Discover Less-Traveled Hiking Trails in the Valley

Reservoir Hollow Trail

reservoir hollow trail

Elliot Knob

elliot knob

Seven Arrows Brewing

seven arrows brewing

Madison Run Fire Road

Madison Run Fire Road

Edith J Carrier Arboretum

Edith J Carrier Arboretum

Riven Rock Park

riven rock park

Tanner's Ridge Road

tanners ridge road

Knob Mountain

knob mountain virginia

Hazel River Falls

hazel river falls

Seven Bends State Park

seven bends state park

Woodstock Cafe

Woodstock Cafe

Laurel Run/Stack Rocks Circuit

Laurel Run Trail Virginia

Tuscarora Trail

Tuscarora trail

With more people heading outdoors to get their weekly dose of fresh air, you might find your favorite hiking trails getting crowded.

 

If you are looking for a change of scenery or simply hoping to avoid the crowds, here is a list of less-traveled yet incredible hiking trails in the Shenandoah Valley to explore. This guide will take more than a single weekend to complete, so you’ll need to keep coming back for more until you check off each one of these hidden treasures. They are organized by region, so if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can knock out a few in one trip!

 

Southern Shenandoah Valley

Lexington/Rockbridge and Augusta County

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Reservoir Hollow Trail Image Courtesy of AllTrails

The 8-mile  total out and back Reservoir Hollow Trail (Buena Vista) is great for a nice and easy hike through nature. From fun stream crossings to spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, fellow hikers only have good things to say about their experience.

 

Bonus: Dogs are allowed on the trail (leashed) too! 

 

A mere 50-minute drive from the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, is Elliot Knob, one of the highest peaks in Virginia. Featuring two waterfalls and great panoramic and summit views, it is definitely a trip worth taking! Make sure you set aside at least 6 hours to explore this 8.5-mile trail.

 

QUICK TIP

Head over to Seven Arrows post-hike for a cool pint and crispy fried wings. You have most definitely earned it!

Mid Shenandoah Valley

Luray/Page County and City of Harrisonburg

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Left: Edith J Carrier Arboretum; Center: Riven Rock Park; Right: Shenandoah National Park

Over 30% of the land or 177,650 acres of Rockingham County is designated as National park or National forest offering numerous opportunities for hiking on or off trail.

 

The Madison Run Fire Road offers five miles of trail alongside Madison Run near Grottoes, VA, with a gradual ascent from fire road gate at base of mountain to top at Skyline Drive. There is no entrance fee.

 

For the urban hikers consider The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, a woodland sanctuary on the James Madison University campus in Harrisonburg, is a 125 acre public urban garden and forested greenspace with 100+ year old oaks and hickories, art and a stone labyrinth for silent meditation.

 

If you’re still looking for more adventure, keep your hiking shoes on and venture to the edge of the George Washington Forest to enjoy Harrisonburg’s Riven Rock Park and an easy hike along a lovely stream. 

 

The nearby Shenandoah National Park has an abundance of hiking trails best suited to avoid large crowds. Choose from eight lesser-known trails where you can enjoy some peace and quiet as you commune with nature.

 

For beginners, there is the 2.1-mile Tanner’s Ridge Road segment of the Appalachian Trail which has minimal elevation and is a relatively comfortable hike clocking in at 1.5 hours. 

 

QUICK TIP

Looking for something more? Both the 6-mile Knob Mountain and 5.3-mile Hazel River Falls trails are a challenge with > 1000 ft elevation, but reward you with amazing views around picturesque streams and waterfalls.

Northern Shenandoah Valley

Winchester and Shenandoah County

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Left: Seven Bends State Park; Right: Tuscarora Trail

Seven Bends State Park recently opened up the public in late 2019 and is still a hidden gem! Pick from 8 different trails to explore. The 1- mile Eagles Edge Trail and 1.7-mile Gokotta Trail are great for beginners looking for an easy stroll amidst pleasant water views.

 

QUICK TIP

Seven Bends is just 10 minutes away from Woodstock where you can find a cozy café (like the Woodstock Café) or drinking spot to rest and refuel.

 

If you are a new hiking enthusiast, you probably haven’t heard of the 250-mile long Tuscarora Trail that runs through Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania yet! It is the ultimate hike to experience wilderness, pastures, challenging mountainous regions, fall foliage, and incredible valley vistas. 

 

While the full 250-mile trail is obviously a bit more than a weekend undertaking, there are plenty of mini trail sections that you can explore at your own leisurely pace. Just find one that suits you best!

 

 

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