Get Outside! Check Out These Local Hikes

It’s unofficially summer—which means it’s time to leave the glow of fluorescent lights and get outside in the sunshine. For many of us, being out on the trails, on the river, or in the woods is where we experience a sense of peace, perspective, and even an encounter with God. I like to refer to a couple of hours hiking as a “soul scrub;” when I get back to my car, I just feel different. Research has also affirmed the truth that the benefits of time in the woods are not just imagined:

·     Hiking can improve your short-term memory by 20%

·     Spending time in the forest decreases both heart rate and cortisol (stress hormone) 

·     Being outside reduces inflammation in your body

·     Outdoor experiences may help fight anxiety and depression

·     Hiking boosts focus and creativity

The list goes on. Convincing enough?

Maybe it’s time to lace up those boots and go for an adventure! The good news is, you don’t have to venture far. Salem Fields Community Church has a “Happy Trails” hiking group you can join for a hike once a month (email kris@salemfields.com to be added to the list). And if you’re looking to venture outside either solo or with family or friends this summer, check out these four of my favorite nearby hikes:  

 

1. Mott’s Run Reservoir

Address: 6600 River Road, Fredericksburg VA

Open: Thursday through Monday (closed Tues-Wed); FREE

Parking: Plenty by the reservoir where fishing and boating is allowed

Bathrooms: Yes. Nature Center is also open on weekends

Stroller-friendly: No

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate (rolling hills), no obstacles

Trails: 4+ miles of hiking, 4+ miles of mountain bike

For more info:  fredtrails.org

 

2. Quarry Trail

Address: Trail starts outside Virginia Outdoor Center, 3201 Fall Hill Ave, Fredericksburg VA

Open: Daily, Dawn-dusk

Parking: Park in lot or in neighborhood across from Virginia Outdoor Center, where trail access begins down the dirt road

Bathrooms: No

Stroller-friendly: No

Difficulty: Moderate (rolling hills, obstacles, roots)

Trails: 13+

For more info: fredtrails.org

 

3. Rappahannock River Trail/Canal Path

Address: Old Mill Park, 2201 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg VA

Open: Daily

Parking: At Old Mill Park and at numerous access points, since trail is a loop

Bathrooms: At Old Mill Park and porta potty at mile 1.6

Stroller-friendly: Yes

Difficulty: Easy

Trails: 3.3 mile loop

For more info: fredericksburgva.gov

 

4. Caledon State Park

Address: 1617 Caledon Rd., King George, VA (Entry fee: $5 per vehicle)

Open: 8am-dusk

Parking: Yes

Bathrooms: Yes

Stroller-friendly: No

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate/Difficult (depending on the trail)

Trails: 5+ miles (many different loops to choose from)

For more info: dcr.virginia.gov

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