New Outdoor Adventures Along the Beerwerks Trail

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Pack away the winter gear and get outside and seek a new adventure. You’ll find thrills underground, high in the sky, or watching your kids discover a new park feature made just for them. Check out three fresh ways to explore the outdoors along the Beerwerks Trail. Afterwards, stop by your favorite brewery (or try a new one!) for great-tasting craft beer.

Natural Bridge State Park

Besides a chance to gaze in awe at the 215-foot limestone bridge from the gorge carved by Cedar Creek, visitors will love checking out 60-foot-high Lace Falls and hiking the 6+ miles of trails through Natural Bridge State Park. There are also new offerings for learners of all ages. 

Children’s Discovery Area

The new Children’s Discovery Area features a .6-mile Kids in Parks Track Trail. These trails are part of an expanding network that encourages families to unplug and get outside. The Natural Bridge trail includes self-guided brochures about animals, birds, and pollinators that populate the area. You’ll follow the Skyline Trail, which takes adventurers through animal habitats and shows off stunning views of the Blue Ridge. There’s another area Kids in Parks Track Trail in Shenandoah National Park at Blackrock Summit Trail. Kids will also love getting their hands (and more) dirty at the nearby Nature Explore Outdoor Play Area. Here, they’ll encounter natural features and be encouraged to let their imaginations run wild. 

International Dark Sky Park

The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has awarded International Dark Sky Park status to Natural Bridge State Park—the third in the Virginia State Park system. A dark-sky park is one that has a “distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.” The park will work with astronomy groups and universities to develop stargazing programming.

Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel 

The Trail

The newly restored 1850s Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel runs for 2.25 miles under Afton Mountain and between trailheads with parking in Augusta County and Nelson County. Visitors can hike or bike the trail, including the nearly mile-long tunnel section. Water dripping from the ceiling and walls might surprise you, but the tunnel stays a pleasant 50 degrees year round. Look for underground dwellers like crawfish and salamanders. Signage along the trail gives background on the tunnel’s history and the project to restore it, which took nearly 20 years.

The trail to the tunnel gets steep in sections, especially on the western side, so younger families might prefer starting from the eastern trailhead. However the lot on the eastern side will be closed for expansion until May. There is no interior lighting (and sometimes you can’t even glimpse light at the end), so visitors will need to bring headlamps or flashlights. 


The tunnel is named for its designer, Claudius Crozet, a French immigrant who worked as an engineer for Virginia and the Board of Public Works. The state hired him to develop a railroad tunnel through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and despite incredibly hard greenstone, workers (mainly Irish immigrants) punched through in 1856. It took more time to reinforce rock walls with brick and lay the railroad track, and the tunnel opened for railroad traffic on April 13, 1858. At that time, it was the longest railroad tunnel in North America and remained in service until 1944, when the railroad company replaced it with a nearby tunnel designed to accommodate larger trains.

Massanutten Resort’s Adventure Park

You might know Massanutten Resort for its excellent skiing and other winter sports, but did you know that the entire family can now find thrills at Massanutten Resort’s Adventure Park year round? Read on for fresh ways to enjoy thrills and develop skills.


Nothing will get your heart pumping like rocketing down the mountain at 30 m.p.h. on the MegaZip. If that’s not enough for you, climb to the top of the 30-foot quick flight jump tower and jump off. Yes, you’ll be strapped in, but you’ll actually achieve the feeling of weightlessness for a few seconds before you’re returned safely to your own shaking legs. Finally, the park offers 600 feet of downhill tubing in both winter and summer, thanks to a special surface on the run. Better yet, there’s a conveyor lift to drag you and your tube back up to the top..


Climbing enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that the park recently installed a climbing area with 16-30-foot walls. Friends can even race each other to the top with no fear of falling because they’ll be securely harnessed to a tension/pulley system. Climbers eager to develop skills should take a climbing and rappelling tour. Professionally trained guides will provide instruction and safety briefings as you take on 38 and 54-foot drops and Class 5 climbs. If you like challenging yourself while in the air, you’ll enjoy a two-hour canopy tour where you’ll be faced with aerial obstacles like vines, ziplines, bridges, and more. The full course might be challenging youngsters, but there’s a Kid’s Adventure Course for those under 12, that provides kid-sized servings of the canopy adventure. Afterward, they’ll enjoy the kids’ playland where they can jump on bouncy castles and mine for gems.