The long President’s Day weekend adds a boost of extra fun to a chilly month, and is a great opportunity to ...
This Sky Meadows loop hike includes a mix of open fields, moderately challenging hills, and wooded segments, with the payoff of beautiful views across the Virginia Piedmont. Our hike follows a 4-mile circuit, but you can extend with a segment of the Appalachian Trail if you choose.
Sky Meadows State Park includes 24 miles of trails, including the 1-mile interpretive Snowden trail, so there are easier options available if you’re looking for a shorter outing.
Sky Meadows Loop Hike to Piedmont Views
Park and pick up a trail map at the Sky Meadows Visitor Center in the historic area behind Mount Bleak house. To begin the hike, head to the back of the parking area and follow the dirt path past the kiosk toward the park office building. Once you reach the old Boston Mill Road, turn left and follow the gravel road until you reach the South Ridge trailhead, crossing over a stile on your right. The 1.5 mile South Ridge trail leads off to the left then turns uphill following switchbacks into the woods.
Along the South Ridge trail you’ll pass the old chimney and foundation of Snowden Manor, a large, columned house from the mid-1800s that was destroyed in a fire. As you climb further up the hill you’ll have nice views to the south, and you can stop at a bench under a dogwood tree for a rest.
When you reach the North Ridge trail, turn right to continue on our loop hike. (If you want a longer hike you could turn left on North Ridge, and return on the Appalachian and Ambassador Whitehouse trails). The North Ridge trail is often rocky with some steep up and down sections that will give you a nice workout.
You’ll pass intersections with the Gap Run and Ambassador Whitehouse trails before reaching your left turn onto the Piedmont Overlook trail. A short climb leads you to the edge of an open field. Climb over the fence stile and out to one of the prettiest Piedmont views in Northern Virginia.
The Piedmont Overlook offers beautiful views across Crooked Run Valley and down to the Bleak House area, and on a clear day you can see the taller buildings in Dulles and beyond. There are several benches at the overlook, so this is another nice spot for a rest or picnic.
When you’re ready to continue, follow the mowed path steeply down the hill and back to the gravel road for your return to the parking area. If you visit in fall you’ll see some beautiful foliage as you descend the hill.
After the Sky Meadows Loop Hike
If you didn’t visit the historic area and the Visitors Center before your hike, be sure to look around after. On weekends you will likely find rangers who can tell you about the history of the park.
If you’ve worked up a thirst, you’re in luck. About 30 minutes to your north are Bluemont Winery and neighboring Dirt Farm Brewing, both with similarly gorgeous views across the Piedmont.
To the south you’ll find a nice group of wineries in the Delaplane area including Delaplane Vineyards, Three Fox Winery, and Aspen Dale at the Barns. If you’re in the mood for a pint and something to eat, we suggest Hunter’s Head Tavern, to the east on route 50. Their patio is a perfect place to recover from your efforts.