There are certain times when the best way to relieve stress levels is to simply escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get into nature. Communing with the great outdoors can be wonderfully restorative and there’s no better place to do exactly that than Smith Mountain Lake. This inviting and undeniably scenic destination is settled amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains and provides a wonderful balance of woods, water, and mountain peaks to be enjoyed. Whether you’re one for the trails or the waves, an escape to Smith Mountain Lake is just what you need to find your Zen once again.
Smith Mountain Lake opens up over 500 miles of shoreline to guests, meaning there’s plenty of space to get out on the water and enjoy time filled with views and tranquility. Find a vast number of boat rental options by visiting Bridgewater Marina in Moneta and booking your boat for the day. Take time to fish from your watery vantage point or simply take in the sights and indulge in the quiet. When you’re satisfied with your time on the waves, head back into the marina, drop off your boat, kayak or canoe, and continue your exploration of Bridgewater Plaza. While this area has a reputation as a family-fun stop, those visitors looking for a more tranquil moment could find it in feeding some of the oversized carp that call this area home. Spend some time in quiet reflection as these gentle giants happily take food from your hand. Bridgewater Plaza is also home to Ice Cream Cottage for those that find a quiet moment with a sweet treat in hand can fix any wrong in the world.
If you’re more the type to find your centering moment with boots laced up hitting the hiking trails, a trek along one of the trails at Smith Mountain Lake State Park should do the trick. You will find a variety of trails ranging from easy .3-mile hikes to the moderate 3.1-mile Striper Cove trail. When you’re craving a tranquil trek along a wooded path that still manages to offer up some stunning lakeside views, consider setting your sights on Turtle Island Trail during your escape to Smith Mountain Lake. The trailhead is easily accessed near Huddleston at Smith Mountain Lake State Park and hikers will enjoy traveling a 1.2-mile loop complete with lake and river vistas. With an elevation gain of just over 100-feet, this trail is rated easy for hikers of all abilities and makes for a wonderful place to walk your worries away. Dogs are allowed on Turtle Island Trail as long as they are leashed.
When you can’t wait to put your hiking skills to the test, consider extending your trekking experience and take to Buck Run Trail instead. This route offers up 2.5 miles of trail to follow and explore with an access point similarly located near Huddleston. With an elevation gain of 242 feet, hikers will find some steep points and rocky terrain make for a wonderful intriguing challenge. If you’re hoping to up the adrenaline-pumping fun, take to this trail on a mountain bike and the reward of amazing views can be paired with heart-pounding adventure.
Taking time to unwind near Smith Mountain Lake can also come with a side of something savory. When you’re hoping to enjoy some peace and tranquility while tasting the flavors of the region, head over to Ramulose Ridge Vineyards. This Moneta-based vineyard is a great place to enjoy a tasting and offers up sprawling field views complete with rolling green hills. When you’re hoping to create an entire wine-tasting adventure during your stay, consider stopping over to Hickory Hills Vineyard next and comparing labels and regional flavors. This family-owned establishment invites guests to stop in and simply savor a tasting experience that comes with a view, or spend some time in conversation with the owners Donald and Wendy. Once you’ve had the chance to enjoy a drink or two, take time to browse the on-site gift shop and feel free to purchase a bottle to take with you. Don’t be surprised if a stop at either of the above-mentioned vineyards has you lingering longer than you planned. The tranquility of rolling hills, vines that stretch across acres, and a backdrop of stunning landscapes have a way of capturing the mind and imaginations of guests who find themselves longing to return.
Looking to try something new that keeps you close to the great outdoors? Book a private horseback riding experience at Spring Valley Farms and take to the trails where nature is waiting to be encountered in abundance. You don’t have to be an expert equestrian to enjoy this moment as the staff on-hand are more than willing to help with instructions prior to hitting the trails.
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