Trails In and Around Lynchburg, VA
Whether you’re a new student in the area or a seasoned veteran looking for a casual day hike, Lynchburg offers numerous opportunities for your hiking desires. Of course, it is nearly impossible to list every little trail within an hour, but hopefully this list will help you fill your local itinerary when visiting this stunning corner of Virginia.
Trails in Lynchburg, VA
Blackwater Creek Trail via Riverwalk Trail - This 7.4 mile hike is a relatively easy route perfect for a casual stroll along Blackwater Creek offering a number of activities year round. It is fairly commonly used trail amongst the locals because it is so welcoming for dog walkers and families alike. Do note though that the final .75 miles is closed off for construction and you should start at the James Heritage Trail access.
Lynchburg Riverwalk Trail - The Riverwalk Trail is another short but worthy hike to make it onto this list. The 5.8 miles it traverses offers stunning views of the James River and Lynchburg proper. Similar to the Blackwater Creek Trail dogs are allowed on leashes and is a great choice for walkers, bikers, and trail runners of all levels. Perhaps you need a warm up before hitting up a nearby national forest? This is the trail for you!
Trails Near Lynchburg, VA
Cole Mountain via Appalachian Trail: Jefferson National Forest - Cole Mountain easily ranks highly amongst my favorite areas in Jefferson National Forest primarily for its stunning sunrise hikes. I distinctly remember climbing up the path shivering with every step alongside my small group of friends questioning if this was even worth it. For some context, this was one of the coldest nights of February dropping to single digits plus wind chill. The 1490 foot peak was what made the trip though as I could see as far as my frozen glasses would allow. Lynchburg shimmering in the distance was a sight to behold but the clear, starry skies rivaled all the light the world could muster. I sincerely recommend this hike for anyone wishing for a sunrise or sunset hike, but hopefully you choose a warmer month than us.
Little Rocky Row Loop via Appalachian Trail: Jefferson National Forest - I cannot stress how spectacular this trail is in the fall. I promise you that this 11 mile loop will be one of your highlights for the year if you manage to land it at just the right time. From hundreds of feet above you can witness the James River slicing through valleys and the dazzling contrast of the turning trees. It is recommended to walk this trail like an out-and-back though because the final 1.5 miles can be quite tricky and hidden for newer hikers.
Turtle Island Trail: Smith Mountain Lake Region - If mountains aren’t your style then how about lakes? The Turtle Island Trail is a quick 1.2 mile loop that is perfect for all levels of experience especially if you have kids. Additionally, there is a fairly secluded beach there (depending on the time of year) if you wanted a longer trek with nature. I also hear that there are some Geocaches around the area if you’re looking for an added element of intrigue and fun.
If you are looking for a fun snack to bring on the trail with you, you can find a recipe to one of our favorite hiking treats here.
Thanks to UMA volunteer, Alex Kelsey, for contributing to our blog and sharing his favorite local hikes!