The Lure of the Outdoors 5 “Ready to Roll” Adventures that Offer Natural Beauty and Easy Access

Late spring is the season of long evening daylight and beckoning weather. Luckily, Waynesboro offers the perfect mountain-town amenities for a sunset jog, a quick afternoon float, or an evening cycle through the Valley. These five adventures promise the mood-boosting benefits of time in nature, while utilizing the accessibility of local parks and backyard trail systems.

(1) Paddle the Waynesboro Water Trail

The Waynesboro Water Trail links five City parks in a four-mile run that includes a mix of Class I and II rapids, wilderness-level solitude, industrial skylines, and downtown take outs. With its surprising views into many unexpected corners of Waynesboro, it’s a unique way of exploring the City while staying cool, shaded, and on the water. Allow 2-3 hours to float the full South River Blueway from Ridgeview Park to Basic Park. A wide diversity of take out options help paddlers break the float into smaller sections or extend their trip to include Grand Caverns Park or the Port Republic confluence with the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Recommended water levels for the South River are 2.75’ to 4’ on the USGS Waynesboro Gauge. Or, check with Rockfish Gap Outfitters for the latest water level updates and deals on local kayak rentals.

(2) Stroll through the Parks

There’s not much more satisfying than a run with man’s best friend through open fields past freshly blooming parklands. Coyner Springs Park offers a rustic 145 acres that include nature trails, a leash-free dog park, kite-flying skies, disc golf, and enough wilderness to offer up frequent sightings of red-tailed hawks, woodpeckers, and foxes.

Joggers, baby strollers, and evening walkers find their riverside delights along the South River Greenway, a mile-long stretch of paved walking and biking surface that includes a river overlook, picnic shelter, and downtown access to after-walk drinks and dinner options.

(3) Cycle the Valley

Follow the South River along the base of Sawmill Ridge and the Blue Ridge Mountains in this evening, 12.5 mile bike ride called the Waynesboro Dooms Loop. For a longer, 35-mile pull, the Waynesboro to Grottoes Loop also hugs the river, offering a tour of the inflection between the Valley bottom and Blue Ridge topography, while still promising some of the flattest roads in Augusta County.

Both loops begin and end in downtown Waynesboro, promising enough in-town, gourmet calories to replenish the toughest ride. Cyclists are welcome along all three of Waynesboro Beerwerks Trail brewery destinations.

(4) Downtown Fly Fishing

The dinner-to-adventure jaunt can be shorter than a bike ride, as the South River’s Urban Trout Fishery offers fly fishing opportunities within a block of the downtown cultural core. Rare is the springtime day that a fisherman can’t be seen wading near the improved trout habitat and rock cascades of Constitution Park. Nearby South River Fly Shop offers equipment, gear, guided tours, and “big fish stories,” including a weekly Ties and Lies night. The South River itself offers spring-fed waters, ripping whitewater, easy parking, and exceptional catch-and-release trout fishing opportunities.

(5) Catch the Perfect Sunset (Sunset Park, Humpback Rocks)

Sunset Park, with sweeping views overlooking all of Waynesboro, remains under construction — but don’t be surprised to find weekly contingents of local mountain bikers building trails and readying its amenities for prime time. Outdoor enthusiasts seeking panoramic views needn’t wait, however. The Humpback Rocks trail system offers granite pinnacles in only one mile of climbing, with spectacular views of the Rockfish and Shenandoah Valleys. Longer excursions to Humpback Mountain (2 miles) and to a developed picnic area (4 miles) allows a choose your own adventure that can fit in an after-work nature-reset or expand to an all-day mountain top excursion.

Humpback Rocks trail includes both blue and white blazes, proof of its intersection with the nation’s “premier hiking path,” the 2,000 mile Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. “Day hikers” may encounter thru-hikers part-way through their adventure, with opportunities to swap stories and marvel that some of the mountains’ most breathtaking destinations are but backyard explorations from Waynesboro.

Waynesboro, VA: The Perfect Day Trip/Getaway from Richmond, VA

Stuck in your Richmond office daydreaming about wide open spaces and cool mountain streams?  Idling in traffic and wishing you were high above it all?  Want to trade in that concrete jungle for a forest path? You’re only 90 minutes away from a rejuvenating getaway.  Hop on I-64 West, set your sights on those Blue Ridge Mountains, and before you’ve finished your playlist, you’ll be in Waynesboro, VA, the playground of the Shenandoah Valley.  Here are 6 reasons to jump in the car this weekend.

Continue reading “Waynesboro, VA: The Perfect Day Trip/Getaway from Richmond, VA”

Waynesboro,VA: An Inspiring Playground for All Ages

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!

Continue reading “Waynesboro,VA: An Inspiring Playground for All Ages”

Four Reasons to Visit the ‘BORO in 2017

1. “B” is for “Brews and Food”

Photo courtesy Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail Facebook Page

The Shenandoah Valley is nationally-renowned for its beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.  But no matter how many trails you hike, bike, and paddle, no visit to Waynesboro would be complete without experiencing the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, and the new Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, featuring 13 microbreweries.

Continue reading “Four Reasons to Visit the ‘BORO in 2017”

Waynesboro VA: A Fishing Destination for the Whole Family

Waynesboro has been called “trout central in the Old Dominion” and aptly so. With the South River flowing through downtown and quality trout fishing available year-round, Waynesboro has become a destination for anglers around the world.

This centrally-located, urban fishery also has an allure for families planning their vacation.  “There’s something here for everyone,” say South River Fly Shop co-owners Tommy Lawhorne and Kevin Little. “Within 30 minutes whatever lodging you want is here,” says Kevin. “From backcountry camping in the National Forest all the way to RV to cabins to B&Bs to hotels. Same thing with food, same thing with culture, mountain biking, paddling, and hiking. And in the middle of that, we have a trout stream that is large enough to be a destination that can support numerous people a day and is year-round viable.” Continue reading “Waynesboro VA: A Fishing Destination for the Whole Family”

#LiveLikeaLocal: R&R on the River

I grew up in Waynesboro in the 1970s, when the manufacturing giant DuPont presided over the city like a godfather. Everyone knew someone who worked at the plant, and the research and development that went on there was a matter of pride for the whole community. The critical but silent partner in DuPont’s success was its water source, the South River, which wound its way gracefully through the city. Because DuPont extended its arms along a one-mile stretch of the river, there were only a handful of places within city limits that the public could enjoy the river’s beauty. Ridgeview Park was one—with its duck population and fun steel bridge—but I don’t recall ever dipping a toe into the water, and I never saw anyone paddling a kayak.

Fast forward to the present day, when access to the South River has changed dramatically. In 1987 DuPont donated riverfront land to create Constitution Park along Main Street, opening up a section of river that had previously been restricted; more recently, Parks Recreation installed an adjoining Greenway Trail for pedestrians; wading areas were developed in Ridgeview Park; fly fishing took off; and festivals lauding the river’s majesty began to sprout up. The river changed from an industrial asset to a tranquil spot for rest and relaxation. Continue reading “#LiveLikeaLocal: R&R on the River”