Take a Walk in the Park
While convenient, the technology and living conditions of modern life have widened the gap between humans and nature. Long ago, people spent much more time outside, in tune with the seasons. Physical activity, sunlight, and fresh air are necessary for our lives! Want a wonderful way to relax, get some exercise, improve your mental health, and connect with nature? Grab your dog, your kids, your BFF, or hit the trails solo! Whether you’re out to take photos of spring flowers or to run off some of your family’s energy this is a low-cost, low-stress way to feel good about yourself and make the most of Waynesboro and the surrounding areas.
Where can I walk?
Waynesboro’s South River Greenway is ideal for stretching your legs and enjoying both Waynesboro’s urban and natural scenery. The Greenway follows the South River. It’s flat, and there’s parking at both ends of this paved 1.2-mile trail. Visitors will also find benches, portable toilets, dog bag stations, and educational signs about the area’s history and wildlife. The trail runs through Constitution Park and allows easy access to downtown restaurants and businesses.
Not far away, you’ll find 85-acre Ridgeview Park, which offers greenspace on both sides of the South River. See what’s blooming in the botanical garden, stroll across the footbridge, or explore the nature trails through the woods. There’s also plenty of room to spread out a picnic and watch the kids run and play.
Take your pup for a walk at Coyner Springs Park. There are walking trails, a leash-free dog park, and a 9-hole disc golf course. Coyner Springs Park is also the site of the annual Mad Anthony Mud Run, so those looking for a fitness goal, or dreaming of getting muddy next February can jog around and explore the course.
Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail
Just outside of Waynesboro, hikers can access the western trailhead of the Blue Ridge Tunnel hike. This 4.5-mile out-and-back trail ventures under Afton Mountain through a historic and stabilized railroad tunnel. The tunnel was originally created in the 1850s using only hand tools and black powder. It was the longest tunnel of its kind when it was built. The hike mostly follows the railroad bed, so it’s relatively flat. The tunnel itself stretches for nearly a mile. Bring your light: inside it’s nearly pitch black and there’s no artificial illumination.
Shenandoah National Park
Watch the trees bud and the wildflowers bloom in Shenandoah National Park, one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the country. You’ll find hikes with waterfalls, jaw-dropping views, and chances to see wildlife. Try one of the park’s recommended day hikes like Turk Mountain, Riprap-Wildcat Ridge, Chimney Rock, or Jones Run Falls.
George Washington and Jefferson National Forest
There’s a lot of stellar hiking to be found in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Try the trail system around Sherando Lake or the short, popular climb up to Humpback Rock. The Dobie Mountain hike offers a quiet overlook facing east as well as the chance to see the remains of an old plane wreck. Hikers looking for a longer hikes will like 9-mile Kennedy Ridge Trail and the challenging 13-mile Three Ridges Trail.
Waynesboro is an Appalachian Trail Community, known by thru hikers as one of the friendliest cities along the trail. You may not be prepared to hike the entire 2190 miles, but the sections stretching north and south at Rockfish Gap are well marked and maintained and make for excellent day or section hikes. The trail follows the ridge of the Blue Ridge and parallels the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway and hikers will enjoy many scenic vistas.
Lace up your (comfortable) shoes and hit the trail!