After shopping all morning and having a great lunch in downtown Lexington, it’s either time for a nap, a nature walk or both.
If you are already parked downtown, you can easily access the Woods Creek Trail, or you can also park near the trail heads about a mile from downtown. It is not a loop trail.
On the back side of the Washington and Lee Campus is a wooded, hilly loop trail that follows the Maury River a short distance. Download this back campus trail map. Park near the tennis center.
Also within a 5 minute drive is another easy walking trail, the Chessie Trail.
Just 2 miles from downtown is Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden, where kids can learn about nature while playing and adults can walk the serene gardens.
And for those who don’t mind some hills, there is the Brushy Hill Preserve, a 10 minute drive from downtown.
Woods Creek Trail in Town & Back Campus Trail
The 2 mile long Woods Creek Trail is perfect for a leisurely stroll and if you are already parked downtown, you can walk to it. No hiking boots needed. It does not loop, you’ll have to walk back they way you came or meander through the neighborhoods.
Walk west on Nelson Street (towards W&L) and when you see the W&L parking structure on your right, there will be stairs leading down to the trail immediately across E. Denny Circle.
If you are on W&L campus, simply head down the steep steps on the north side of the library. You’ll be catching the trail at the approximate mid-point. To the right (north) the trail leads through the VMI campus to Jordan’s Point. To the left (south) it leads along a mostly wooded trail to Waddell Elementary School @ Ross Road.
The Back Campus trail is near the W&L tennis center. It heads down hill and wanders a bit, passing along the Maury River. What goes down must go up, but the well groomed trails mitigate the pain. Park near the tennis center. Sometimes there are trail maps at the kiosk. Download a trail map.
Old Railroad Route
The Chessie Trail lies along the right of way formerly occupied by the C& O rail tracks that connected Lexington with the main line near Buena Vista. The trail is a very flat 7 miles.
The Chessie Trail parking area is not signed and is about a 5 minute drive from downtown. From town, go north on Main Street (rte 11 business). In a mile, it connects with Rte 11 north crossing the Maury River. Take the first right after the bridge onto Old Buena Vista Rd. Within a mile you pass old small industrial bldgs on the right (large PURE sign) & shortly thereafter, parking is on your left & right.
The pedestrian bridge over the South River (about 5 miles from the trail head shown here) was washed out; you’ll need to walk along the road to continue to the terminus in Buena Vista. Background info on Chessie Trail
Detailed Chessie Trail Map
You may encounter cattle if you walk the segment near Buena Vista (other side of the washed out bridge if you’re coming from Lexington).
Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden
This treasure is located just outside Lexington, Virginia. The garden is open every day of the week during daylight hours. Visiting the garden is free, but donations and memberships are welcomed
Fifteen acres feature both native and unusual plant specimens from wetlands to forests to fields. Great place to take children to enjoy “The Play Trail”.
Only 2 miles from downtown Lexington at 963 Ross Road. Location
Brushy Hill Preserve