Does anyone else feel like you almost always have to spend money to have fun? It definitely seems that way to me. Want to go to a theme park? Money. Dinner at the new local restaurant? Fork it over. See your favorite band in concert? Cough it up. You get the idea. Unfortunately, in this life, there truly are few things for free. There are activities, however, that require a little less money than the average Fun, and one there is one in particular that is incredibly rewarding and relatively inexpensive. I am speaking, OBVIOUSLY, about hiking.
I am fortunate enough to live in Virginia, a state that is abundant with forests, wildlife, mountains, lakes, rivers, national parks, etc., and we are surrounded by states with equally beautiful and exciting outdoor adventures to be had. There are trails blazed and unblazed to be hiked, through the woods, through the mountains, over rock features, past waterfalls, and much more. But even if you don’t live in Virginia or near it, there are tons of outdoor adventures to be had across the entire country and around the world just begging for you to come and visit. I recently went on an all-day hike to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and the most money I spent was on the gas to get to the park.
If you happen to live in the South or Mid-Atlantic regions of the US, or you’re planning one last vacation before school, here are a few of Virginia’s best trails.
- Spy Rock: Located near Montebello, Virginia, this circuit trail features a waterfall and a beautiful 360° view at the top.
- Humpback Rocks: Located in Waynesboro, Virginia, this tough hike requires a short but steep trek to the top for an incredible view.
- White Oak/Cedar Run: This is the one that I just did with my friend in the Shenandoah National Park. Connected to and surrounded by a plethora of other hiking trails in the park, this particular hike is abundant with beautiful waterfalls, rock features, dense woods, and beautiful plant life. If you complete the full hike, it can take up to eight hours, so plan ahead accordingly with supplies and water. Not overly strenuous, but still a good work out.
- Riprap Hollow Hike Trail: (Not to be confused with Riff Raff Trail, an altogether more cornrowed and terrifying experience) Also located in the Shenandoah National Park in VA, this isolated semi-strenuous hike is one of the best circuits the park has to offer. Includes beautiful views, streams, and a swimming hole.
- Cole/Cold Mountain: I don’t think you’ll have an experience like the movie of the same name, but this mountainous trail has an incredible 360° view at the summit that makes the strenuous hike up completely worth it.
You’ll want to leave in the morning, as early as possible. It’s cooler, and you can have more of your day to utilize for the hike and afterwards. Many of these trails also include camping grounds if you feel like making a stay out of it. Also, in Virginia, we have tons of local breweries. Several of them, such as Midnight Brewery, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co., Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant, and many more, are all located out towards the mountains near where many of these trails are located. If you plan accordingly, and have the money for a beer, you should stop at one on the way back.