Hiking at the Blue Ridge Center is open to the public and free of charge. Popular hikes include:
The Farmstead Loop is the Blue Ridge Center's signature hiking trail. Just over a mile long and with minimal elevation change, the trail is perfect for all ages and fitness levels. The circular trail runs through the heart of the Blue Ridge Center property. Starting near the Demory-Wortman House, this scenic trail, once a road through a 19th century farming community, passes by multiple historic structures, Wortman Pond, Piney Run, and provides access to the Demory Field campground and other trails.
To the east of the Everheart Homeplace beyond Piney Run is the Little Turtle Trail, which connects to the western trails. Walk along the Sweet Run stream, try to keep count the colorful butterflies along Butterfly Alley, follow the powerline up to the Appalachian Trail, hike along the Wood Thrush Trail, or visit the Farmstead site along the Legacy Loop.
The western property borders a parcel of land known as the Fairfax Heirs land, named due to the ownership and interests in the land by the heirs of Ferdinado Fairfax until the late 20th century. From 1813 to 1880 the United States government owned the land, on which they cut forests for timber and manufactured charcoal. Surviving paymaster records in Harpers Ferry note that charcoal was produced and shipped from both the west and eastern sides of the mountain (Loudoun Heights) before and during the Civil War, until the armory was destroyed in 1861. The charred remains of the hearths are still visible today.
Nearly a half mile north of Gordon Pond, near the northwestern tip of the Legacy Loop, lies a long stone wall (photo to the left). During the summer of 2008, archaeologists conducted investigations in which they systematically mapped the site and dug shovel test pits to determine site boundaries and recover an artifact collection. Originally thought to be the remains of a Civil War fort, the results of the investigation suggest that it represents the remains of a farmstead. Over the course of a week, 66 artifacts, including glass, mortar, metal, coal, and a variety of pottery dating to the early 19th century, were recovered from the shovel tests. No artifacts suggesting military activity were recovered. Numerous rock piles, possibly created to clear land for farming and building construction, stand inside the wall and a few outside the north section of the wall. The Blue Ridge Center plans to investigate further in the future.
The Blue Ridge Center's valley meadows and heavily-forested mountain slopes are habitat and home to a great diversity of birds. Check out our brochure and see why the Blue Ridge Center is a stop along the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail.
This outstanding setting provides a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to learn about and observe birds. Families, hikers, birders and anyone interested in enjoying our beautiful setting is invited to stop by our office and check out a Birds of the Ridge Daypack. Equipped with the tools of a naturalist, each pack contains binoculars (suitable for children and adults), a field guide, trail map, suggested activities and sketching materials. We highly recommend using the Daypack while strolling along our Birds of a Feather Interpretive Trail.
Throughout the year, the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy leads a bird walk at the Blue Ridge Center. Bird Walks are typically on the fourth Saturday of the month at 8:00 a.m. -- please check our calendar for upcoming dates. Beginners are welcome and encouraged to attend.