Fall is a wonderful time of year to take your dog for walks or hikes. The temperature begins to drop, and the air is cool and crisp. The green leaves of summer begin turning into fall’s beautiful colors of red, orange, and yellow. There are many places available within an hour’s drive to take your dog for an adventurous walk or jog. Before you head out on the trail, though, be sure your dog is current on vaccinations, especially rabies, and is wearing a collar or harness with an ID tag attached. And as a responsible dog owner, remember to bring your leash and poop bags!
There are several public areas to walk your dog right here in Halifax County. The newest spot is the Tobacco Heritage Trail located at the old cotton mill in South Boston, VA. It is a flat trail made of gravel and rock dust. Walkers, runners, horseback riders and bicyclists use this 2.68 mile trail that goes from the cotton mill to the edge of the Berry Hill Plantation along the Dan River. There are ½ mile markers and benches along the way plus a picnic shelter overlooking the bird observation area. For more information or questions, please call Heather Susee at (434) 447-7101.
The Paul C. Edmunds Memorial Park is located on Dan River Church Road in South Boston, VA. The park is open year round and includes a pond, picnic areas, the Serenity Garden, botanical gardens, and a disc golf course. The Woodlands Trail is located near the botanical gardens, or you can walk the 3.1 mile cross country course that starts nears the corn silos. If you want to see what the park has to offer, you can just meander around. Visit www.oldhalifax.com/county/edmundspark.htm for more information.
There are two state parks located in Halifax County. Staunton River Battlefield State Park is located in Clover, VA. There are two trails available for walking your dog. The trail from the Clover Visitor Center is 1 mile long, and has two observation towers for bird watching. The trail from the Staunton River Bridge to Randolph is 0.8 mile long. It has two pedestrian bridges built on the original stone railroad piers. For more information, call (434) 454-4312, or visit www.stauntonriverbattlefield.org.
The other state park is Staunton River State Park located in Scottsburg, VA. The main walking trail in the park is the River Bank Trail which is an 8.5 mile loop around the perimeter of the park. It is a multi-use trail for walkers, runners, horseback riders, and mountain bikes. The trail is mostly shaded with bridges, benches, and views of the river. There are several other trails that branch off of the main trail that vary in distances. There is a trail map available at the park or at www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/staunton-river.shtml. You can also call (434) 572-4623 for more information.
Just a short distance away is Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville, VA. It is located right on Buggs Island Lake just outside the town limits. These dirt trails are multi-use for walkers, runners, horseback riders and bicyclists. The longest trail is the Panhandle Trail which is 7.5 miles long. There are several shorter trails throughout the park and campground areas. Visits www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/occoneechee.shtml for more information. You can also call (434) 374-2210.
If you want to take a short road trip with your dog, Danville and Lynchburg offer some nice trails. On the way to Danville at Ringgold, VA, you will find the Richmond & Danville Rail-Trail. The trail has the same concept as the Tobacco Heritage Trail because it was built on an old railroad bed. The Ringgold Trail is a multi-use trail for walkers, runners, horseback riders, and bicyclists that is 5.5 miles long and is made with crushed stone. Along the way, there is a tunnel and a long bridge overlooking a marsh area. The most used trailhead is the old Ringgold Depot located on Ringgold Depot Road. The trail ends at Kerns Church Road in Sutherlin, VA.
The City of Danville has the beautiful Riverwalk Trail and Angler’s Park trail system. The Riverwalk is paved and runs alongside the Dan River offering nice views of the river. It is a multi-use trail that has trailheads at Crossing at the Dan, Dan Daniel Memorial Park, and Angler’s Park. It is a very popular trail that plays host to several 5K races during the year. For more information, call (434) 799-5215, or visit www.playdanvilleva.com/264/riverwalk-trail.
If you are looking for a little more adventure, Angler’s Park may be for you. It is a system of single-track mountain bike trails throughout the woods at the park. They are dirt trails that go over bridges, up and down hills, and over rocks and tree roots. There is a trail map at the trailhead showing the various trails with their degree of difficulty and lengths. These are fun trails if you truly want to be in the woods hiking. Remember to yield to the mountain bikers on the trail. For more information, call (434) 799-5215.
Two places in Lynchburg that are good walking areas for you and your dog are Blackwater Creek Bikeway and Peaksview Park. Blackwater Creek is a beautiful paved walkway right through the middle of the City of Lynchburg. Once you get on the trail, you will forget that you are in a city. The full length of the bikeway is 3 miles, but there are several side trails as well. It is well shaded with mile markers, and is a very popular trail for people to walk or jog with their dogs. The Ed Page Trailhead located at 1720 Langhorne Road has a restroom facility and water bowls for your dog. Call (434) 856-2489 or visit www.lynchburgva.gov/blackwater-creek-bikeway for more information.
Peaksview Park is one of many parks in the Lynchburg area. It is located at 170 Ivy Creek Lane off of Highway 501 in the Boonsboro area. Ivy Creek Greenway runs parallel to Ivy Creek in the center of the park. The greenway is paved and is 1.7 miles long. There are also mountain bike trails located in the Bill Foot Recreation Area within the park. The Lynchburg Humane Society sponsors several fundraising events and walks in the park throughout the year. For more information, visit www.lynchburgva.gov/peaks-view-park, or call (434) 856-2489.
If you are looking for trails with spectacular views, you need to visit Peaks of Otter in Bedford, VA. It is a bit of a drive, so you may want to make it a day trip. Or make it a weekend trip since the lodge offers pet friendly rooms. There is also a restaurant at the lodge. There are five trails at the Peaks of Otter for you to choose from. The most famous is Sharp Top Trail which is a 1.5 mile strenuous trail to the summit of the mountain. Another choice is Flat Top Trail which is a 4.4 mile strenuous trail to the summit of Flat Top Mountain. For an easy walk, take the 1 mile Abbott Lake Trail around Abbott Lake located at the base of Sharp Top Mountain. At the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center, you can choose between the Harkening Hill Trail and the Johnson Farm Trail. The Harkening Hill Trail is a 3.3 mile moderate trail, and the Johnson Farm Trail is a 2.1 mile moderate trail that leads to Johnson Farm. Peaks of Otter is located at 85554 Blue ridge Parkway. Visit www.peaksofotter.com, or call 866-387-9905 for more information.
As you can see, there is no storage of trails and parks for you and your dog to enjoy this fall. Be safe on the trails, and have fun walking or hiking with your dog!