Walks and Hikes
Poets, writers and even philosophers have touted the joys of exploring on foot. Poplar Springs sits amid a bounty of fabulous footpaths, nature walks and hiking trails. The biggest challenge is deciding which path to take.
Sky Meadows State Park offers more than 12 miles of hiking trails, including three miles of the Appalachian Trail. Paths range from the easy mile-long Snowden Trail to the steep, rocky and difficult North Ridge Trail.
An entrance to Shenandoah National Park sits about an hour from the inn. The park’s many trails include 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail and one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most popular hikes: Old Rag. Veterans suggest starting the difficult 8.8-mile hike (with tough rock scrambles) early in the morning to beat the crowds. Be prepared for big-time panoramic views.
In springtime, blooming trilliums draw throngs of wildflower fans to the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area, which is also known for its wildlife and birds. A 9.2-mile loop at the reserve covers a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
There are several trails, including a 5-mile climb—moderate to difficult with spectacular views—at Bull Run Mountains State Natural Area Preserve.
A wintertime favorite is the 5.5-mile trail in the Wildcat Mountain Natural Area.
The lakeside C.M. Crockett Park has a 1.5-mile cross-country trail for hiking, biking, jogging and winter skiing.
John Marshall Birthplace Park, which honors Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, offers a pretty .75-mile trail that meanders along a stream. The park is found off Route 28 on Germantown Road (Route 649), just past the railroad tracks (phone: 540-788-4867).