Hike On and Off the Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail | Short & Easy Hiking Trails in Harrisonburg | Short & Easy Hiking Trails Near Harrisonburg
The City of Harrisonburg was designated an Appalachian Trail Community in 2011. Harrisonburg is located just 18 miles West from the Swift Run Gap entrance of the Shenandoah National Park. Harrisonburg has an abundance of offerings for hikers, including local services, guides and gear.
Harrisonburg is a participating Virginia Volkssport Association, offering a variety of hiking trails throughout the city for the entire family.
Directions: Take Port Republic Road from South Main to Eastside HWY(340). Cross 340. Turn left on Browns Gap Road at the T (1.8 miles from 340). Continue on road past hard surface and park near Park gate. Distance from the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitors Center is about 15.4 miles.
Lodging & Gear
Check out this lodging package from Stonewall Jackson Inn Bed & Breakfast that’s for Appalachian Trail Hikers! Concierge service will arrange pick-up from the trail, bring you to the b&b, and also take you to and from local outfitter shops. Take a day or a weekend off the Appalachian Trail to rest in comfort!
Grab the gear you need at Walkabout Outfitters before you hit the trails!
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
“Located only 18 miles to the west of the A.T., Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, Harrisonburg, Virginia is a gateway to some of our country’s true national treasures . . . It’s no wonder why A.T. hikers and visitors love to spend time in Harrisonburg. Nestled in the scenic Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg is a trendy city filled with locally-owned restaurants, museums, art galleries and shops that connect historic downtown Harrisonburg to James Madison University.” – Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Edith J Carrier Arboretum
780 University Blvd. Harrisonburg, VA | 540-568-3194
There are about 2 miles of mostly shaded trails within the Arboretum and adjacent jogging area.
801 Hillandale Ave. Harrisonburg, VA | 540-433-9168
This large park is home to a network of mostly shaded trails good for walking, jogging and biking. An easy 1.3-mile section is located near the parking lot.
41 Monument Ave. Harrisonburg, VA | 540-433-9168
Home to the “Kids Kastle,” Purcell Park also features a 1.5-mile open gravel trail with some uphill sections. There is also a small pond near the trail.
5 Caverns Blvd. Grottoes, VA | 540-249-5705
Grand Caverns offers a loop trail for hiking and biking, partly along South River. The area also has shelters and tables, a children’s play area, and caverns.
Lake Shenandoah at Massanetta Springs
There are about 2 miles of trail around this fishing lake: a good spot for walking your dog and bird watching. Access fee required.
Directions: Take left from Bruce St. onto Mason St. then right at the light on E Market St. (33). Continue out of city to Massanetta Springs Rd. Turn right here and continue to the lake.
Madison Run Fire Road
Shenandoah National Park
Five miles of dirt alongside Madison Run, with a gradual ascent from fire road gate at base of mountain to top at Skyline Drive. This is a good wild flower and wildlife walk. Biking is not allowed. No entrance fee.
Directions: Take Port Republic Rd. from S. Main to Eastside Highway (340). Cross 340. Turn left on Browns Gap Rd. at the T (1.8 miles from 340). Continue on the road past hard surface and park near the Park.
Paul State Forest
About 10 miles southwest of Harrisonburg is a 173-acre state forest of a variety of hardwood species in the middle of pristine farmland, dating back to pre-Civil War days in Ottobine, in Rockingham County. There are approximately 3 miles of a near-level trail through the forest. This forest also harbors a variety of birds and native plant species and is a popular site for geo-caching.
Directions: Drive 3 miles south of Dayton on Hwy 42 South. Then take Highway 257 west, turn right on Route 613 at the Ottobine General Store, and park at the Paul State Forest entrance just up the road on the right.
Trail to Scenic Overlook
Cliff Trail, Hone Quarry, VA
This spectacular viewing point is on Cliff Trail, Hone Quarry Recreation Area, George Washington National Forest. The trail is rocky and steep in places, but only about 1/2-mile long, and leads you to a photogenic rock ledge overlook.
Directions: Take Martin Luther King Jr. Way (formerly Cantrell Ave.) to S High St (42). Turn left. In Dayton turn right at 3rd light onto multi-curved 257 going west. Entrance to Hone Quarry is just beyond the George Washington National Forest sign. Parking area is one mile inside the recreation area.
Bank St. Bridgewater, VA
Wildwood Park is home to a 2/3-mile loop through wooded area along North River, as well as a scenic dam with spillway, a suspension bridge, a picnic shelter, tables and a play area.
Directions: Take Martin Luther King Jr. Way (formerly Cantrell Ave.) to S. High St. (42). Turn left. Continue to Bridgewater. Turn right onto Bank St., just before the North River bridge, then left at the end of Bank St. Park near shelter.