Four famous hiking trails near Wintergreen
Wintergreen’s hiking trails are well-known and loved, but this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains is full of other mountain and valley paths no less popular. Here are four well-known examples:
Why famous? Really? The A.T. is kind of a big deal. The 2,190 miles long footpath stretches through fourteen states, from Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia. Hiking the Appalachian Trail has been the subject of movies, books, political sex scandals, and music. It’s so popular the trail is under stress.
From Wintergreen: The A.T. once ran through what is now Wintergreen. The current trail runs along Wintergreen’s boundary line near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Go here for a map showing the access point within Wintergreen to the Appalachian Trail. Cross the parkway at Dripping Rock wayside and follow the rocky trail’s white marks for about 20 minutes in the deep woods to visit the impressive vista at “Cedar Cliffs.” Learn more
Why famous? The guidebooks will tell you it is known as the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Crabtree Falls is a dramatic, fun hike. The trail is well maintained. But, as Wintergreen Rescue says, “STAY ON THE TRAIL! The black moss is virtually invisible and incredibly slippery.” One sad reason this great hike is famous: Over 30 people have died here venturing off the trail.
From Wintergreen: Don’t let the warnings scare you away. Simply stay on the trail. There are two ways to get to Crabtree Falls and both are fun backroading routes. You can get to Rt. 56 going south on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Or, take the interesting Wintergreen shortcut from Beech Grove Road to Cub Creek Drive to get over to Rt. 56; turning west will get you the park. In total, you’re there in about 30 minutes. See details here
Why famous? If you want to be famous, it helps that you take a great picture and make others look good. Humpback Rocks appears interesting from the Blue Ridge Parkway, but the huge greenstone outcropping with its extreme view is even more impressive at the top of the climb. Besides the 1.4 mile hike to the view, there a historic mountain farm with National Park Service staffers selling souvenirs and some first-rate books, picnic tables, plus an Appalachian Trail crossing, There is literally something for almost everyone here.
From Wintergreen: From the gatehouse at Wintergreen mountain, go up to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Reed Gap and head north for seven miles. More here
Why famous? Those into butterflies and bluebirds will say these valley trails on or near the Rockfish River are well known well beyond their Nellysford home. Area preschoolers and their parents might tell you there is no better playground and walking trail anywhere on earth than Spruce Creek Park.
From Wintergreen: The best known trailhead is on Route 151 where there is an information kiosk with details about the area, plus a historical marker about horrific damage caused by Hurricane Camille in 1969.