The Virginia Outdoors Plan defines a trail as a linear corridor, on land or water, with protected status and public access for recreation or transportation (excluding scenic byways and highways). This definition was adopted from Trails for All Americans, a report developed by the National Park Service and American Trails, a private, non-profit, broad-based trails coalition.
Trails are a major focus for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Virginia State Parks offers more than 500 miles of trails for hiking, running, horseback riding and biking. Virginia’s Natural Area Preserve system offers trails for visitors to observe nature in an undisturbed setting.
The presence of well-maintained trails is a hallmark of a thriving community. Ideally, trails should exist within 15 minutes from most Americans’ homes, according to Trails for All Americans. The links below include a wealth of trail information, from guides to building trails from scratch to updates on some of Virginia’s ongoing trail projects. Click the “Local Trails” link to find new trails to explore.