Virginia Summer Adventures Bucketlist

April 29, 2022

Written by Katy Ward, Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventure

It’s getting to be that time…time to make some summer plans! Lucky for you, we are located in a state absolutely full of adventure – there’s something to suit everyone’s fancy! We believe that everyone is capable of venturing out and trying something new. Hopefully, with the help of this list, you will find something that catches your attention and plan your own trip. Let’s jump in!

Devil’s Marbleyard

This hike is an absolute blast! After a short 1-mile hike, you find yourself at the base of an 8-acre rock scramble. From the bottom, you can’t even see the top peak. What makes this adventure fun is you get to pick how you climb, and if you do not feel like climbing there’s a trail that follows the rocks to the top. This climb is the perfect mixture of rock climbing/bouldering, hiking, and sightseeing. It can be as easy or as technical as you want it to be. There are no set paths; you create your path the whole way up! On the way down, you can choose to climb your way back to the trail, or you can take the parallel trail back down.

A couple of notes:

  • There is limited parking here, so be prepared for a little bit of a walk to the trailhead, especially on weekends.
  • In the warmer months, be sure to watch out for snakes as you are climbing. They tend to seek shelter in the shade of the rocks. Nothing to scare you away; just use caution as you go.
  • The trail that follows the rock yard is steep both ways. Be careful, especially when coming back down.

The Tye River

This is one of the lesser-known rivers in Virginia, as it is mostly surrounded by private properties. However, there are a couple of public access points where you can park and get ready for the river! Stretching 34 miles, the Tye River has a little something for everyone. Fly fishing, bird watching, tubing, swimming holes, kayaking, and canoeing are some of the activities you can enjoy. Kayaking is my personal favorite! This river boasts beautiful scenes winding through the Blue Ridge Mountains until it collides with the James River. With rapids running from Classes I–II+, there are some technical spots that are fun for more advanced water sportsman while not being too difficult for a beginner. The river is not very wide, which makes group trips all the more fun.

Things you should know:

  • There are no designated parking lots, so watch for private property signs as you find a place to park.
  • Make sure you have a shuttle ready to pick you up or drop you off. It is important to think through those logistics with the people in your groups.
  • Please be sure to check local water levels if you intend to boat. The conditions of the river can change in less than 24 hours, so always be sure to check first.
  • Make sure to purchase the proper fishing licenses for boating or fishing.

High Knob Tower

Located in George Washington National Forest, this fire tower is one of only three fire towers in GWNF and makes for the ultimate picnic views. A 2-mile hike up the Shenandoah Mountain leads to the base of the fire tower. This is a pretty simple trip, but the views are unmatched. If you can, try to go on a weekday when it is not as busy. Take a friend and have one of the prettiest picnics you will ever have! You will not regret it.

Make sure to remember:

  • Do not play around at the top of the tower. While it is has rails and safety measures, it is important to watch your steps and use caution.
  • If it is busy, please be respectful of other people and the amount of time you may spend at the top.
  • Sunsets and sunrises are absolutely beautiful, but be sure to remember your headlamps to ensure a safe trip in or out in the dark.

No matter where you choose to adventure this summer, remember to research each location and have a plan. We hope you try something new and if you decide to take any of these trips, let us know at! We love to hear about your stories.