Life Outside Summer 2018 - 25

68-mile Virginia Highlands Horse Trail, and the
57-mile New River Trail. About 3.5 miles of the AT
run through southwestern Wythe, and can be hiked
in a loop with the Crawfish Trail. The Horse Trail
crosses through Wythe's mountains, intersecting
with the New River Trail for more than 100 miles
of riding or biking.
Linear New River Trail State Park winds along
its namesake river from Draper to Fries, passing
through two tunnels, over 30 bridges, and beside
a historic shot tower used in forming ammunition
200 years ago. If you opt for the fat-tire bikes, you'll
soon be pedaling the gravel trail at three times your
walking speed, sneaking up on blue herons. The
park provides primitive camping-on an island
even-as well as a "Pedal Paddle" program renting
bikes and canoes or kayaks. The horse livery offers
guided trail rides Thursdays - Mondays. Occasional
guided activities include caving, snorkeling, and
nature hikes. To reach park headquarters at Foster
Falls, exit I-77 at Shot Tower and follow the river
north three miles.

 Looking for nice and easy? Consider Rural Retreat Lake, just south of the aptly named village of
Rural Retreat, where a flat 3-mile loop trail takes
you past the good fishing spots as well as a campground, playground, swimming pool, and disc golf
course. Other pluses are the Rural Retreat winery
in town and Jim Lloyd's barbershop, where patrons
look over a small museum of Appalachian musical
instruments during their trim.
Rural Retreat's Dutch Pantry market is a must-stop
for road cyclists traveling the Trans-America Bike
Route. The ride follows U.S. 11 between Wytheville
and Rural Retreat then plunges southward to Sugar
Grove in the mountains of Smyth County.

ON THE TRAILS
Above: Mark and Susan Newman explore Crystal Springs Recreation Area's loop trail.
Lower left: This small falls is at the old reservoir at Crystal Springs rec area in Wytheville.
Lower right: A hiker pauses on Big Walker Lookout's swinging bridge before climbing
the tower.

Their outdoor adventure offerings are outstanding,
yet parking lots aren't crowded and you won't meet a
throng on the trail.
LifeOutsideMag.com // Summer 2018

25


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Summer 2018

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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Summer_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2017
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