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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University Campus Image

Washington and Lee Back Campus

Great for a Short Walk or Afternoon Run

 

  • Difficulty:  Moderate
  • Hike Time:  30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Distance:  3.5 miles (largest loop)
  • Views:  Wooded

Trail Description 

This network of trails is great for a short walk or an afternoon run.  At the far end of the trail network, the path leads along the wooded banks of the Maury River to the VMI cliffs. 

In this flood plain the trail passes a white pine plantation where natural succession is being allowed to occur.  Trees that would naturally grow here (sycamore and box-elder, for example) are replacing the dying white pines, which are not really at home in this habitat.  If you take the walk in the early spring, go as far as the cliffs, then follow the trail that leads right along the base of the steep, wooded slope.

You will see beneath familiar broadleaf trees like tulip poplar, oak and hickory an extraordinary display of native wildflowers.  Some of these are trillium, hepatica, bloodroot, twinleaf, spring beauty, Dutchman's breeches, trout-lilly and many others.  We have here a remnant of the great Eastern deciduous forest only a 25 minute walk from the Colonnade.  Its value has been recognized by Washington and Lee, which has committed itself to protecting this natural treasure.

This trail network can easily be connected with the Woods Creek Trail.  At the top of the slope above the VMI cliffs, a trail leads downhill toward the VMI baseball and soccer fields.  The Woods Creek Trail connects here.  A left at this junction leads to the East Lex dam and a right leads to the W&L Law school.