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!
The 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail (A.T.) travels through 14 states on its course from Georgia to Maine. A thru-hike along the length of the A.T. challenges hikers both physically and mentally and is frequently described as “life-changing.” 540 miles of the A.T. wind through Virginia, more than through any other state, and hikers often refer to the infamous “Virginia Blues” – the feeling that they’re not making progress and the state will never end. Appalachian Trail Communities like Waynesboro, Virginia, know how important support and rejuvenation are to the weary hiker.
“We had a great trail magic moment on Mother’s Day when we were hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A local woman brought an amazing spread of sandwiches, pastries, chips, fresh fruit, and drinks to a place where the trail crossed the Parkway. She kept saying, ‘Call your mothers and let them know that there’s another mother out here taking care of you!’ It was so sweet.” ~ Staige Davis and Andrea Parra, thru-hikers
When you make Waynesboro, Virginia, your basecamp for outdoor adventure, you have hundreds of trails and acres of natural goodness to explore. Where to start? For some quiet solitude with Mother Nature, pack a lunch and head to one of these less-traveled fishing holes, scenic vistas, or picnic spots.
Land a Quiet Fishing Hole
Waynesboro’s renowned urban fishery is a destination for anglers around the world. We’re also centrally located for fishing adventures throughout the Shenandoah Valley. For less-traveled fishing holes, pack your hiking boots and head to Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness or the Mill Creek and Coles Run Reservoirs tucked back in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.
Or book a backcountry fly fishing trip with South River Fly Shop, and you’ll experience some of the Shenandoah National Park’s best secluded fishing holes with the benefit of full service guiding and instruction!
Before you head out on the water, you can find the latest information on licenses and regulations at Fish Virginia First.
Base Camp for Autumn Bike Rides in Waynesboro, VA
Helmet…check. Spare tubes…check. Sense of adventure…check. If you’re looking for a bicycling destination that offers a variety of picturesque landscapes and delectable wayside stops, pack your gear and head to the Shenandoah Valley. With Waynesboro, Virginia, as your base camp, you’ll have an abundance of on-road and off-road routes to choose from, taking you everywhere from the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the historic towns nestled below. Start your adventure rested and well-fed with a night at The Iris Inn or Belle Hearth Bed & Breakfast, then spend your day exploring one of these suggestions.
Sample the Fruits (and Grains) of the Valley
This Waynesboro to Nellysford loop will bring you past some of our region’s delicious offerings. There’s something for everyone’s taste. You’ll find stunning wines to match the views at Veritas Vineyard and Winery, the internationally acclaimed craft spirits of Silverback Distillery, and the cold taps at Wild Wolf Brewing Company. Wild Wolf’s farm-to-fork restaurant makes this the perfect rest stop on your tour. Refreshed, pedal south to Flying Fox Vineyard to sample one of their Virginia Vermouths or premium wines. And no Nellysford loop would be complete without a stop at Bold Rock Hard Cider! For an abundance of additional grain, grape, berry, and fruit adult beverage options on your route, be sure to check out this map.
Recreation is a way of life in Waynesboro, Virginia. Residents and visitors to this beautiful Appalachian Trail Community have countless options for enjoying nature year-round. And Waynesboro is proactive in expanding its Outdoor Recreation Network to provide easy, interconnected access to the hundreds of miles of trails, routes, and waterways running through and around the city. Whether you like to walk, bike, run, or paddle, you’re only a step away in Waynesboro!
School may be out, but recess is in! If you’re an outdoor lover, there’s no better place to spend your summer than in Waynesboro, Virginia. We’ve got the peaks, the valleys, the water, and all the good nature your body and spirit crave. Can’t decide where to start? Check out these summer events you won’t want to miss, then pack those hiking boots, bike helmets, or racing shoes and escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains for an adventure-filled getaway!
One of the advantages of living in a modestly sized city like Waynesboro is the abundance of hometown events that pull the community closer together. Often celebrated with regularity each year, these gatherings create space for multiple generations to rub elbows with each other, for a city’s culture to be shaped and maintained, and—inevitably—for adults to cross paths with their former middle school teachers.
May showcases some of Waynesboro’s best hometown charm! From local theater to music on the mountain, Waynesboro strives to make its citizens and visitors feel right at home.
Roller-skating, romance, and retro music—the royal combination for an entertaining stage production! Based on the 1980 movie starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, this Tony Award-winning musical is sure to inspire audiences to dream big. Familiar hits like “Suddenly,” “Strange Magic,” and “Evil Woman” will have both young and old rocking in their seats. And if that’s not enough, each Saturday performance will be followed by a dance party!
May 6, 7:30 a.m.,Downtown Waynesboro
Now in its 24th year, the Blue Ridge Classic Soapbox Derby is a gravity car race that unites children, parents, and grandparents in a collaborative effort. Participants between the ages of 7 and 20 team up with family members and sponsors to create their own derby cars over the course of several months. On May 6, the cars are pitted against each other down the long hill on Main Street. Come out and cheer for the young competitors and their sponsors!
May 6, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Waynesboro Public Library
The Blue Ridge region grows beautiful dogwoods this time of year, but it also grows literary talent. Over 30 published writers from the area will gather at Waynesboro Public Library to showcase their works and autograph title pages. Books will be on sale at the event so that you can support your new favorite writer. Read more about some of the attendees on our blog.
May 6, 1:00-4:00 p.m., Rosenwald Community Center
Meet the neighbors you never knew you had at this block party and potluck featuring fire trucks, inflatable bounce houses, face painting, and local gospel music. Hot dogs and drinks are provided by the City of Waynesboro, and the Rosenwald Community Center will be open for basketball.
May 14, 12:00-4:00 p.m., Coyner Springs Park
Let’s not forget that our community has furry members, too! Coyner Springs, the City’s designated dog park, rolls out the green carpet for your canine companion at an event that places dogs at the center of attention. Have Fido’s caricature made, treat him to a game of Musical Sit, and share lunch from any of the food trucks while you watch a jaw-dropping performance of The Marvelous Mutts. Donations are accepted, and all proceeds benefit Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center.
May 28, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Humpback Rocks Mountain Farm & Visitor Center, Milepost 5.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Not long ago, an Appalachian family might gather with neighbors on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy homespun music and fellowship. The Humpback Rocks Mountain Farm maintains this tradition by offering Sunday afternoon concerts on the farm grounds throughout the summer. May 28 marks the first concert of the season and features the band “Sunny Side.” Bring a lawn chair and a picnic and enjoy the shady trees while relishing authentic bluegrass music.
The hometown events don’t stop in May. Check out our full calendar of events for other celebrations throughout the summer!
On May 14th, treat the mothers in your life to a getaway in Waynesboro, VA. Mother’s Day has roots in the Shenandoah Valley, so there’s no better place to celebrate! Our quaint bed & breakfasts, scenic mountain trails, and farm-to-table dining offer endless opportunities to pamper your loved ones. Explore one of these three delicious pairings or design your own outdoor adventure.
Mother’s Day Group Hike + Basic City Beer Co.
Enjoy some of the best views and brews of our region! This beginner-friendly group hike will be led by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and the pros from Waynesboro’s Rockfish Gap Outfitters. This casual and guided hike will lead you to the summit of Turk Mountain in Shenandoah National Park where you can snap some photos with Mom. After a morning on the trail, the group will convene at Basic City Beer Co. where you can recharge with a refreshing hibiscus infused lager or Dry Town Nitro Coffee.
Brunch at Veritas Vineyard & Winery + Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
Veritas Vineyard & Winery knows how to celebrate. With a wine-paired menu that includes the phrases “blackberry reduction”, “duck confit”, “rosemary tuile”, and “lemon creme”, this will be a Mother’s Day Brunch to remember. If a four-course meal specially prepared for you and set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge sounds like bliss… make those reservations today!
Keep the zen flowing with an afternoon on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.
The Thomas Jefferson Loop is a must for visitors to Waynesboro. Along this loop’s mountaintops, forests, and wetlands are a treasure trove of wildlife and birding opportunities.
Wildflowers + Brunch along Skyline Drive
Rather than buying Mom a vase of flowers, give her 150 miles of wildflowers! There are more than 850 species of flowering plants in nearby Shenandoah National Park, and each wildflower season offers colorful diversity. Meander north along Skyline Drive and dogwood, trillium, azaleas, and pink lady’s slipper are bound to catch your eye.
Make reservations now so that you can pause on your Sunday drive for Mother’s Day Brunch. This annual holiday buffet at Skyland (Skyline Drive mile 41.7 and 42.5) serves panoramic views alongside a mouth-watering selection of appetizers, salads, entrées, and desserts. After brunch, continue along Skyline Drive or check out one of the trails or waterfall hikes on your leisurely way back to Waynesboro.
Another Mom-pleasing idea:
May 14, 1-6pm Wine + Massage at Barren Ridge Vineyards
On Sunday, May 14th, join us for an afternoon of relaxation with your mom! Treat her to our Mother’s Day special for $15: a 10-minute neck-and-shoulder massage with certified massage therapist Mary Kay Heberling, and a glass of wine to enjoy with her family in front of this gorgeous view. No reservations–massages are first come, first served.
One weekend in Waynesboro’s great outdoors and you’ll be hooked. So many trails and so little time! But not to worry… Mom’s birthday will be here before you know it.
One Visit, Two National Parks
This spring, make Waynesboro, VA your destination for outdoor recreation. The city is located just 3 miles from the junction of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the south and Skyline Drive heading north through Shenandoah National Park. You’ll have hundreds of miles of trails to choose from, and with a little planning you can experience two National Parks over one weekend. Continue reading “Spring Hiking in National Parks Near Waynesboro VA”