Appalachian Trail - A public footpath that runs across the
Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia. A portion of the trail
crosses through Rockbridge County. The easiest access to the trail
is via Rt. 60 East into Amherst County to Long Mountain Wayside (9
miles East of Buena Vista). The trail crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway
at milepost 53. Moderate to Difficult.
Blue Ridge Parkway Trails - The Rt. 60 east entrance is at
Whetstone Ridge Trail - Milepost 29 on the Parkway. A 12 mile US
Forest Service managed trail starting at Whetstone Ridge Visitor
Center. Trail runs directly along the spine of the ridge for 8
miles of breathtaking views. Moderate.
Boston Knob - Milepost 38.8 on the Parkway. A leg stretching
walk only .10 mile in length. Easy.
Otter Creek - Milepost 63.1 on the Parkway. A pleasant 0.8 mile
loop trail through the forest overlooking Otter Lake. Easy.
Yankee Horse Trail - Milepost 34.4 on the Parkway. A short 0.2
mile walk to a small waterfall overlooking a reconstructed
logging railroad from the early 1900's. Moderate.
Indian Rocks - Milepost 47.5 on the Parkway. A 0.3 mile walk
through the woods to spectacular rock formations. Good choice
for children because of the short walk and rocks to climb on.
White Oak Flats - Milepost 55.2 on the Parkway. Length is 0.1
Brushy Hills Hike - Former logging roads make pleasant trails
for exploring the 560 forested acres owned by the City of Lexington.
To reach the trails from Lexington follow Rt. 251west. Turn right on
Union Run Road. Follow Union Run Road for approximately 2.5 miles
until you reach the Town Spring, a low stone building on the right.
The trailhead begins at the Town Spring. Moderate.
Buena Vista River Walk - Completed in 1997, well-maintained
walking/ running trail with magnificent views of the Maury River and
surrounding wildlife. Benches are located along the trail to relax
and enjoy scenery. Parking located off 21st Street across the
railroad tracks on the left or off 10th Street across the railroad
tracks on the right. 2.5 miles one way. Easy.
Chessie Nature Trail - A 6 mile rails-to-trails hike along a
former railroad bed of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, now owned and
managed by Virginia Military Institute. Lots of wildlife, wildflowers and
limestone formations to enjoy along the scenic Maury River. Access
from Lexington (Rt. 11 to Rt. 631 east on Old Buena Vista Road 1/2
mile to parking on left) or from Buena Vista (Rt. 60 west to Rt. 608
at the east end of the Russell Robey Bridge). Pedestrians only.
Glen Maury Park - In Buena Vista, 10th Street off Magnolia
Avenue, (US 501 near the southern city limits) Level trail
(unmarked) from the park office along an old road to the Paxton
House (c.1834). Cross in front of the old house to a dirt road
alongside the Maury River. The trail ends at rocky bluffs
overlooking the river. Easy.
Goshen Pass- Nature's finest in Virginia, easy to enjoy from
your car as you pass through this magnificent unspoiled rocky gorge
where the Maury River rushes through. Great place for a picnic or
refreshing walk along the river. Rt. 39 west of intersection with
Rt. 11. Travel about 12 miles and you will enter the Pass. All
Historic Lexington Walking Tour - Begins at the Lexington
Visitor Center with several tour options ranging from .08 mile to a
little over 3 miles. Enjoy tree-lined streets, beautiful old homes,
college campuses, museums and a vibrant downtown area. Walking tour
maps are available at the Lexington Visitor Center. Easy.
House Mountain - A prominent Rockbridge County landmark, five
miles west of Lexington. The mountain consists of two peaks with
gentle meadowland between called ''the saddle.'' Once a pasture and
apple orchard, the saddle looks up at the cliffs of Big House
Mountain to the west (3,645 feet) and Little House Mountain to the
East (3,386 feet). To reach the trails from Lexington, take Rt. 60
west 2 miles. Turn left on Jacktown Road (Rt. 641), continue 3.5
miles. Turn right on Saddle Ridge Rd., 1/4 mile to the end of state
maintenance and park. Do not block the entrances. As you begin the
walk, bear right at the first fork in the road to reach the saddle,
which is located 2 miles from the parking area. There is a white
gate and information board here. The hike is moderate to the saddle.
The hike to Big House Mountain to the west is difficult.
James River Face Wilderness Area - 9,000 acre area known for
diversity of plant and animal life and well-maintained trail system.
Elevations range from 650 ft. to 3,073 ft. Six trails are contained
within the area including a nice section of the Appalachian Trail. A
must see is Devil’s Marbleyard, an unusual boulder field with
excellent views about 1.5 miles up Belfast Trail. To reach the
trails from Lexington take I-81 south. Take exit #180 and follow Rt.
11 south to Natural Bridge. Take Rt. 130 east for 3 miles. Turn
right on Rt. 759 for 3 miles and then turn left on Rt. 781. Belfast
trailhead is 1.5 miles on left. Continue on FS 35 at the end of Rt.
781 to reach trailheads for Sulfur Springs Trail and the Appalachian
Jump Mountain Trail - A challenging 5.6 mile hike with a
climb to the top of Jump Mountain with great views. To reach the
trail from Lexington take Rt. 39 west for 15.5 miles. Turn right on
a dirt road that is not marked, but is located at the upper end of
Goshen Pass. Park at the lot located beside the swinging bridge.
Walk over the bridge and turn left, then follow the signs.
Difficult. Special note: Hunters use this trail during hunting
seasons. Please check with the VA Department of Game & Inland
Fisheries if you have any questions to insure a safe trip (804)
Lake Robertson Trail System - Eight different hiking trails
ranging from 1 to 1.75 miles in length that surround a 31 acre
fishing lake with campground, picnic shelters, swimming pool, bath
house, playing fields, tennis and volleyball courts. To reach the
trails from Lexington take Rt. 11 south to Rt. 251 east. Turn right
on County 770 (Turnpike Road) to main entrance. Easy to moderate.
Laurel Run Trail - In the heart of Goshen Pass, this trail
makes for a good hike along a beautiful small native trout stream.
Nice waterfalls, and seasonal rhododendron and mountain laurel
displays makes this 3 mile round trip hike most enjoyable. To reach
the trail from Lexington follow Rt. 39 west to Goshen Pass. The
trailhead is approximately 1/4 mile east of the picnic area.
Moderate. Special note: Hunters use the trail during hunting
seasons. The best time to hike this trail is when the trailhead is
gated. Please check with the VA Department of Game & Inland
Fisheries if you have any questions to insure a safe trip. (804)
Locher Tract - Site of an old family farm, the U.S. Forest
Service now maintains the area for wildlife watching. Look for
beaver, deer, herons, quail, turkey and more. It is an easy 1 mile
loop along the James River past a grassy opening, through piny woods
and around an active beaver swamp. Balcony Falls Trail, a 4 mile
moderately difficult hike that is part of the James River Face
Wilderness trail system, also originates here. To reach the trails
from Lexington take I-81 south. Take exit #180 and follow Rt. 11
south to Natural Bridge. Take Rt. 130 east for 3 miles. Turn right
on Rt. 759. Turn left after the river on Rt. 782. The trailhead is
at the end of the road.
Moore’s Creek Dam - (Lexington City Reservoir) This hike
takes you through beautiful National forests 2.3 miles to the old
city water supply, a 22 acre pristine lake owned by the City of
Lexington. Colorful Brook Trout may be found in the lake. This
remote walk usually provides lots of wildlife sightings. Located 19
miles southwest of Lexington. Follow Rt.11 south to Rt. 251 south,
5.2 miles straight onto Rt. 677, to Rt. 612 (Blue Grass Trail).
Becomes gravel go 1.9 miles and turn right at Lexington City
Reservoir sign. Go 1.1 miles, park near gate. Head down road .2
mile, turn right at fishing access sign.
Natural Bridge Cedar Creek Trail - Trail follows Cedar Creek
beneath the Natural Bridge, one of Virginia’s most cherished natural
wonders. Past the bridge is the opening to Saltpeter Cave. Travel
over a footbridge that brings you to Hemlock Grove where arbutus,
rhododendron and wake robin bloom in the spring. Nearby is an
underground stream called the Lost River. Finally, the trail ends at
Lace Waterfalls, where Cedar Creek sprays down over the rocks for 50
feet. Admission to the Natural Bridge is required for this hike.
North Mountain Highlands Scenic Tour - This driving tour
includes many short-circuit hiking trails atop North Mountain to
stretch your legs and enjoy views of the Allegheny and Blue Ridge
Mountains. The Rhododendron Trail is wheel chair accessible at stop
#3. Stop #5 gives you the chance to climb about 5 minutes up to
Cocke's Comb, an unusual rock formation. Use caution in enjoying
this area. Stop #6 takes you the North Mountain Overlook. To reach
the trails from Lexington take I-64 west to exit #43; turn left off
the ramp, go straight to FDR 447. Upon entering there is a kiosk on
the right with a map.
North Mountain Trail - Follows the tip of North Mountain in
Rockbridge to the Longdale Recreation area 9.5 miles. This walk
takes you along rock outcroppings and cliffs, nice views of Lake
Robertson and the Lexington area. Requires two cars or can be done
as an out and back for just a few miles on the mountaintop. Can be
reached by taking I-64 West of Lexington to Exit #43, turn left on
ramp, straight onto FDR 447, 6.7 miles to parking area at
intersection of Rt. 770 and FDR 447. Difficult.
Rich Hole Wilderness Area - 6,450 acres located 18 miles west
of Lexington on Rt. 850 (off Rt. 60 west). Upper Rich Hole Trail
Head located just across the Rockbridge County Line at the top of
the mountain with a parking lot on your right. There is a kiosk with
area map. Best if two cars are used to save a walk back up Rt. 850.
The trail is also accessed off FS108 on down SR 850 west 3.6 miles
on right. Park and walk 1.5 mile to lower trail head. There are 15
creek crossings over North Creek, a 6' wide native trout stream, and
there are some nice views and abundant wildlife. 5.8 miles long one
way. Moderate to Difficult.
Volkssport Association Sanctioned Walk - A year-round walking
event through Lexington’s Historic downtown district, residential
district and the Woods Creek Trail. Walk begins at the Lexington
Visitor Center, 106 E. Washington Street. 6 miles in length round
Wildcat Mountain Trail - Loops from the camping area at Cave
Mountain Lake climbing 2700 feet on Wildcat Mountain. The trail is
four miles over rough terrain. To reach the trail from Lexington,
follow Rt. 11 South to Rt. 130 east. Turn right on Rt. 759. Turn
right on Rt. 781. Difficult.
Woods Creek Trail - Located inside the Lexington City Limits,
this well-maintained trail is a nice 3-4 mile roundtrip jog or hike
along a scenic shaded stream. From Main Street turn right on Jordan
Street. Waddell Elementary School will be 5 blocks west on the left.
Park at the school. The trail is behind the school. Easy.