winter hiking Trails in virginia

WINTER HIKING Trails in virginia and the Quiet Magic of Wintertime

Every season brings a unique beauty to the winter hiking trails in Virginia like the Shenandoah valley, from the gorgeous wildflowers and rushing streams of spring to the stunning foliage blanketing the Blue Ridge Mountains during the fall, but winter hiking in Virginia is equally magical. The heat and humidity of summer, which can make hikes much more strenuous, give way to chillier and more manageable temps, and the trails are wide open and free of the crowds that descend on our area in midsummer. 

Even in the heart of winter, the average highs at our cabins in Virginia are still in the upper 40s, with plenty of sunshine. Views are more open, with bare trees revealing the contours of the Blue Ridge. With the proper layering of clothing and gear (hiking poles and extra traction, like microspikes, can be helpful), the slower winter months are an excellent time to find serenity and escape into the wilderness around Love Ridge.

Steam in the winter
Sherando Lake Sign on the Blue Ridge Parkway - Hiking near Wintergreen Resort.

Shenandoah Summit Views and Wintry Waterfalls

Love Ridge conveniently sits near two of the state’s most iconic hiking destinations, with George Washington National Forest stretching to the south and west and Shenandoah National Park just to the north. Each area offers nearly-endless hiking options (Shenandoah’s boundaries encompass over 200 miles of trails), but for an easy outing with magnificent views at the summit, hike Humpback Rocks. The strenuous one mile hike with 700 feet of elevation gain is worth the arresting views of the Shenandoah Valley.

In the other direction, just 24 miles south, you’ll find one of the most popular day hikes in the region, Crabtree Falls. It’s famous for being the waterfall with the highest vertical drop east of the Mississippi River, with several sections of cascading water. The falls are also surrounded by hardwood forests of oak, maple, and birch, making for lush scenery all along the 2.5-mile loop. The stairs are sturdy, even when muddy, and when there’s snow, it gets packed down, making it an accessible winter hiking trail in Virginia. Unlike the summer months, when this trail is busy from sunrise until sunset, you’ll likely have it to yourself. You may even catch a unique sight: seeing some of the falls frozen over, an equally beautiful wintry counterpart to the rushing waters of spring and summer.

group of women looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains, hiking in Virginia.

Wintergreen – More Than Just Skiing

We are fortunate here at Love Ridge to have preserved wilderness so easily accessible. Even our most developed area, like Wintergreen Resort, is surrounded by trails. Perhaps best known for its ski resort (see our guide for skiing and snowboarding at Wintergreen Resort), Wintergreen is also home to over 6,000 acres and 30 miles of trails. Since 1992, the Nature Foundation at Wintergreen has worked to establish and maintain this extensive trail network, focusing on conservation and education. Visit the Trillium House, where you can pick up a local trail map and chat with their knowledgeable staff, who can recommend the perfect hike. Trails like Allen Creek Preserve, Stoney Creek Park, and Fortunes Ridge Trail are all relatively flat and easy outings, even in winter weather. And if you’re hitting the trails on the weekend, see if you can catch the Saturday morning interpretive “Living with Nature” group hike, where a naturalist will guide you on a 2-hour trek while diving into local ecology, geology, and wildlife.

Book one of our charming cabins and explore our many nearby trails this winter!