April is for CAMPING!

April 7, 2023

Written by Mike Ellsworth, Director of Outdoor Recreation

It finally feels like spring!  The weather is getting warmer and the campsite is calling!  At Outdoor Recreation, we want to help everyone get outside. We truly believe that nature can provide a special peace and rest from the day-to-day grinding. It can be an immersive experience that helps you cope with the stress and anxiety that often comes with the college experience. We also know that it can be intimidating for beginners and hard to plan even for the experienced camper. So, we’ve got lots of options to make it easier.

Camp with us

If you are new to camping and don’t know where to go, let us do the planning. Each spring we take a trip to Grayson Highlands State Park. This Virginia State Park provides excellent camping and unforgettable experiences within the Mount Rogers area. Mount Rogers is Virginia’s highest peak and the park provides beautiful mountain trails, waterfalls and “alpine-like” overlooks. The park also contains within its boundaries one of the last remaining herds of wild horses in the nation.

We provide the food, gear, travel and the experiences! All you need to do is show up and we will do the rest. Our staff will work alongside you and help you pitch your tent, cook the meals and even build the campfire. The days will be full of hiking as we explore the nearby Appalachian Trail, VA Horse Trail, and Mount Rogers’ peak.

Camp on your own

If you feel like planning your trip, but just need some gear; we’ve still got you covered!  The Hydaway Outdoor Center rents out sleeping bags, tents and backpacks! If you want to get even more adventurous, check out our full list of rental equipment, you’ll see camp stoves, hammocks, canoes and kayaks as well!

Virginia has some outstanding State Parks and National forests for you to explore on your own. You don’t need to travel far to find a nice campsite.  Within an hour of Lynchburg you can camp at North Creek Campground, Cave Mountain Lake Recreational Area or James River State Park! All 3 of these areas provide an easy to reserve campsite and access to water and toilets.

Want something more rugged? The Appalachian Trail is also less than an hour from Lynchburg!  It is easy to spend a night or two on one of the nation’s most renown trails.  The longest foot bridge on the AT is located at the nearby James River Foot Bridge, it can make a great starting point for your adventure.

Or stay close to home!

What if you want something in between those two options? You want a fully independent camping experience, but you don’t want to drive or don’t have a car? Well, Hydaway has 8 campsites right here at Liberty Mountain available for students to reserve. For only $5 you can stay overnight at Hydaway, in the woods, and camp. It’s a great way to try camping for the first time. If things don’t go well or you realize you don’t like the sounds of crickets all night…you can call a good friend for a late-night pickup.

One of our core values in Outdoor Recreation is “Adventure”, we realize that looks different for everyone. That’s why we provide so many diverse opportunities for the LU family. We want to help you find your own outdoor adventure and do whatever we can to remove the hurdles that keep you from intentionally exploring the natural beauty around you.

Happy Camping!