Escape From The Traffic on These Hampton Roads Trails
Over the past week, we have highlighted some of the hazards pedestrians face in Hampton Roads. We have also noted the tragic death of a pedestrian in Newport News within the last few days.
Hampton Roads has many pedestrian-unfriendly areas where those on foot are forced to cross busy roads due to the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks.
However, there is an ever-growing network of trails that walkers can use where they are safe from vehicles. Here are some of the most popular places to walk in Hampton Roads.
The Nolan Trail
The Nolan Trail winds five miles around Lake Maury in Newport News and is close to the busy Warwick Boulevard and easily accessible from most of the Virginia Peninsula. It was lauded by AltDaily.com as the best all round trail in the area.
The trail is well maintained and is a popular place for dog walkers, runners and hikers alike. You can start at the picturesque Lion’s Bridge or at the Mariner’s Museum.
Newport News Park
Newport News Park close to I-64 in northern Newport News, is one of the largest city-owned parks in the United States. It offers miles of trails including a popular 3.3 mile trail around Newport News Reservoir. There is also an extensive biking trail.
The Elizabeth River Trail
The Elizabeth River Trail (ERT) is a pedestrian and biking trail that runs for 9.5 miles along the waterfront from Harbor Park to Norfolk International Terminals. It was created from several former railroad rights-of-ways into an urban trail.
Hoffler Creek is a little-known 142-acre wildlife preserve with a trail of just over a mile around Lake Ballard in Portsmouth, close to the Suffolk border. There are also additional trails off the main loop around the lake. Dogs are not permitted at Hoffler Creek. See the website for more details.
The Elizabeth River Project created Paradise Creek as an ecological-clean up and restoration of a polluted part of the Elizabeth River in a deprived part of Portsmouth off Victory Boulevard. There is a network of trails around the marshes and through the woods.
Indian River Park
Chesapeake’s Indian River Park is another little-known gem in a busy, urban area, close to Military Highway. The park features a 1.6 mile loop trail and is slightly more challenging than most of Chesapeake’s parks. There is also a mountain biking course.
NorthWest River Park
NorthWest River Park is the biggest and wildest park in the City of Chesapeake. It’s off Route 168 and close to the North Carolina border. There are more than seven miles of trails at the park, many of them through wooded and swampy areas.
7 Sandy Bottom Nature Park
Hampton lacks some of the expansive parks found in Newport News, but Sandy Bottom Nature Park off Big Bethel Road offers 456 acres of wilderness, a trail around the lake and camping opportunities.
ISLE OF WIGHT
Windsor Castle Park
Windsor Castle Park in Isle of Wight is a recent addition to Hampton Road’s parks networks. It’s a picturesque 208-acre riverside park with numerous trails close to the heart of historic Smithfield.
You may not get away from the crowds at Virginia Beach’s Mount Trashmore Park. The hills are man-made from a former landfill and there’s a massive children’s play area. However, the circuit of about a mile around the lake is close to Town Center and a quick and easy walk after work.
First Landing State Park
Virginia Beach’s First Landing State Park is a massive 2,888 acres and offers more than 19 miles of trails. It has its own beaches, lakes and is the most northerly place to find Spanish Moss in the United States. It costs $4 per car to enter ($5 over the weekend).
Back Bay and False Cape State Park
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach is maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The park has a network of trails and is south of Sandbridge. Dogs aren’t allowed. False Cape is one of Virginia’s most remote state parks. It includes a network of trails and 5.9 miles of beachfront. You can’t drive to the park, although tram transportation is available April 1 through Oct. 31 through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where there is an entrance fee.
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Suffolk may be the largest city in terms of area in Virginia, but it lacks state parks or large city-owned parks like Newport News. However, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in south-east Suffolk contains a network of trails. If you want an arduous walk, consider hiking four miles to Lake Drummond and back, although it’s a better walk for a cool day, given the bug and snake-ridden nature of the swamp.
Waller Mill Park
Waller Mill is a scenic park in Williamsburg, with trails around Waller Mill Reservoir. Take the route along the bike trail to get a panoramic view from the Lookout Tower. Williamsburg has some other great parks with expansive walking opportunities including Freedom Park and New Quarter.
There are many other places to walk in Hampton Roads where you can steer clear of cars. Virginia Beach’s boardwalk is a great place for a stroll if you are not bothered about crowds and Hampton has a smaller boardwalk at Buckroe Beach. If you are walking in an area with traffic, consider these rules for walking in Virginia. If you need to talk to a pedestrian injury lawyer, call us at (757) 455-0077.