If you are already parked downtown, you can easily access both the Woods Creek Trail & the Back Campus Trail or you can also park near the trail heads less than a mile from downtown (map below).
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. It is not a loop trail. No hiking boots needed.
From Downtown: 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.
Back Campus Trail
Few are aware of this great trail, 1.5 miles to 2.75 miles depending on the loop you choose. It’s generally behind and to the left of the Washington and Lee University Tennis Center on West Denny Circle. It is more rigorous hike than the Woods Creek Trail because of the hills. But no hiking boots required on the well-groomed trails. Download a Trail map.