Sometimes the ride is as exhilarating and beautiful as any destination. If you’re looking for sweeping turns, windswept mountain vistas, or country roads to cruise, these bicycle and motorcycle itineraries are sure to inspire.
Pedaling on Pavement
Day Trip Tours from Waynesboro are plentiful. Beginners and family-friendly options include the South River Greenway, stretching from Constitution Park and meandering along the South River, which on Saturday mornings features the Waynesboro Farmers Market. Or stretch a little further with the 12.5 mile Waynesboro-to-Dooms Day Loop, which takes you along the South River as it flows north towards its confluence with the North River. Intermediate riders may love the Waynesboro-to-Grottoes Loop which, over the course of 35 miles, can include a tour of Grand Caverns in the town of Grottoes and passes the renowned horticulturalist André Viette’s extensive perennial garden and nursery on Long Meadow Road. Don’t be shy about exploring other options, as Bike the Valley’s database of On Road rides remains extensive.
Hikers of the Appalachian Trail may be surprised to find Waynesboro on their map twice—once in Virginia and once in Pennsylvania. Both are designated Appalachian Trail Communities (Waynesboro, PA shares its ATC designation with Washington Township and together they go by “Greater Waynesboro Area, PA”). Hikers visiting both locales can expect a warm welcome when they stop to resupply, and visitors taking a faster mode of transportation will be equally charmed by the small-town culture.
Outdoor adventures are fueled by more than good cheer: Great food and delicious hydration all contribute to the perfect day in the woods. From mountain treks to parkway picnics, we’ve paired the flavor of local food with the taste of adventure for every style of outdoor recreation.
Spring is the season where the water is up, the warm weather invites, and the natural world bursts with new possibilities. It’s the season for trout fishing Saturdays, festivals and childhood wonder, and of course lazy river floats. If the season has you feeling as restless as the birds, Waynesboro has a golden suite of river and water adventures perfect for the whole family to celebrate spring.
If that Snuggie you’ve been hiding behind can stand on its own this winter, it’s high time to take your cabin fever for a ride! These surefire cures near Waynesboro, Virginia, will help you get out among the living and experience a fresh, invigorating view.
The Darker Side of the Shenandoah – The Legends & Stories Waiting for You Near Waynesboro, VA
Coming to the Shenandoah Valley for the spring wildflowers and a gentle stroll? This isn’t the trip planner for you. But if you’re looking for a little mystery to go with your outdoor explorations, read on! Like every beautiful place, the Shenandoah Valley is also home to a whole series of legends and stories of a darker nature – sightings and encounters that defy explanation, handed down over generations of adventurers. Here are a few ideas for a walk on the wild side near Waynesboro, VA.
The Dreaded Wampus of the Blue Ridge Mountains
“A piercing scream.” “An awful smell, like a skunk and a wet dog.” “Five feet tall.” “An unholy hybrid of canine and feline.” “It was holding my pal with a hand. Then it hissed and took off – on two legs!”
The dreaded Wampus Cat has been known to stalk the mountains of the South and these very lands for generations. Sure, the illusive Wampus Cat has recently experienced wild popularity as a cutesy mascot and a fantastic beast valued by famous wandmakers. But don’t allow the Wampus Cat’s newfound familiarity to cause you to drop your guard. When you’re exploring these Blue Ridge Mountains, you never know what you’ll find or what will find you. Be sure to follow the cardinal rule – always hike with a buddy!
Built in 1912 as a summer home, the Gatsby-esque mansion is said to be a token of love from James Dooley to his wife Sallie May. The 23,000-square-foot home boasts Gilded Age architecture, Italian marble, 52 rooms, and ornate woodwork. But the highlight is a 4,000 piece-Tiffany Glass window with a likeness of Sallie May herself.
In its early years, Swannanoa enjoyed a short stint as a country club (even hosting President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge for Thanksgiving 1928) and an even shorter stint as a convent. Beginning in 1948, Swannanoa was home for fifty years to Walter Russell’s University of Science and Philosophy, an organization focused on elevating cosmic consciousness in the human race.
Today, Swannanoa Palace makes for a popular wedding and photo shoot venue and a prime setting for paranormal investigations. To experience both the grandeur and the beautiful eeriness that is Swannanoa, keep an eye out for this year’s schedule of historic tours.
Eternal Darkness In the Land of 4000 Caves
All is definitely not as it seems here in the Shenandoah Valley. Something lurks below these majestic mountains and scenic byways. In a state with over 4,000 caves, the Waynesboro area has its share of legends and ghostly tales. Even in a show cave such as Grand Caverns, a few well-placed lights are all that hold the eternal darkness at bay. To experience the thrill and chill of our region’s underworld (and to be ensured to come back safely to tell the tale), contact WILD GUYde Adventures or get down ‘n’ dirty with a trek through Fountain Cave.
“And we’ll hear the dead people talk.”
Wild, delightful, haunting, beautiful, tragic… Shenandoah National Park has been described in a number of ways. To truly appreciate a walk in these woods, explore the complex history and heritage infused in this land. Author Sue Eisenfeld’s writings on the lost communities, relics, and memories of these mountains is a good place to start. Following the wisdom of Tennessee Williams to “hear the dead people talk,” Eisenfeld captures both the thrill and the sadness of coming upon plane wreckage, burial plots, and the remnants of lives lived within Shenandoah. To feel this for yourself, take a hike along South River Falls Trail to the ruins of Pocosin Mission. Sit alone in silence and you might hear the many voices of Shenandoah.
What’s waiting for you in Waynesboro, VA? There’s only one way to find out. But bring a friend…or two.
Toughest Rides, Hikes, and Climbs Near Waynesboro, VA
Think you need to trek out west for extreme outdoor adventures? Think again! Rugged hikes, epic mountain biking, and exhilarating climbs are all just a short drive from the urban bustle of Washington, D.C., Fredericksburg, and Richmond. Base your adventures here in Waynesboro, VA and you’ll be smack in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley with quick access to Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian Trail, and the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountain Ranges.
But hold up, there’s a bonus! Waynesboro has all the stuff you need when you come off the trail – gear repair, great local food, killer craft beer options, to-die-for coffee shops (yes, with wifi!), and friendly locals to answer your questions. We’re an Appalachian Trail Community and the people you meet on the streets of Waynesboro may have just come off the trail themselves! Get their take on the toughest adventures around and add them to this challenge list.
Pumped Up for Bikepacking
Ready to break free from the city and get down to basics? Rack the bike and gun it to the Shenandoah Valley to access the most extreme trail around. Just remember, you’ve been warned: The Virginia Mountain Bike Trail is no joke. It’s a 473-mile epic backcountry expedition along the length of Virginia’s Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountain Ranges. You, your wheels, and your gear need to be at peak performance. Before you even think about launching into the wilderness, spend some time at Rockfish Gap Outfitters in Waynesboro. Whether you’re looking for a tune-up, overhaul, or fresh new wheels and gear, these are the pros you want helping you prep.
Don’t have 10 sick days to allocate to The Virginia Mountain Bike Trail? Take a look instead at the Blue Ridge Wrangler. This challenging 158-mile loop starts and ends near Waynesboro, so it’s readily accessible for a long weekend getaway from the big city.
Into the Wild
The Priest Wilderness is 5,994 acres of rugged beauty in west central Virginia. To summit the Priest is to have conquered what is considered by many to be one of the toughest day hikes on the Appalachian Trail. This is due in part to an unrelenting elevation gain of 3,000 feet in one 4-mile stretch of the trail. As one hiker puts it, this is “the hike that gives you the most bang for your climbing buck in the entire state.”
For another intense workout, check out Three Ridges. It’s another quad-burner, with nearly 4,000 feet in elevation gain. But tackle this hike and you’re rewarded with vista after vista and small waterfalls.
On Top of the World
Looking for exhilaration and the best views around? Then you’ll want to book a rock- or ice-climbing trip with Blue Ridge Mountain Guides. Whether this is your first ascent or you’re a die-hard climber, these instructors can tailor climbs to fit your goals. To share in your glory, rope in a few of your buddies and conquer the mountain (and your fears) together!
So which adventure is calling you? “Schedule” those sick days and get ready to play hard in Waynesboro, Virginia!
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien
If you’re all about the merriment when you travel, Waynesboro, VA is jam-packed with golden opportunities to revel in the pleasures of food and drink. Try one of these weekend craft food and beverage getaways on for size. You won’t believe you haven’t been here sooner!
Find Your Flavor in Waynesboro
What’s your beverage of choice? Pale, stout, red, white, espresso, rye? Even better if you aren’t sure, ‘cause there’s a lot of flavor to sample here in the Shenandoah Valley! And the grains, hops, and fruits are farm-fresh, making every glass something to savor.