Click here to view the interactive trail map.
The Blue Ridge School campus is fortunate to include a myriad of trails for both running and mountain biking. Thanks to the generosity of Tom Walton ’02 and the Walton Foundation as well as the excellent work of Progressive Trail Design, multiple improvements and extensions have recently been made to those trails. More developments are now underway thanks to additional generosity from Ms. Sharon Rymer, parent of Robert ’07, and the Robert and Hoyle Rymer Foundation.
"The Robert and Hoyle Rymer Foundation has always been focused on improving educational opportunities and expanding the Gateway Trails at Blue Ridge School fits our mission very well. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of creating something so unique that truly sets Blue Ridge School apart from its peers,” says Ms. Rymer. She adds: "The location of the School in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains provides so many opportunities to be out in nature — to just unwind, as part of a sports team or in a formal outdoor learning program. Improving the trail system will allow greater opportunity for the students, staff, faculty and community members to get outside and explore with the added benefits of increased physical and mental health.”
In the fall of 2016, Josh and Ben of Progressive Trail Design began work on rerouting some of the trails, improving others and adding new trails to the system.
Josh and Ben also rerouted Cabin Lake Trail. It is an easier climb up or a more fun way down. This trail loop is now called Crawford Hollow and will no longer be called Cabin Lake.
A continuation of Bryson Hollow has been completed as well. This climb is really new and will be muddy for a while.
The name of the McFarlane Trail stands out from the others. Dr. Ed McFarlane, while Headmaster of Blue Ridge School from 1992 to 2000, sought and received the original grant to start the current Outdoor Program. It is therefore fitting that the main trial in the system honors his legacy.
The McFarlane trail stretches across the mountain from Bryson Hollow to Crawford Hollow for 1.5 miles. This may become the future jewel of the trail system. Across McFarlane, hikers and bikers will see an old spring box and wishing well from days past. Little Big Rocks is incorporated. Rappel Rock will tower over any adventurer and a new overlook (winter view of campus). Once past the overlook, some neat turns have been constructed that drop a wanderer down to the top of Crawford. Of course, one will be able to go either way he likes on this trail. McFarlane is currently completed to Little Big Rocks.
A couple of existing trails have also received some improvements, including a large bridge up Crawford. The top of Twin Lakes has been the recipient of some work done to help with drainage. These new developments make the Ridgeline Trail much easier to traverse.
An area further up the ridge line off of McFarlane and just after Rappel rock is now the entrance to the newest trail called Moonshine. This 1.5-mile trail takes hikers and bikers to “the top of the top” past several fascinating pieces of scenery including old home sites and a hundred-foot rock wall. The wall appears to have been terracing for gardening or maybe to keep livestock enclosed. An old chimney also rises majestically from the surrounding foliage.
Signage for these trails is also important. Students, under the direction of Mr. Tony Brown, have carved trail names and other information into wooden signs that will assist both hikers and bikers. Blue Ridge School thanks Tom and the Walton Foundation as well as Sharon and the Robert and Hoyle Rymer Foundation for making these improvements possible.
One small way in which electronics and the outdoors may come together is through the Mountain Biking (MTB) Project app. This app offers the location of all of the trails on the Blue Ridge campus. You’ll find the School listed under St. George in Central Virginia.
The trails are open to the public, however we require that a waiver form be completed and left at the kiosk at the trail head. For more information about the trails, contact Tony Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.