The Appalachian Trail crosses through the entirety of Clarke County from north to south. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy states, “This is one of the best places on the Appalachian Trail for ‘spring break’ hikes.” Primitive shelters can be found along the trail for overnight stays or use Bear’s Den Youth Hostel located in an old stone house with castle-like features and magnificent views of the Shenandoah Valley below.
Clarke County and the Town of Berryville are an Appalachian Trail Community. This designation recognizes our community as one that promotes and protects the Appalachian Trail. The program serves to assist communities with sustainable economic development through tourism and outdoor recreation while preserving and protecting the Trail.
Clarke County is quickly becoming known as one of the top cycling destinations in Northern Virginia with its many winding country roads, historical sites and scenic vistas. Past tours in the county have included the annual “Rich’s Ride” and “Historic Back Roads Century.” Please be aware that your cycling routes are public roads, so please ride safely and courteously!
Welcome to horse country! Whether it is fox hunting, event riding, pleasure riding, riding lessons, or you just prefer to watch the majesty of a horse clearing a hurdle on the way to the finish line, Clarke County has it all in abundance. If you are in the market for purchasing a horse or pony of nearly any breed, you will find the perfect fit for you in Clarke County. The Clarke County Equine Alliance is the place to start.
In addition to the Appalachian Trail, there are several other beautiful places to hike and experience nature in Clarke County. Click “Places to Hike” to view and download a PDF map with descriptions and locations of area hikes.
The Shenandoah River follows lazily along the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains and provides both great scenic views and an up close experience with nature. The American Bald Eagle, Blue Herons, Deer, Red Tail Hawks and Osprey are just a few of nature’s guardians that rule this special landscape. Kayaking, canoeing, tubing, fishing and camping are all part of the experience. Fish weirs constructed by native American Indians and extend from shore to shore can still be clearly seen in several parts of the river nearly 400 years later. Canoe, kayaks and tubes can be rented at Watermelon Park. Public Landings can be found at the Route 7 Bridge, the Route 50 Bridge and at Locks Landing on Lockes Mill Road near the intersection of Parshall Road (off Route 7) and Lockes Mill Road. Follow the signs.
In 2012 Shenandoah University struck an agreement with the Civil War Trust to preserve 195 acres along the Shenandoah River where in 1864 the Union forces began their assault on the Confederate forces. Today, the ground the Confederate soldiers defended is owned by a Trappist Monastery while the ground the Union forces began their charge is now in the care of the university. An old battlefied could not have asked for better. The university will now utilize this land for environmental, historical (including native American studies) and community passive recreation where the public is invited to walk the trails along this scenic river while learning the land’s varied and fascinating history. Shenandoah University will continue evolve their unique outdoor classroom as the years go by. Hike the trails and enjoy your picnic lunch either along the banks of the river or high above where postcard views of both the river and countryside come to life!
Watermelon Park, located along the historic Shenandoah River, is a campsite for those who either prefer camping in a tent along the river or for those who prefer the comfort of their RV’s or trailers. Rent canoes, kayaks or large inner tubes for a lazy, “put it all behind you” float down old man river. Enjoy Bluegrass music? Be sure to attend their annual Watermelon Park Bluegrass Festival. Check out their website for more details.