Here are a few ideas for treks that will make your kids want to go again and again!
The Shenandoah National Park is one of the best hiking destinations in Virginia. With more than 350 miles of trails and a trail system that stretches into North Carolina, it's not hard to find something for everyone. If you're looking for a little adventure with your family this fall, here are some of our favorite hikes that will keep everyone entertained:
1. Appalachian Trail - Tanners Ridge Road
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is one of the most popular hiking trails in America, with more than two million hikers per year making their way along its 2,200-mile length. Follow the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) north through a former farm starting at the Milam Gap parking lot (52.8 miles). The AT is roughly a mile away and crosses over Tanners Ridge Road. From here, retrace your steps back to your starting point.
The Tanners Ridge Road hike is a relatively short but beautiful walk that takes you through mature forests and a historic homestead where you can learn about living conditions during pioneer times. This hike is great for younger kids who may not be old enough to tackle longer hikes on their own yet; it’s also ideal if you want an easy family outing while still getting some exercise! There are no reservations required or activity fees associated with this hike—just bring water, snacks, and sunscreen along with you!
2. Blackrock Summit
Blackrock Summit is a self-guided hike that takes you to the top of a rocky talus slope with incredible views of the Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten Mountain, and beyond.
The trail begins at the Blackrock Parking Lot (mile 84.4), which is accessible year-round but gets very busy on weekends during peak season so make sure it's open before heading out! Follow the Appalachian Trail southward from here around an incline until you reach this area where there are numerous boulders scattered across its surface along with signs informing hikers about these interesting features as well as other local points of interest.
3. Fort Windham Rocks
An intriguing geological formation is what makes this hike unique! With deeply split rocks soaring 50 feet above the ground, this short hike will surely make your kids say wow!
Follow the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) north of the Compton Gap Parking Area (mile 10.4). Turn left at the intersection of the Dickey Ridge Trail. Look for Fort Windham Rocks on the right after approximately 300 yards. Follow the same route back to the parking lot.
4. Lands Run Falls
Lands Run Falls is one of Shenandoah National Park's most popular hiking destinations. To reach a set of cascades that drop roughly 80 feet into a canyon, you must take a little stroll down a fire road.
Look for a little brook that runs beneath the road after 0.6 miles of following the fire road downhill from the Lands Run parking lot (mile 9.2) (it may be waterless in dry conditions). To reach the top of a tiny waterfall, follow the stream for approximately 25 feet to the right. A gorge is reached after a sequence of waterfalls that drop around 80 feet. It's a lovely spot to explore, but be careful around the falls and in the rocky, sloping portions. Retrace your steps back to the parking lot by turning around.
5. Millers Head
Millers Head is a hike that’s easy to access, but also offers some breathtaking views. The trailhead is located at Mile 42.5, where you will find signs pointing you in the right direction and giving info on how to get there. Follow this path all the way up until it opens up into a beautiful view of Shenandoah National Park from over 450 feet above sea level!
If you want an easy hike with lots of wildlife-watching opportunities, then Millers Head is perfect for your family no matter what age group they are or their fitness levels may be! The only challenging part about this trail is reaching the top; once there though it becomes much easier as you follow this path to reach a breathtaking vantage point at the location of an old fire tower. To get there, take the Millers Head Trail to a viewpoint from the trailhead located right above the Skyland amphitheater.