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Virginia

Hiking Scenic Southwest Virginia

Program No. 22828RJ
Lace up your hiking boots and venture into the striking scenery of Southwest Virginia on a hiking adventure that includes Appalachian culture, music and more.
Length
5 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
949

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
Activity Level: Outdoor: Challenging (1)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 24 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
949
Itinerary Note

This date is Outdoor: Challenging and involves hiking up to 10 miles per day over varied but technical terrain; plan for primitive trailheads and water crossings.

Activity Level: Outdoor: Challenging (1)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 24 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
999
Itinerary Note

This date is Outdoor: Challenging and involves hiking up to 10 miles per day over varied but technical terrain; plan for primitive trailheads and water crossings.

Activity Level: Outdoor: Spirited (1)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 22 - Oct 26, 2023
Starting at
949
Itinerary Note

This date is Outdoor: Spirited and involves hiking up to 6 miles per day over varied terrain; plan for possibly cold, possibly wet conditions.

Activity Level: Outdoor: Spirited (1)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 22 - Oct 26, 2023
Starting at
999
Itinerary Note

This date is Outdoor: Spirited and involves hiking up to 6 miles per day over varied terrain; plan for possibly cold, possibly wet conditions.

At a Glance

Revel in the feeling of freedom as you explore scenic Southwest Virginia by foot. Alongside local experts, discover beautiful stretches of the Virginia Creeper Trail, the Appalachian Trail, state parks and nature preserves. Each hike will have you basking in the breathtaking beauty of trailside mountain streams, lush forests and memorable mountain views.
Activity Level
Varies by date
Activity level varies by date. Outdoor: Spirited dates involve hiking up to 6 miles per day over varied terrain; plan for possibly cold, possibly wet conditions. Outdoor: Challenging dates involve hiking up to 10 miles per day over varied but technical terrain; plan for primitive trailheads and water crossings.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy hikes led by local experts on the Virginia Creeper Trail, the Appalachian Trail and in nearby state parks and national forests.
  • Enjoy a performance at the world-famous Barter Theatre and explore the picturesque small town of Abingdon.
  • Learn about Appalachian culture and musical traditions while enjoying a private performance by local artists.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for light exercise, interaction with the local community, a farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event and a value-priced single room.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Bruce Cook
Recently retired, Bruce Cook settled in Damascus, Virginia, where enjoys hiking, backpacking, cycling, kayaking, and fishing. It was a Road Scholar cycling program that first brought him here six years ago and he has since participated in a number of Road Scholar hiking, kayaking, and biking. Number one on his bucket list is to complete hiking the entire Appalachian Trail list.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Bruce Cook
Bruce Cook View biography
Recently retired, Bruce Cook settled in Damascus, Virginia, where enjoys hiking, backpacking, cycling, kayaking, and fishing. It was a Road Scholar cycling program that first brought him here six years ago and he has since participated in a number of Road Scholar hiking, kayaking, and biking. Number one on his bucket list is to complete hiking the entire Appalachian Trail list.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail
by Ben Montgomery
Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. And in September 1955, having survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem, she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin. There she sang the first verse of “America, the Beautiful” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”
The Virginia Creeper Trail Companion
by Edward H. Davis & Edward B. Morgan
With photos, historic train schedules, and detailed maps, this guidebook enables the user to understand the Virginia Creeper Trail’s origin as an important railroad. Also included are essays on the region’s geology, trees, wildflowers, fish, birds, and mammals. The combination of the historical perspective and the modern natural science in The Companion will enhance the trail experience for anyone who travels the Virginia Creeper Trail. This book is available at the SWVA 4-H Educational Center to read.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
by Bill Bryson
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America—majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way—and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
Virginia Highlands
by Susan J. Harrington
This book highlights the history of the local region, including Wythe, Smyth, Grayson, and Washington Counties.
Prodigal Summer
by Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, these characters find their connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with whom they share a place. Prodigal Summer demonstrates a balance of narrative, drama and ideas that is characteristic of Barbara Kingsolver's finest work
Washington County
by Donna Akers Warmuth
Washington County provides an intricate visit to yesteryear, with over 200 historic scenes of this rural region. Highlights include beautiful photos of The Virginia Creeper trains and the communities of Damascus, Meadowview, and Glade Spring.
Big Stone Gap
by Adriana Trigiani
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the tiny town of Big Stone Gap is home to some of the most charming eccentrics in the state. Ave Maria Mulligan is the town's self-proclaimed spinster. She lives an amiable life with good friends and lots of hobbies until the fateful day in 1978 when she suddenly discovers that she's not who she always thought she was. Before she can blink, Ave's fielding marriage proposals, fighting off greedy family members, organizing a celebration for visiting celebrities, and planning the trip of a lifetime-a trip that could change her view of the world and her own place in it forever.
Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail
by Paul V. Stutzman
After losing his wife to breast cancer, Paul Stutzman decided to make some big changes. He quit his job of seventeen years and embarked upon a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,176-mile stretch of varying terrain spanning fourteen states. During his nearly five-month-long hike, he battled brutal trail conditions and overwhelming loneliness, but also enjoyed spectacular scenery and trail camaraderie. With breathtaking descriptions and humorous anecdotes from his travels, Stutzman reveals how immersing himself in nature and befriending fellow hikers helped him recover from a devastating loss.
Abingdon, Virginia - Then and Now
by Donna Gayle Akers
This book contains around 200 historic photographs taken over the past century of Abingdon’s many well-known town entities, personalities, and businesses. The Stonewall Jackson Female Institute, Martha Washington Inn, and the Barter Theatre are all included in this beautiful celebration of Abingdon’s heritage.
Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail
by Jennifer Pharr Davis
After graduating from college, Jennifer isn't sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she's crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor





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