Wondering what to do with a lazy Saturday? Want to see some of the best views in Virginia? The Shenandoah Mountains are notorious for their serene and untouched beauty. All within an hour drive, these hikes are sure to take your breath away. I can’t think of a better way to destress for exam week or to simply find a calm state of mind than to immerse yourself in nature. JMU is perfectly located in the valley of some of the most spectacular mountains on the east coast. Take advantage of this natural beauty whenever there’s nice weather! Here are a few of JMU’s favorite hikes.
1. Big Schloss
An intermediate hike, not too difficult but spectacular vantage points at the top! Big Schloss is just under an hour away, and the trip to the top is so worth it. Also, if you wake up early enough, you can get back and still have time to enjoy your evening!
2. High Knob
This is a relatively strenuous way to the top, (especially in the snow), but there’s a unique view of the West Virginia-Virginia border. There’s also a historic cabin viewpoint at the peak. This hike is a must!
3. Old Rag
In my opinion, Old Rag is quite difficult. It’s 7-hours round trip… you start on the bottom of the mountain and work your way to a rock scramble, then reach your way to the top. This hike is not easy, but is definitely the most rewarding. Old Rag has the most amazing views, and if you’re looking for the best hike to see the Shenandoah, this is what you’re looking for!
4. White Oak Canyon
White Oak Canyon has no amazing views, but when it’s warm outside, this has to be the most thrilling adventure around VA. Right off Skyline Drive, this hike has a massive waterfall where you can slide down right into a natural pool. This is the most fun I have ever had while hiking in Virginia! Here’s a picture of my friend going down the slide… It looks dangerous, but it’s really not THAT bad.
Don’t miss the opportunities to explore the wondrous nature around JMU! For more information on hiking trips around Harrisonburg, where to rent outdoor equipment, and fun nature outings, visit UREC Adventure at https://www.jmu.edu/recreation/adventure/index.shtml