8/13/17 - Lower humidity this week makes for a great hiking time.Summer is one of our best seasons to enjoy the vast outdoor offerings we have locally. The Chessie Rail to Trails is great 6 mile stroll down the scenic Maury River. Crabtree Falls in the National Forest always comes to mind at this time and it will always energize you as you come face on with the different sets of cascades and falls. Cold Mountain -Old Hotel Trail in the George Washington National Forest is the Vista Hike of the Month. Part of it lies on the Appalachhian Trail, the summitt is the dessert at 4050' above sea level-360 deg view. E-mail any hiking questions please. John.
The Lexington-Rockbridge County and surrounding areas have some of the finest hiking and other outdoor activities in the state of Virginia. Large parts of the forests closeby are state or Federal lands including the George Washington National and Thomas Jefferson National Forests. Most all of the trails are maintained, the Appalachian Trail is only 12-18 miles away.
- Woods Creek Trail - This easy walk is down a very delightful meandering stream and is just a 5 minute trek from the Lodge to reach. Many of our guests like to use it for an early morning jog or walk, you can get 3.5 to 5 miles in this loop. The fun part is you will get to see both college campuses, sight some wildlife and walk back up Main Street getting the lay of the town in the process.
- Chessie Rails to Trails - a very scenic trail 5 minutes drive from the Lodge following the old railroad line down the fast flowing Maury River for 6 miles if you like. Great for wildlife viewing and wildflower study. Se the remnants of the old canal locks made of huge limestone stones. The graveled surface.. makes for great walking year round, cycling is also allowed.
- The Old Hotel Trail or Cold Mountain Hike - within the George Washington National Forest. A 30 minute drive and it gets my highest recommendation for those who like to like challenging mountain hikes with great vistas. The hike is a loop 5.75 of which about 2 miles is done on the Appalachian Trail. Reward factor is the 360 degree view at 4050 ft above sea level. The old rock fences placed up steep grades by the mountain farmers to herd stock will impress you.
- Crabtree Falls - rates at the top of the scale for waterfall hikes, a 45 minute mountain drive into the George Washington National Forest. The hike is up a small mountain stream with many sets of scenic and high energy wasterfalls. These falls as a wholeare the highest East of the Mississippi River, the 2 mile climb up the stream will give you a good workout. Many like to continue past the top to sample the Appalachian Trail.
- Goshen Pass - This area is 20 minutes away on Scenic Rt. 39 and nature does not get any prettier than this magical place. The Maury River cuts its way through a boulder strewn gorge surrounded by beautiful state forests full of mountain laurel and rhododendron. Swimming, tubing,kayaking and canoeing are big in the warmer months. several trails are available, a daily or seasonal permit is required to use the trails but not the area along the River.
- House Mountain Trail -This hike follows an old road up the 2 large tabletop Mountains west of Lexington about 6-7 miles from the Lodge . The moderate to difficult hike takes you into the saddle between the mountains, there are trails above that will take you higher on the 3800 ft above sea level mountain.
- Brown Mountain Creek - This one goes down one of my favorite little Brook trout streams. This one starts about 17 miles East of Lexington on Rt 60 and is actually the Appalachian Trail. Lots of our Lodge guests want just a short sample of the AT and this one is nice little trek. You can do an down and back of 2-4 miles under a nice canopy of trees. The mountain stream always brings back happy memories for me.
- Hike to the Lexington Reservoir - This is a dandy little hike across National Forest to the old City of Lexington 22 acre water supply lake. The Lake is home to some beautiful Brook Trout. Best times to hike this one are Spring and Fall. The trail head is about 25 minutes away off of the Blue Grass Trail.
- Apple Orchard Falls and Cornelius Creek Trails - located in the Jefferson National Forest minutes from the Lodge In Botetourt County. I love walking up the streams coming out of the Blue Ridge Mountains and an added bonus on this 7.5 mile loop part of this trail follows the Appalachian Trail. The Falls are great after wetter periods when water flows are higher.
- Douthat State Park Trail - this system has some really nice vista hikes close to a small mountain lake, mountain bike trails also. 45 minutes away. Some make for excellent mountain biking. A lakeside restaurant is open Spring-Summer and Fall.
- St. Mary Wilderness Area - includes a nice hikeup a rhodendron lined Brookie stream, one trail will take you a popular swimming hole.
- Rich Hole Wilderness Area - a favorite of mine as it follows North Branch in Allegheny County W of Lexington., nice vistas, great scenery and plentiful game sightings.
- Peaks of Otter Trail System - Several different trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway including The Johnson Farm, Sharp Top, Abbott Lake Walk and Fallingwater combine vista, small streams and waterfall hikes. Enjoy a sunset and nice meal at the Peaks of Otter Restaurant.- 50 minutes from the Lodge.