Blue Ridge Mountain Hiking at Wintergreen
It’s hard to find a resort in a more beautiful location than Wintergreen. Being situation high atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wintergreen offers the most spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and The Rockfish and Shenandoah Valleys. We’ve found the best way to discover this beauty is to get out and hike the miles of trails.
Developed and maintained by The Wintergreen Nature Foundation, Wintergreen has over 30 miles of marked hiking trails for you to explore. Guided hikes are offered by The Wintergreen Nature Foundation on Saturdays and during the summer on Wednesdays. Check This Week at Wintergreen for details.
The mountain and valley system of trails at Wintergreen is divided into two types: access trails, perimeter trails. Besides the map and tree blazes, there are signs at intersections with trail name, direction and blaze color.
The trails on the mountain wind around the two mountain peaks that make up what we call Wintergreen – Devils Knob and Blackrock. The perimeter trails circumnavigate the resort with access trails that break off for shorter hikes.
Both mountain and valley trails explore waterfalls and unbroken wilderness. These trails complete the Wintergreen experience of discovering the wide diversity of terrain, natural gardens and animal life.
- Hike at your own risk.
- Do not hike alone
- Do not underestimate the terrain
- Carry drinking water and a snack
- Be aware of wildlife and respect their space
- Wear proper attire, including footwear
- Carry a hiking map at all times
- Stay on marked trails
- Be aware of your limitations
Please leave rocks, plants and other natural objects including cultural and historic structures and artifacts as you find them. Help us keep our native plant heritage intact.
Hiking Guides are available for $3 at the Front Desk or at The Wintergreen Nature Foundation. This guide gives detailed descriptions of each trail, with distance, difficulty and key features to note while hiking. For a flyer with the top three hikes at Wintergreen, click here.
- Yellow Blaze: access trail
- Red Blaze: perimeter trail
- Blue: valley trail
- Easy: generally level terrain, all abilities
- Moderate: Varied terrain, short steep sections
- Difficult: Lengthy steep sections, experienced hikers only.
Winter hiking can be an exhilarating experience. With clear skies and open canopy, views which cannot be seen during warmer months are found. While enjoying winter hiking, it is important to note a few aspects;
- Pay attention to trail blazes
- Dress in layers
- Be aware of icy, leaf covered or wet areas
Trails closed in winter: Blackrock, Brimstone, Cedar Cliffs North, Chestnut Springs, Devils Knob, Loggers Alley (from Mountain Inn to Chestnut Springs access), Old Appalachian Trail (south of Laurel Springs Drive), Pedlars Edge, Pond Hollow (North of Laurel Ridge Loop) Upper Shamokin Gorge Trail.
Wintergreen lies in a section of the Blue Ridge called “Old Appalachia” where rock formations were created by tectonic events and metamorphism approximately 1.1 billion years ago. In a continental collision 250 million years ago, the Alleghenain Orogeny the current mountain range arose. This was accomplished much like pushing the ends of a rug together, producing raised folds in the center. Plant and animal life followed and found their respective niches in this complex system of ridgelines, valleys and rock faces.
Wintergreen’s forest represents what biologists call a temporate hardwood forest bio-community. It represents a portion of one of the most unique and diverse plant communities on the planet.
Within Wintergreen’s forest exist many natural gardens or microhabitats where plant species have adapted themselves to slope direction, altitude and moisture regimes. Many different species of wildlife find shelter in these microhabitats following the designs of plant communities.
The outdoors at Wintergreen is an experience never to be forgotten. Perhaps most exciting is the knowledge that the span of man’s life is but an instant compared to the accomplishments of nature. If the natural wonders we see here could speak, they would hold all mankind captive with their story.
The trail system maintained by The Wintergreen Nature Foundation is an introduction to that story. Please stop by The Nature Foundation at the Trillium House and learn more about the natural wonders where we live.