Harrisonburg and Rockingham County launch online trail guide

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 7:45 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Harrisonburg and Rockingham County have partnered on a tourism project to create an online trail guide and are hoping to draw more visitors to the area’s many hiking trails. The online guide will be a resource for outdoor enthusiasts.

The website was developed using a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Rockingham County will be producing paper guides as well. The guide highlights 15 different trails and trail systems around the area and provides details about each one to help hikers and bikers plan their trip.

“We highlight the distance, we highlight an ability level for the various trails. We highlight where you can park and if there are any amenities like freshwater or restroom facilities, how much parking there is, and the directions, how to get there, and also how to follow the trail system,” said Harrisonburg Tourism Manager Jennifer Bell.

The site also includes the elevation and difficulty of each of the trails and distinguishes biking and hiking trails. Jennifer Bell said that tourism is on the rise in the area post-COVID and outdoor recreation is a big part of that.

“We’ve been able to see a really positive reestablishment of tourism in Harrisonburg since the decline from the pandemic. We’re really seeing a lot of people interested in traveling here and seeing our visitor spending go up,” she said.

Bell said that more and more people have been visiting the Valley for its outdoor recreation after they got into hiking or biking during the pandemic.

“This was a really great fit. One of the trends that came out of COVID was some people who had never gone hiking or camping before tried it and they want to do more hiking but they don’t necessarily know where to go, so we’re trying to highlight and give people the resources they need to find great hikes and great trails,” she said.

The guide also directs people to shops and outfitters in Harrisonburg that sell the gear they will need for hiking or biking.

“Harrisonburg is a perfect base camp for hiking we have hiking shops, fishing outfitters, and three different cycling shops. We have great hotels and we’re unique from a lot of locations where you might go camping,” said Bell.

The City’s Tourism Department encourages people to leave feedback on what they would like to see added to the online guide and said it hopes to add more trails to it in the future.