up Skyline Drive to the Hightop Mountain trailhead and follow the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail to a towering waterfall and iconic vistas. A moderate section of trail leads to the highest peak in the park’s South District. Walk in the footsteps of thru-hikers and explore backcountry shelters. Leaf through hikers’ stories written in shelter logs and leave behind some stories of your own.
Nearby, Blackrock Summit and Bearfence Mountain boast some of the most challenging and interesting rock scrambles in the forest. Climb over jagged rocks and massive boulders to a rocky outcrop, where the Shenandoah Valley, Piedmont, and Appalachian Mountains are all visible.
Paradise Off the Beaten Path
After a full day of adventuring in the forests, enjoy a light picnic at Harrisonburg’s Riven Rock Park, a hidden gem tucked away in the foothills of the George Washington National Forest. Dip your feet into the cool mountain stream and relax as the water runs over your tired toes. Nearby, the lakes at the Slate Lick Recreation Area and Switzer Reservoir offer abundant fishing opportunities and peaceful waterside trails surrounded by acres of untouched natural beauty.
Scenic Trails & Greenways
Harrisonburg city, parks, trails, and greenways beckon you to explore the great outdoors. Walk, run or ride through pastoral scenes on the Friendly City Trail, a two mile greenway connecting Hillandale and Westover Parks. At 74 acres, Hillandale Park is the largest in the city. Meander past bluebells and flowering plants in the tranquil woods of the Rocktown Trails. Play a round of frisbee golf in-between walks or relax in the shade of a quiet pavilion. The Bluestone Trail, Northend Greenway and Elk Run Trails offer additional opportunities for walking.
Tread through peaceful woodland pathways at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and rest on a sprawling garden lawn amidst blooming wildflowers. Wind through the stone labyrinth and listen as the sound of birdsong fills the canopy. Roam through idyllic pastures at the Brethren and Mennonite Heritage Center to awe-inspiring views of the city. In the fall, vibrant foliage brightens the landscape.
Basecamp for Burgers and Brews
Gear up and fuel up in the city’s vibrant downtown, a center for the arts, culture and entertainment, and basecamp for Harrisonburg’s active outdoors community. Walk, bike, or scooter to internationally-inspired restaurants, independently owned boutiques, and friendly, knowledgeable outfitters. The teams at Walkabout Outfitter and Mossy Creek Fly Fishing are eager to connect you with the area’s best hiking and fly fishing spots and get you the gear you need to make the most of your trip.
Talk with the staff at Walkabout Outfitter about their recommendations for day hikes and weekend trips, and shop for hiking and backpacking essentials. Stock up on lines, flies, and gadgets at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and take a class with one of their experienced anglers. Their instructors will ensure that you have a fun, educational experience, helping with everything from setting up your rod, to selecting flies, to safely releasing your fish.
Craft Brews Inspired by the Outdoors
As you explore the city’s downtown arts and cultural scene, stop by one of Harrisonburg’s five craft breweries or cidery. These beloved local establishments have a strong tradition of friendly service, exciting events, and award-winning libations. A continually changing tap list and locally sourced ingredients add variety to the flavors you will experience here, with many of them named after some of the area’s most beloved local landmarks. Skyline Falls and Reddish Knob to Sweet Shenandoah and Dry River Reserve pay homage to nearby mountains, rivers and streams.
Each of Harrisonburg’s breweries are within walking distance of each other, making it easy to begin your journey on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Simply pick up a Beerwerks Trail passport at one of the participating breweries, obtain eight stamps, and receive a free t-shirt.
With its hidden gems, friendly, knowledgeable outfitters, and craft breweries, Harrisonburg is your basecamp for adventure! Explore more trails and navigate with our trail guide at visitharrisonburgva.com/trails.