13 Ways to Safely Embrace Outdoor Adventure Along the Beerwerks Trail

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While we need to keep our social distance at this time, it’s healthy for our minds and bodies to get outdoors. Fortunately, there are countless ways to get outside in the Shenandoah Valley. Read on for a roundup of hiking, paddling, and cycling best bets, each within a short distance of a Beerwerks brewery where you can pick up some craft beer for home. 

See our post on our breweries’ temporary hours and policies, and make sure to check with them personally as the situation changes rapidly. Recreation areas and facilities might be temporarily closed. Check before you go, and remember to stay safe, keep your distance, and go elsewhere if trailheads and parking areas seem crowded.


The Valley is rich in aquatic resources, from placid mountain lakes to white water dashing through mountain passes. Load up your boat and chase the perfect paddle.

Upper James River Water Trail

20 minutes to Great Valley Farm Brewery

The Upper James River Water Trail stretches along 64 miles of the James River as it winds through Rockbridge and Botetourt Counties. This area is perfect for canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and fishing, and has been designated a Virginia Scenic River. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries operates 12 public access points with free parking. Rapids vary and can reach class III at normal water levels.

Goshen Pass

30 minutes to Heliotrope Brewery

Goshen Pass, where the Maury River cuts through Little North Mountain, is one of the most popular sites for catching whitewater in Virginia. This beautiful six-mile trip includes powerful class II, class III, and even named class IV rapids like Corner Rapid and Devil’s Kitchen. To stretch out your day, tie up your kayak and take a hike or explore the boulderscape scattered in the riverbed.

Waynesboro Water Trail

5 minutes to Basic City Beer Co.

Want to paddle through town? The Waynesboro Water Trail, part of the longer South River Blueway, meanders along four picturesque miles of the South River from the Ridgeview Park Boat Ramp to the Basic Park Boat Ramp. Easy-access boat ramps and mild class I and class II rapids are great for beginners. The water trail offers paddlers views of the city’s residential, industrial, commercial, and recreational zones. 

Lake Shenandoah

20 minutes to Brothers Craft Brewing

Located just outside the City of Harrisonburg, Lake Shenandoah is a good option for easy paddling and a quiet day on the water. The shallow (under three feet) 36-acre lake features a parking lot and a paved boat ramp. The lake is a good spot to watch waterfowl. It’s also home to numerous year-round avian residents, and pollinator insect species like Monarch butterflies can be seen along its shores. No motorized engines, swimming or wading allowed.


Spring is an incredible season to tour the valley on your bike, pumping your legs and breathing in the fresh air. Here’s a mix of mountain and road biking adventures.

Montgomery Hall Park

5 minutes from Queen City Brewing

Riders looking for thrills in Staunton need go no further than Montgomery Hall Park, which boasts 4.1 marked miles of single track. The twisting trails offer switchbacks and roots as well as steep drops and climbs. There’s not much in the way of rock obstacles, but you can still get plenty dirty here. Since the trails are maintained by Staunton Parks and Recreation as well as local riders, they stay in excellent condition.

The Southern Traverse

55 minutes from The Friendly Fermenter

Hard-core mountain bikers rave about The Southern Traverse, a 36-mile ride through George Washington National Forest. This route will blast you with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain, much of it in the first four blistering miles. Once you summit Shenandoah Mountain, there’s an incredible 11-mile single track ride along the ridge, several extremely technical rocky areas, and a thrilling five-mile section that descends over 1,100 feet. The final section of the route follows rolling country roads.

Chessie Nature Trail

5 minutes from Devils Backbone Outpost Tap Room & Kitchen

Originally a railroad bed for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, the flat Chessie Nature Trail stretches for 7.2 miles between Lexington and Buena Vista and is great for riders of all ages and abilities. The route has parking at both ends and can be completed as a longer out-and-back ride. It follows the Maury River and the rural surroundings alternate between wooded areas and farmland. The final mile near Buena Vista parallels a cliff along the river. Look for cows and wildlife along the way.

Staunton Frog Pond Smoky Row

1 minute from Redbeard Brewing Company

Road bikers looking for an intermediate ride should try the 22-mile Staunton Frog Pond Smoky Row route. It starts in Staunton at the Wharf, but quickly leaves to embrace the rolling hills and spectacular scenery west and south of town. The loop offers sustained climbs, downhill glides, and recovery sections. The ride, which is entirely on paved roads, concludes back in Staunton.

Rocktown Trails at Hillandale Park

10 minutes from Pale Fire Brewing

If you’re looking to give your mountain bike a workout in downtown Harrisonburg, check out Rocktown Trails at Hillandale Park. The park’s system of stacked-loop, single track trails offers three levels of difficulty for riders. The trails, cared for by the Shenandoah Valley Bike Coalition, stay in great shape and feature man-made and natural obstacles. Be prepared to share this popular area with hikers and runners.

If you can’t get enough biking in the Valley, read Bike the Valley, Brake for Brews for additional options.


Step outside in our neck of the Shenandoah Valley and you’re likely to trip over a trailhead. Here are a few of our favorites within an easy drive of a Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail brewery.

Elliot Knob

30 minutes from Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.

Itching to climb to the highest point in Augusta County, see spectacular views, and get a chance to frolic in waterfalls? Located in George Washington National Forest, the Elliot Knob hike boasts all this and more. Early on, the hike ascends gradually along Falls Hollow Run as it works through the forest. The second half, along a fire road, will make your quads cry! The grassy summit offers wonderful views and a private place to eat your lunch.

South River Greenway

10 minutes from Seven Arrows Brewing or Stable Craft Brewing

The South River Greenway trail system will one day connect Waynesboro’s Constitution Park with Ridgeview Park and eventually the Crozet Tunnel. For now, the trail stretches for 1.2 miles along the South River and connects Constitution Park with the YMCA. The short walk (or bike ride with your young kids) is flat and paved, and the scenery provides interest as it varies from river to industrial to park. Make sure you bring your binoculars and look for birds. You can park at either end of the Greenway.

Hone Quarry

30 minutes from Restless Moons Brewing

Southwest of Harrisonburg in the George Washington National Forest, Hone Quarry Recreation Area offers three hikes of varying difficulty. The shortest option is Hidden Rocks Trail, a moderate 2.5-mile hike following Rocky Run where hikers can enjoy a small pool and waterfall. Hone Quarry Ridge (5 miles) climbs through white pine and hemlock forests to follow the ridge, offering several nice views. Oak Knob (7.9 miles) also climbs to high ground. It offers two overlooks with beautiful views and opportunities to watch birds.

Crabtree Falls

45 minutes from Skipping Rock Beer Company

1,200-foot Crabtree Falls, is one of the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfalls in the East. The first portion of the trail is paved for universal access, and the incredible views of the lower part of the falls start almost immediately. The ease of the beginning gives way to steep switchbacks repeatedly reconnecting with the falls, and offering several vantage points and viewing platforms. Rest and snack at the top, taking in the magnificent view of the Tye River Valley. 

For more great hikes, visit Knot Your Boots and Hit the Beerwerks Trail.