Choose Your Pace: Hiking Scenic Southwest Virginia

Lace up your hiking boots and venture into the striking scenery of Southwest Virginia on an at-your-pace hiking adventure that includes yoga, bird walks, theater and more.
Rating (4.95)
Program No. 22828RJ
6 days
Starts at
26 Reviews
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4.95 Average

I tend to be a solo traveler, going places on my own, or with a couple of friends that I know very well. So when a friend told me about Road Scholar and suggested that I check it out, I was very skeptical. Very skeptical. Taking a RS trip would definitely take me out of my comfort zone. But after reading about several of the programs I was kind of intrigued. Normally, when I come back from a vacation I have a bunch of great pictures and good memories but nothing really about the area, the people, the culture. And typically I'm not coming back home with newly established friendships. So, I bit the bullet and signed up for a trip right down my alley. Nervous yes, but not about the main component of the trip which was hiking. Nervous about the group setting and the extracurricular activities. Boy was I pleasantly surprised! I have a whole new outlook on vacations! You know, the logistics of a vacation is something I don't enjoy working on. And the fact that RS took care of everything made this vacation one of my best. And the whole group setting thing was thoroughly enjoyable. What a great group of people. It was amazing to hear the stories, share my own, and get ideas for places to go in the future. The camaraderie was amazing! But what made this one of the best vacations for me was the lack of logistical work I had to do. What a stress relief! What a well planned out program. The group leaders were awesome. And the couple of challenges we had during the week were handled very well and the resolutions were accommodating to everyone. I can't say enough about the group leaders. If you're like me, kind of a lone wolf, you owe it to yourself to try a Road Scholar trip. I am so glad I did it. Not only did I meet a great group of people and establish, hopefully, some lasting friendships, but I came back with some knowledge I didn't have before. Sign up, take that first trip! I'm already building my wish list!


This was my first Road Scholar trip and I thoroughly enjoyed it -- from the beautiful hikes to the interesting people (both staff and participants) and the variety of experiences offered. It was a well-rounded program with something special for everyone.


Had a most enjoyable experience on this trip. The leaders were excellent, the fellow Road Scholars were most pleasant and the scenery was magnificent.


Hikes for all levels in a beautiful area. Additional activities like dinner at a farm to table restaurant and a play at the Barter theater made the program more than just hiking. Accommodations were basic but very clean and the food was excellent. The only thing missing was comfortable outdoor seating. If you are driving and enjoy returning from your days hike to sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine or cup of coffee bring a folding lawn chair.


Second time my brother and I have done this particular program and enjoyed it both times. Interesting hikes, yoga classes taught by a good instructor, one night theater, one night dinner at a very well known local restaurant (but the music was too loud for me). Adequate facilities and I thought the food was well prepared at least I always found enough food to eat. Self prepared lunches were quite good. Friendly staff. A good price. 3 levels of hikes each day. A program to consider.


This Road Scholar hiking trip was wonderful. So many "Wow!" moments like feeling like I had arrived at the top of the world, seeing the wild ponies, hiking to the very unique Channels, and meeting some "through hikers" on the Appalachian Trail. The guides were all great - patient and encouraging. I challenged myself and I'm so glad I did.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

Beautiful country and good hiking. Choose your own pace worked very well on this trip. Food choices are limited and accommodations clean. Town of Abingdon is very near with lots of restaurant options. Barter theatre evening, music program and restaurant outing were pluses that made this trip special.


The website is set up very nicely. It is easy enough to navigate for somebody like me, who is not completely computer savvy.


If you like to hike in beautiful state parks on well-maintained trails, this trip is for you. With 3 levels of difficulty to choose from, you will find what's right for you. We did one at each level and enjoyed them all.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

A wonderful experience for my first Road Scholar program. The Choose Your Pace trip was perfect for not knowing what to expect and having options. Meals were delicious, locally grown and fresh. Daily hikes through beautiful woods trails offered daily sightings of deer and wild flowers - lunch spots on the trail overlooked mountain vistas and lakes. Two yoga classes, a naturalist talk and a live theater performance rounded out a most enjoyable week.


If hiking in beautiful country with excellent leaders, small group and a choice of difficulty is your thing, consider Hiking Scenic SW Virginia. It was a perfect program! And the food is wonderful.


This is a lovely area of Virginia. I want to return!


this is a super program for anyone wanting to explore a new part of Virginia. the program has a variety of other activities which enhance your knowledge of the area. more stretching and yoga were provided than ever before and I've done 12? other hiking Road Scholar trips - helped keep me limber and ready to go again! Every leader did his/her job superbly!


Our first experience with Road Scholars. Very pleasantly surprised with the organization of the week, the fun of hiking, and the ability to change your desired level of hiking day by day.


A great introduction to a beautiful area and a good variety of hikes. Very well organized, and the "choose your pace" option makes it accessible for different levels of ability and stamina.


Hiking Scenic Southwest Virginia is a program filled with rich experiences, from being able to choose from 3 different hikes each day to attending a performance at the famous Barter Theater to enjoying a wonderful farm-to-table meal. This part of the world has beautiful scenery, lots of history, great food and the most hospitable people anywhere! Out of the 10 Road Scholar programs I've attended, this one is at the top of my favorites!


This is an excellent program, offering 3 levels of hiking each day. Unlike some hiking program locations, like Death Valley and the Superstition Mountains, this area of VA is perfectly suited for offering daily choices. Hikes ranged from 4-mile walks on the Virginia Creeper Trail to 7-mile hikes on rocky and steep sections of the Appalachian Trail, all within less than an hour of driving. Given the very reasonable cost of the program, we were pleased to find that for all but the easiest hikes, each group had both a lead guide and a sweep. The group leaders were experienced, friendly, and enthusiastic. The program also included seeing an excellent musical at the well-known local theatre, enjoying an evening concert by local musicians, and two dinners at local “farm to table” restaurants. We all enjoyed our “free day” in the middle of the week, which gave participants a chance to enjoy another day of hiking, visiting local museums, exploring the shops and art galleries of Abingdon, or just relaxing. However, I noticed that 2019 programs are one day shorter and will not have this scheduled free day. It might be good for future participants to arrive a day early or stay a day later to explore this great area. The 4-H Center provides basic but comfortable accommodations with a very comfortable gathering area, good food, and a choice of sandwiches for the daily packed lunch. As always the participants, from 12 different states, were a friendly and welcoming group.


I recommend this program without hesitation. There are three hiking options each day. I did all the challenging hikes, and I was generally close to the sweep on the uphills, but I never once felt rushed. The experience was not perfect, but Road Scholar always works to smooth out the rough spots. All the participants were given a ticket to an evening performance of Singing in the Rain at the Barter Theater. This was a great show and an unforgettable experience. If you want fancy accommodations and gourmet food, go with another much more expensive provider. What you get here is an outstanding value with good caring, welcoming people.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

Hills are steep Be in shape or you can always enjoy slower paced hikes

Robert C

This program was very well managed. Everyone seemed to be on the same page everyday. The staff were all particularly well informed and seemed most willing to be helpful in every way that they could. The evening at the Barter Theatre was very enjoyable and a very good play it was a delight to see. Lunches on the trail were fine, first time that I have been to a program where the kitchen staff prepared all the sandwiches, you just tell them what you want on it. Breakfast was especially nice with two or three things prepared just that morning. That then it was never repeated the following days to my dismay since I missed he wonderful sausage gravy served on Monday morning. I will know better next time since I have already signed up again for the same program this fall. We went out to two local restaurants while there and they too were excellent. All in all it was an excellent program. An added bonus was a roommate who was most interesting and he too agreed that this is one of the best Roadscholar Programs we have attended.


The program was superb in every respect. The program leaders and guides worked hard to accommodate differing ability levels and we explored many beautiful hikes in the area. The knowledge of the guides and the opportunities to learn from locals about the area made this program very special. The accommodations were quite comfortable and invited camaraderie among the participants. The week was a perfect sampling of adventure, arts, history and local cuisine, made only better when sharing it with new friends.


Overall, a delightful week. Hikes not as challenging in length or terrain as Smokies program hikes. Group leader was great, as were other leaders/sweeps and the accommodations. Location is interesting, too, for some non-hiking activities.


One of the best of the many Road Scholar Hiking programs I have done. Excellent leadership, great location, hikes of appropriate levels of difficulty, good food, flexibility in meeting individual needs.


I was a little bit afraid that I would not be able tokeep up since I hadn't hiked in years and had gained weight. The fear was unfounded. Road Scholar fit the program to the person. It gave me the opportuniity to stretch and achieve.


This was a well-run program with good value. The 3 daily hike choices were disparate enough so that any skill level could participate. The accommodations (4H camp building) were comfortable and the meals were excellent (chicken ‘n dumplings / banana pudding / homemade biscuits). The longest drive from the camp to the hike site was a little over 1 hour and the shortest was 10 minutes. Each hike had an experienced leader and an experienced sweep. Non-hike activities included yoga, bluegrass music and attending a Barter Theater play. The highlight for me was getting to see wild ponies in Grayson Highlands. This is a good program.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

I thoroughly enjoyed this program. The hiking was in fabulous scenery and accommodations were made for varying physical abilities. The two farm-to-table restaurants were very good, the visit to the art museum was great, and the performance at the Barter Theater was excellent!

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