Whether you’re up for a trek through a crystalline cave, a stunning waterfall hike, or a walk through sandy beach dunes, Virginia is home to many of the best and most sought-after outdoor landscapes.
With so much natural beauty, it's not surprising that one of Virginia's many hiking trails made it onto CNN's list of the 23 best hiking trails in the world. The list included treks through mountains in Morroco, ancient pathways in northern Italy, and a Virginia hike that passes by some of the state's most scenic beauty, the Appalachian Trail.
The Appalachian Trail is actually one of the longest hiking-only footpaths in the entire world. The trail begins at Springer Mountain in Georgia and ends along Mt. Katahdin in Maine. This 2,200 trail passes through some of the country's most rural areas and is ideal for those looking to explore unspoiled lands with plenty of peace and solitude.
With so much mileage it can be overwhelming trying to decide which part of the Appalachian Trail to begin with. Thankfully, as this CNN article points out, Virginia is home to the most scenic part of the trail that runs through Shenandoah National Park.
Shenandoah is a scenic mountain haven for avid explorers. With peaks ranging from 4,000 feet to valleys that are 550 feet deep, the elevation diversity at Shenandoah is one of the many reasons this park has such a diverse range of offerings from wildlife to wild lands.
The Appalachian Trail runs for roughly 115 miles throughout the park. Considered a moderately hard trail, the pathway is rugged with rocky climbs and descents, however, this is balanced by a plethora of endless views from the Blue Ridge skyline.
The most scenic part of the trail is found along the hike over The Pinnacle to Marys Rock. This is one of the best and most incredible sections of the trail where you will be able to catch panoramic and expansive views of the park atop the overlook that stands 3,500 feet above the ground.
Considered a moderate hike that takes a few hours to complete, this 3.7-mile out and back trailhead can be found near the back of the Panorama parking area. From there, take the short connector trail to the Appalachian Trail and go left. At the trail post, take a right and follow the markers to the top of the summit. You'll be met with some unforgettable views.