Hiking Fredericksburg and Beyond

By Fritzi Newton

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” During the pandemic, this old saying keeps running through my mind. It seems particularly pertinent right now, as we struggle to redefine our days. The “going” can be anything from trying new recipes to tackling that ever-growing list of recommended books to making protective masks for the courageous workers on the front line. For me, the “going” has meant taking an extended walk EVERY day the weather cooperates. This pastime also seems especially timely with June 6th designated as National Trails Day.

Luckily, we live in an area abundant with a variety of hiking trails. Since I moved to the Fredericksburg area ten years ago, the list has only grown longer with the extension of the Heritage Trail and Canal Path Loop, the Ni River Trail, and the Virginia Central Railway (VCR) Trail. Whether you're searching for a short hike, a lengthier workout, a paved trail, or a wilder experience, you'll find several links below to help you locate that perfect outing.

  • AllTrails highlights 23 hiking areas to explore in Fredericksburg. Also available as a mobile app.
  • The Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park website offers information on both their battlefields and hiking trails.
  • The Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation & Events website lists trails within the city limits.
  • Best Hike Guide offers local trail listings, along with descriptions, including length and distinctive features.
  • Hiking Project, sponsored by REI, has an overview of trails in the Fredericksburg and nearby areas, as well as across the United States.
  • Hiking Upward covers walking throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Stafford County’s website has an extensive listing of areas open to hikers, including Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve, Government Island, and Stafford Civil War Park.

The following eBooks on local hiking, biographical accounts of impressive treks, suggestions for exposing your children to the wonders of nature, and related topics are also available:

60 Hikes within 60 Miles, Richmond: Including Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles, Washington, D.C.: Including Suburban and Outlying Areas of Maryland and Virginia

Best of the Appalachian Trail: Day Hikes

Hiking Through History Virginia: Exploring the Old Dominion's Past by Trail

Hiking Through: One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail

Hiking Virginia: A Guide to Virginia's Greatest Hiking Adventures

Hiking Waterfalls in Virginia: A Guide to the State's Best Waterfall Hikes

How to Read Nature: Awaken Your Senses to the Outdoors You've Never Noticed

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals--And Other Forgotten Skills

National Geographic's Guide to the State Parks of the United States

Walk Off Weight: Burn 3 Times More Fat with This Proven Program

What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing--What Birds Are Doing and Why

I’d like to end with a link to On the Fredericksburg VA Trails, a Facebook page where both amateur and professional photographers post pictures capturing the local natural beauty. Anyone can apply to become a member of the page, or you can simply peruse the steady stream of stunning images. Members are also eager to answer any questions you might have about the surrounding hiking trails.

So, if you’re like me and need a steady “fix” of nature, you can count on Central Rappahannock Regional Library to supply you with a wide variety of resources. Happy hiking, stay safe, and perhaps our paths will cross on the trails!