New Year's Resolution - Get Outside in Waynesboro!
If you’re like everyone else in the country, the resolutions topping your list likely include getting healthier and being more mindful. You probably also want to get outside more. This is a valuable resolution, since the very act of going outside gets you off your couch and burning calories. Finding peace in nature, seeing new things, and spending time with friends and family will help you reach your mindfulness goals. Read on for some ways to get outside more in the early parts of 2021.
Training for a race is a stellar way to get your fresh air fix. Most of us can work up to a 5K, but a mud run like the Mad Anthony Mud Run is a real challenge. Part of the Run the Valley race series, this muscle-burner winds through Coyner Springs Park. Participants scale walls, nets, and enormous hay bales. They slither in mud and tromp through an icy, thigh-deep creek under the highway. Finishers get beer. The official race kicks off February 27th, but there are several in-person and virtual ways to participate. Register now before all the slots are taken! Teams and costumes are encouraged.
Do you know what’s better than a trip through the gem that is Shenandoah National Park? How about one of the six times a year they waive the entrance fee? Monday, January 18 is one of those fee-free days. Plan to take your favorite hike or find a new one. If you don’t want to commit to hours in the elements, drive along the Skyline Drive. Pause at the overlooks to take photos and deep breaths. And if hiking on a Monday in January doesn’t work out for you, plan to take advantage of the next fee-free day, which is Saturday, April 17. The South District is the most remote, but popular hikes near Waynesboro may still be crowded, so plan a backup.
The Appalachian Trail has connected people with nature and a wide and supportive hiking community since 1937. The majority of thru hikers on the 2,180-mile journey from Maine to Georgia start their months-long trek in March and April. However, if you’re only hiking a section, you can launch any time you want. The trailhead at Rockfish Gap is just three miles from Waynesboro. Hikers heading both north and south will earn spectacular views of the Shenandoah and Rockfish Valleys from the ridgeline. Day hikers should be aware that the trail will need to be traversed as an out-and-back (unless you have transportation waiting).
Perhaps the easiest way to get outside this year is to make the most of Waynesboro’s city parks. Remember, getting outside doesn’t need to be a major endeavor. Taking a stroll or playing catch with the kids counts! Cross a high footbridge over the South River to access peaceful bike and hiking trails in Ridgeview Park. The Park’s 85 acres also contain a pool, ball fields, gardens, tennis courts, a playground, and river access, which is a popular launch point for the 4-mile Waynesboro Water Trail. The Water Trail winds through the city to Basic Park. Here, you’ll find 18 private acres with river access for fishing, kayak launching, and letting your dogs play in the water. The open space is good for picnics and tossing or kicking a ball around.
Constitution Park gives visitors a wonderful way to enjoy nature in the midst of downtown Waynesboro, and it’s home of the 1.2-mile South River Greenway, where you can ride your bike, run, or walk along the river. Play or lounge in the grass, watch the river, or take in the street art along Race Avenue and on the nearby Ice Plant building. In fact, if you want to see more street art, download the Traipse app on your phone and take a self-guided tour. Constitution Park also provides access to the South River for fishing or paddling.
Waynesboro’s largest park is Coyner Springs Park. You’ll feel like you’re out in the country as you explore the 145 acres of woods and open fields. Bring your dog to let him run, bring your disc golf game to the 9-hole course, bring a kite for flying, bring your binoculars for birdwatching, or just enjoy the peace and quiet!
We know these options will keep you busy, but these are just highlights; don’t stop there. The Waynesboro and surrounding areas abound with hiking, paddling, and more.