The path is up to you. The ending is always the same – pure bliss.
Hiking in Rockbridge County takes any number of paths. From meandering dirt trails through the deep green forest to boulder leaping amidst Devil’s Marbleyard, outdoor enthusiasts agree that the hills and valleys here deliver everything you demand from an outdoor playground.
The most adventurous trail, aptly named Devil’s Marbleyard, is a life-list destination for hikers throughout Virginia. A 1.5-mile stroll on the Belfast Trail drops you at the marbleyard, a field of granite boulders sprawled across a mountain slope near Natural Bridge. Adventurous hikers scramble over the sun-warmed boulders atop this trail, where beauty and geology collide with impressive abandon.
Looking for something steep and unforgiving? That will greet you on the final stretch of trail to the 3,645ft summit of Big House Mountain. But glimpses of the countryside below should ease the burn as you ascend through the trees. A new trail twists up the western slope of Little House Mountain then rolls to an overlook with a fine view of Lexington. If you can’t make it up to the summit, end with a picnic in the Saddle, a meadow between the two peaks. Little House Mountain is Lexington’s patron peak and a familiar site from downtown.
Beauty and adventure are in cahoots in the Rich Hole Wilderness in spring and early summer when rhododendron and mountain laurel bloom beside the Rich Hole Wilderness Trail. Expect creek crossings, rock outcroppings, and small waterfalls along the way. Wildlife spotting is also a highlight, with bears, bobcats, and turkeys checking out the scene. The hiking isn’t as adventurous on the short Laurel Run Trail in Goshen Pass but the rhododendron and mountain laurel blooms will surely earn some “Wows!”
‘Find your feet’ on a few easy-access sections of the Appalachian Trail, running right alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway. The quaint town of Buena Vista takes pride in being an official A.T. community where you may rub shoulders with a few thru-hikers trudging north from Georgia. Deer sightings are almost guaranteed.
So whether you love the peaceful, relaxing trails that barely reach an ascent, or you’re thrilled with the lack of breath that comes from a challenging boulder rumble, Rockbridge County has a trail to match all types.
Learn more about the surrounding cities of Lexington and Buena Vista, both excellent refueling stations after an exhilarating day on the trail!