Four Favorite Hikes for Spring Blooms in Lexington and Rockbridge County
By Casey Higgins, Freelance Writer
Spring is a beautiful season in Lexington and Rockbridge County. As the temperatures warm, the trees bud and the flowers burst with beautiful new blooms. Soak in the warm sun, bird watch, and enjoy all of the natural wonders that surround our four favorite hikes for spring blooms.
1. Laurel Run Trail is a 2.8-mile out-and-back stroll within the Goshen Wildlife Management Area and adjacent to the Maury River near Goshen Pass. The Maury is a native trout stream that is not only popular with fishermen, but with kayakers in spring and swimmers in summer. Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron bloom late April through June and put on quite a show. Watch for Witch Hazel from May to June.
While you’re in the vicinity, pack your lunch and check out the giant boulders at the Goshen Pass pavilion. A few miles farther and on the right is the entrance to the Goshen Pass Trailhead and a swinging bridge. You’d be remiss to skip this photo opp!
Because Laurel Run Trail is within the Goshen Wildlife Management Area, Virginia Department of Games and Inland Fisheries requires a daily access permit for those 17 and older who are entering without a valid Virginia hunting, freshwater fishing or trapping license, or possess a current Virginia boat registration. Learn More or Buy a Permit
2. The Chessie Trail is a favorite for locals and is easily accessible from downtown Lexington and the City of Buena Vista. Seven miles one way isn’t so bad when it’s all flat and the Maury River is a constant companion. The Chessie occupies and gets its name from the old Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad bed, and you’ll see relics of the river’s past as a major canal. There are at least 43 species of mammals along the trail, and sections of wildflowers that make the already beautiful walk even more delightful. Between March and June you’ll easily spot the bluish-purple Virginia Bluebells. From April to June watch for Fire Pink - a bright, unmistakable five-petal beauty that flames more scarlet than pink – and Columbine – a lovely red and yellow, five-petal, curvy darling.
3. Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden is a family-friendly destination, but also a place of solitude. Consider it a sanctuary to stroll through, as the mile-or-less trail will surely take you a while as you weave through a variety of habitats and natural gardens. Frogs, turtles, and deer are common observances, and now that spring has sprung, butterflies will also be fluttering about for the blooms. Rhododendron and Azalea add pops of color for nature photography and enjoyment. Keep an eye peeled for Trillium, Virginia Bluebells, and ferns, too.
4. For the most adventurous of spring hikers we recommend Whetstone Ridge Trail. At about 12 miles one way, this trail has big elevation gains and losses, but the payoffs are the views along the way. Bright Flame Azalea is the most common “wildflowers” you’ll find along Whetstone. This is a popular singletrack on the Virginia Mountain Biking Trail, so keep an eye ahead to avoid a collision.
As you make your way along the trails of Rockbridge County, be sure to capture the beautiful moments you encounter and share them on social media. Tag us on Instagram or share to our Facebook page and we'll re-share our favorites!