Seven stroller friendly places in Virginia State Parks
From Virginia State Parks:
Are you looking for stroller accessible trails to walk with your children, nieces, nephews or grandkids? You are in luck because I have seven state parks that include unique trails and walkways that you must check out.
These seven locations offer scenic corridors around the various park locations and are accessible for walking with a stroller. These strolls around each park will also provide nature, wildlife and land education for all ages and most parks have a playground area that your little ones will enjoy.
Get those strollers ready and get outdoors to enjoy at least one of these walks soon!
Mulberry Creek Boardwalk at Belle Isle State Park
Located in Lancaster, Virginia, Belle Isle State Park offers seven miles of shoreline along the Northern Neck’s Rappahannock River and provides access to Mulberry and Deep creeks.
Mulberry Creek Boardwalk (PDF) is a scenic 0.17 mile walk that will accommodate a stroller while providing a beautiful view of the creek. The boardwalk also has an observation pier so you can get a closer look at some water fowl, eagles and osprey. The diverse ecosystems within the park make Belle Isle an excellent outdoor laboratory for environmental education, so bring some binoculars and your camera on this walk. There is also a fishing area if you are interested in saltwater bank fishing – must have a valid saltwater license.
Conservation Corps Fitness Trail and Rock Spring Pond Trail at Westmoreland State Park
Located in Montross, Virginia on the Potomac River’s Northern Neck, Westmoreland State Park includes two stroller friendly trails (PDF), a beach where you can look for fossils and shark’s teeth as well as prime viewing locations for bald eagles, osprey, great blue herons and many other birds.
The Conservation Corps Fitness Trail is 1.6 miles long and has seven optional exercise stations along the way. These stations provide additional exercises if you are seeking to burn more calories on your hike. This path meanders around different types of trees and when you are walking along the trail, you can observe the flora and wildlife present on the coastal plain. This scenic stroller friendly trail will provide a beautiful natural setting that you are sure to enjoy in any season.
Also at Westmoreland, Rock Spring Pond Trail is 0.6 miles long and is perfect for novice hikers, parents with a stroller or small children on bikes. The lush forest provides the perfect setting with some shade and a stunning pond with benches along the way to take in the scenery. The pond is perfect for spotting or catching a variety of fish including catfish, bream, bass and crappie – freshwater fishing license required. This walk is also perfect for birdwatching and provides the unique wetland habitat for fauna such as salamanders. The trail’s destination feature is a CCC-built dam that formed the pond where you can see the painted turtles.
There is also a playground near the Westmoreland Discovery Center so the children can burn off more energy before leaving the park. Rangers provide plenty of outdoor activities at both trail locations and the hands-on Discovery Center focuses on environmental education for all ages.
Children’s Discovery Area, Track Trail and Sensory Explorers’ Trail at Sky Meadows State Park
Located in the north western part of Virginia in Delaplane, Sky Meadows State Park provides stroller friendly walks and areas that really focus on engaging participants of all ages. This park visit is a must, especially for young children.
Sky Meadow’s Children’s Discovery Area is an open space for children and families to enjoy the park’s countryside landscape and includes a Nature Explore Certified Outdoor Classroom, the first of its kind in Virginia. This space is designed to introduce children to the wonders of nature through fun learning opportunities and play stations focused on agriculture, nature and history that entice children to create art, make music, dance, climb, build, dig and crawl. This spot is conveniently located next to the picnic area and is a guaranteed hit for you and your little ones to enjoy.
Within the Children’s Discovery Area there is a Kids in Parks TRACK Trail that is 0.7 miles long and engages novice hikers of all ages. This trail crosses streams, passes through woodlands and traverses meadows before looping you back to its start all while accommodating your stroller. There are several benches along the way so you can stop and enjoy the view. You will find TRACK Trail brochures located at the trailhead kiosk and can have fun choosing a different brochure each time you visit to experience a different adventure during your exploration of the trail.
The Sensory Explorers’ Trail offers visitors of all ages and abilities the unique opportunity to explore with their senses. This trail is a 0.3 mile loop that can easily be traversed and includes learning opportunities posted at eight designated stops. Highlights include The Witness Rock, The Tree of Life and The Vernal Pool, all inviting explorers to pay close attention to the natural world that surrounds them.
The Sensory Explorers’ Trail is conveniently located next to Sky Meadows’ picnic area, bathrooms and Children’s Discovery Area. For the visually impaired, you can download an audio version of this trail (download directions on the website) that provides in-depth information about each stop. For the hearing impaired, there’s a printed pamphlet of the audio tour available at the trailhead.
With so much to do in one perfect location, it’s easy to enjoy hours at Sky Meadows. Be sure to check out the many nature and history programs offered throughout the year, as well.
Gokotta Trail and Bass Bight Trail at Seven Bends State Park
Seven Bends State Park is a day-use park positioned in the geographically unique Seven Bends area of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. Comprising of 1,066 acres, the park’s main purpose is to provide access to water and land-based activities and educational opportunities to all. With this scenic backdrop, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this location.
Gokotta Trail is 0.8 miles long and is considered to be an easy stroll that offers an amazing view of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. This stroller accessible, relatively flat trail is perfect to bring your children and even your dog. (Dogs must be leashed at all times.) This trail can be a destination hike for those of you wanting to travel to all the state parks and log your journey through our Trail Quest program.
Bass Bight Trail is a half mile long and begins at the boat launch. This trail will loop you back in the direction you came while offering a scenic tour of the park and river. Fishing, hiking and biking are additional activities that you can partake in along the trail.
Be sure to check out the Children’s Garden (PDF) on your visit, but don’t be fooled by the name as this garden is for people of all ages to enjoy. The activities provide a comprehensive look at the diverse plants and wildlife within the park and allow for hands-on activities conducted by volunteers with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association.
Lake Trail Loop and the Kids in Parks Track Trail at Hungry Mother State Park
Located in the heart of the mountains in southwest Virginia, Hungry Mother State Park is known for beautiful woodlands and its centerpiece 108-acre lake. This park provides two trails with stroller access that you and your family will enjoy.
The Lake Trail Loop is one of Hungry Mother’s most popular multi-use trails and is perfect for a stroller. The trail goes completely around the lake covering close to 6 miles with mostly gentle rolling hills. As you hike the Lake Trail, learn the history of Hungry Mother and how it was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). There are approximately 13 signs along the trail that highlight the work of the CCC. This hike passes through various habitats as you traverse south facing slope habitats, acidic cove habitats and north facing slope habitats. All in all, the Lake Trail provides a nice adventure for you and your little ones.
Hungry Mother’s Kids in Parks TRACK Trail is a 0.6-mile paved trail that helps children and adults learn about various plants and animals in the park. This trail is geared toward kids with brochures that guide you along various adventures along your walk. Kids can also become Junior Naturalists while learning about the history and nature of the area. Aspiring junior naturalists can get a book and complete at least six activities to be recognized.
New River Trail State Park
Located in southwest Virginia, the New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad track and parallels the scenic New River for 39 miles while passing through four counties and the city of Galax. New River Trail includes stroller access to 2 tunnels, 3 major bridges and 30 smaller bridges and trestles that will surely make your trip a memorable one. The trail’s gentle slope makes it great for visitors of all ages to enjoy. The majority of the trail is smooth gravel and/or dirt, providing an easy walk.
New River Trail is stroller friendly with the exception of the three mile stretch from Draper (mile marker 6) to Hiwassee (mile marker 9), as it has a 340 foot rise/fall over those three miles.
New River Trail has many access sites, check out this PDF (PDF) with the locations to find the best parking spot for your adventure.
A couple areas you must see… There is a small park near the Cliffview access called Dannelly Park where the trail is roughly 0.25 miles long with a scenic tunnel nearby. The Foster Falls area of the park also has a playground your little ones will love.
High Bridge Trail State Park
High Bridge Trail is 31 miles long and ideally suited to bring your stroller, little ones and even your dog for a nice walk. Located in central Virginia, the trail is wide, level and generally flat. Once a railroad bed, this trail’s finely crushed limestone surface and dimensions make it easy for all types of people to enjoy. The park’s centerpiece is the majestic High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 125 feet above the Appomattox River.
There are a lot of access points to this trail so check out the trail guide before you go. The High Bridge is accessible through all the parking areas, but the distance to the bridge will vary so be sure to plan your hike accordingly. Please be aware that there is no water available along the trail, so you must bring your own.
You will enjoy the breathtaking views as you hike along High Bridge Trail. Binoculars and a camera are ideal to have handy for this adventure. You can also enjoy a nice picnic along the way as the trail has numerous picnic areas. (Remember to leave no trace and pick up all trash before you continue your hike.)
Engage with us at Virginia State Parks
Look for Ranger-led programs for more information about the natural inhabitants of the park as well as some cool hands-on learning experiences. Teaching the next generation about conservation and recreation is very important to us.
After you enjoy at least one of these stroller friendly hikes, be sure to share your photos with us on social media using #VaStateParks, especially as the seasons change. We are always interested in seeing your photos as you experience each uniquely special Virginia State Park. We hope you enjoy your scenic and educational stroller friendly walks in our parks!