By Taylor Hudson
Ignore the fact that there was snowstorm on Sunday night—I promise; warm weather is on its way! We have one month left before finals week. And, if you are an outdoors junkie like I am, that means only four more weeks available for sunbathing on the Quad, and most importantly, hiking.
As a Delaware native, mountains are nonexistent; therefore hiking was never a regular pastime of mine. But, when I came to JMU, I was bitten by the hiking-bug and fell in love with spending hours on a trial. So, I like to take advantage of all the hiking options the Shenandoah Valley has to offer as often as I can.
White Oak Canyon is a personal favorite of mine. Even though it is located in the Shenandoah National Park about forty minutes down 81, it is well worth the drive. This hike is about eight miles and takes about four to five hours to complete. Plus, it has a waterfall. Fair warning: the waterfall might not always be in its full glory. Try this trail after a good rainstorm, and the waterfall is guaranteed to be stunning, but if you catch it during a dry spell, I’ll admit that it can look a little weak.
Another favorite is Reddish Knob. This trail is an even further drive from campus, taking about an hour. This trail has a gorgeous view at the peak, so I suggest going during sunset or during the fall to take in the sight of the leaves changing colors from different heights.
If you are one of those people that loves the outdoors but don’t have time to devote an entire Saturday to a hike, don’t fret. Go to Blue Hole. Sure, it isn’t a hike, nor does it offer much in the realm of awesome views. But, this swimming hole is a popular spot for JMU students. It’s about 40 minutes away from campus and offers just enough outdoor experience to quench your craving. As it gets warmer, however, Blue Hole gets pretty popular, so it may be crowded, especially on the weekends.
Whether you are a seasoned professional or a newbie to hiking, the Harrisonburg area has plenty of awesome trails. For a small fee, UREC even offers excursions through out the semester.
Click here to visit their website to learn more information about how to sign up!