You should get out and go for a walk more often. You know you should. Maybe even a jog. Several trails wind through many of Hampton Roads' national, state, municipal and privately developed parks. Here are a few.
1. Beaverdam Park:
Gloucester County's biggest park goes around one arm of its reservoir, giving attractive views of the water from numerous vantage points. Get a trail guide at trailheads or at the ranger station near the parking lot. Depending on how you link the trail loops, you can do anything from a short stroll to a 21-mile epic. From Main Street at Gloucester Court House, take Roaring Springs Road (Route 616) for about 11/2 miles. It runs directly into the park's parking lot. 804-693-2107.
2. Grandview Nature Preserve:
There are no facilities or staff, but you can walk along a couple of miles of Hampton's Chesapeake Bay beachfront in its natural state. A pathway, about a third of a mile long, leads from State Park Road (off Beach Road in the city's Fox Hill area) to the beach.
3. Matteson Trail:
Not exactly the Appalachian Trial — this path is paved, and and it follows a golf course. But this 3-mile walking and jogging trail in central Hampton is conveniently located for city folk. It begins and ends near the Sentara Hampton Health and Fitness Center, on Butler Farm Road just off Magruder Boulevard. 766-9148.
4. Newport News Park:
There are several trails here. The centerpiece is the 2.8-mile White Oak Nature Trail. It starts near the park's Interpretive Center, traverses a footbridge across the park's reservoir, then turns right to make a wide loop around the lake. Another footbridge crosses a marsh at the reservoir's west end, an especially picturesque spot. The park entrance is on Jefferson Avenue in upper Newport News, between Fort Eustis Boulevard and Yorktown Road. 886-7912.
5. The Noland Trail:
The jewel in the crown of local walking trails, this privately financed path in The Mariners' Museum Park is as civilized as woodland walking gets. The 5.1-mile trail circles Lake Maury, with 14 bridges crossing its coves and three picnic areas at scenic overlooks, well shielded from the nearby Newport News cityscape. The trail's well maintained, firm footing makes it attractive to joggers as well as walkers.
There are trail entrances on both sides of The Mariners' Museum, leading in opposite directions. Another pathway leads to the trail from the overflow parking lot, just inside the park gates on Museum Drive. Or, you can park at the trail's far end, by the Lions Bridge near the James River, and enter there. From Warwick Boulevard in midtown Newport News, turn onto the Avenue of the Arts (across from the end of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard), then left onto Museum Drive. The park is straight ahead. 591-7722.
This path is only a mile and a quarter long (from the National Park Service visitors center to the Yorktown Victory Center), but it's along the historic Yorktown Waterfront. If you want to put in some more miles, just walk over to the adjacent Yorktown Battlefield. At the base of Water Street in Yorktown. 890-3500.
7. Sandy Bottom Nature Park:
A Hampton city park, relatively small (456 acres) but crisscrossed with interlocking woodland foot trails that total 6 miles. The longest hugs the shores of two lakes. Very flat, easy walking. Two entrances, off Big Bethel Road and off Hampton Roads Center Parkway. 825-4657.
8. Waller Mill Park:
This Williamsburg city park (actually in neighboring York County) offers trails with water views. The Lookout Tower Trail is 2.9 miles long. An asphalt trail known as the Bike Path (Hint: It's OK to ride bikes on this one) will give you 4 miles of walking if you go all the way to the end and back. Or choose one of two shorter trails. Off Airport Road (Route 645). 259-3778.
9. York River State Park:
It's worth a trip to the rural Croaker area of upper James City County to visit this full-service park. Sixteen trails, (a few are bicycle-only or horse-only trails, but seven are multi-use and three are for walking only) total 25 miles. Some are flat and broad, a few go up bluffs and down gullies. Views of the York River and pretty Taskinas Creek. 566-3036.
From short strolls to 21-mile hikes, 9 top nature preserves, trails and parks in Hampton Roads
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