Whether you are an experienced hiker or just someone who wants a leisurely walk or bike ride in nature, Patrick County, Va. has a trail for you. Get your photos made with the Trail H.A.N.D.S. at The Mayo River Rail Trail, the Reynolds Homestead L.E.A.F. Trail, Mountain Top Park, I.C. DeHart Park, and Dan River Park. There is a 500-pound concrete sculpture at each of these five trails which are painted by local artists.
In the Town of Stuart, the Mayo River Rail Trail offers a 1.8-mile trail that is perfect for walking or bicycling. The trail follows along the Mayo River and is a flat, asphalt surface that runs on the old Danville and Western Railway line. This old railway line was extended from Martinsville to Stuart in 1883 and was later abandoned in 1942.
The Reynolds Homestead’s L.E.A.F. Trail is a 1-mile forested trail that also doubles as an educational tour, teaching about natural resource use and heritage tourism. The name itself is an acronym for “Link to Education About Forests.” It is a self-guided trail with brochures, maps, and other information at a kiosk at the parking lot for the trail.
The trails at I.C. DeHart Park in Woolwine offer an asphalt walking trail along with approximately 15 miles of challenging mountain bike trails. This mountain bike trail system is broken into two sections, the east loop being 8.5 miles long and the west loop being 5.8 miles. Both loops are singletrack and also have smaller loops within them. This trail system hosts the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Virginia State Championships along with the Bootlegger’s Blitz. This trail has been referred to as the best trail you have never heard of, so get here now and discover it for yourself.
Fairy Stone State Park has 11 trails tied together into two trail systems. The Upper Stuart’s Knob Trail is a steep trail but it offers a magnificent view of Fairy Stone Lake. The Whiskey Run Trail loops around the base of Stuart’s Knob and passes by an abandoned iron mine. Take a walk along the Lakeshore Trail which offers great views of the lake and leads to the earth dam where Fairy Stone Lake spills into Philpott Lake. Little Mountain Falls Trail is a steep hike with two overlooks along with dramatic rises and falls as it follows the small stream. There are plenty of other trails in the park to choose from also.
For history buffs, the Laurel Hill hiking trails are located at Confederate cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart’s birthplace in Ararat. Parts of the trails are through the woods and some follow along the old railroad bed for the Mount Airy & Eastern Railroad, commonly referred to as the “Dinky” Railroad.
Some of the most difficult trails are found in Rock Castle Gorge, which is a 1,500-foot ravine located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway stretching down to Rock Castle Creek near Woolwine. It is a 10.8 mile loop that ranges from 1,700 feet to 3,572 feet of elevation. The Lower Rock Castle Creek Trail makes up 4.5 miles of this loop. It follows a gated fire trail alongside Rock Castle Creek. Starting at the lower part of this trail will require an almost 1,100-foot climb in a one-mile stretch of the trail. There is also a primitive camp site on the trail, but it requires a permit that can be picked up from the Rocky Knob Campground, Ranger Station or Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Rock Castle Gorge trail offers outstanding views of the Gorge and the piedmont. There is a rustic shelter where the Appalachian Trail used to pass along this area before being moved west from this location and a few remnants of old homeplaces.
Don’t let the adventure end when you leave the trails. Come into town and get pizza from Leonardo’s Pizzeria & Bistro or stop by Honduras Coffee Shop across Main Street. Stay in some of our small rustic cabins or at the 5-star Primland Resort. Spend some time in Meadows of Dan at Concord Corner Market and shop its collection of high-quality artisan goods or visit Nancy’s Candy Company to satisfy that sweet tooth. Patrick County offers many heart-pounding activities, but also laid-back opportunities to unwind. Come visit us to get and the adrenaline pumping and to recharge.
Cover Photo: Little Mountain Falls Trail at Fairy Stone State Park.
All photos courtesy of Patrick County, Virginia