Once the site of raging battles, Virginia’s scenic and historic battlefields now stand peaceful and silent in the midst of our modern life and busy world. To really appreciate the beauty and history of the battlefields, you need to hit the trails and experience them for yourself. Here are 10 battlefield hikes in Virginia that everyone should try. These trails have been chosen because they are relatively short – between a quarter of a mile and three miles – and relatively easy with fairly level terrain and solid footing. Along these trails you’ll see some of the prettiest countryside in Virginia and learn about the history of the land. The trails are listed in alphabetical order as they are all equally splendid!

Brandy Station

This Civil War Trust Trail is an easy, scenic 2-mile round trip that offers panoramic views of the rolling hills of Northern Virginia on which the Union and Confederate cavalries clashed in 1863.

Drewry's Bluff

This Richmond National Battlefield Park trail is truly a step back in time as it meanders through the mounds and trenches of an original Confederate fort overlooking the James River. There are viewing platforms and benches for sitting and relaxing.

Fisher's Hill

Named after Confederate Gen. Dodson ‘Dod’ Ramseur, the Ramseur’s Hill Trail is a scenic 1-mile loop that goes to the top of Ramseur’s Hill. This Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation trail has seven stops with interpretive signs and benches for sitting and enjoying the views of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

Fredericksburg

The Sunken Road Trail at the Fredericksburg National Battlefield Park is a 1/2-mile loop that follows the Sunken Road and Stone Wall past the historic Innis House and ascends Marye’s Heights offering views of the spires of downtown Fredericksburg before passing through the Fredericksburg National Cemetery and Union Monuments.

High Bridge

Part of High Bridge Trail State Park, this 3-mile round-trip trail across the High Bridge rewards visitors with magnificent views of South Side Virginia. This multi-use hiking, cycling and equestrian trail provides seating areas to sit and relax and enjoy the view.

Manassas I

The 1-mile long Henry Hill Walking Tour passes through the heart of the First Manassas Battlefield with stops at the sites of major battle actions. National Park Service Rangers offer guided tours, or you can hike it yourself. The trail follows a mowed grass track over gently rolling hills with scenic views.

Manassas II

The scenic 1-mile Chinn Ridge Trail at the Manassas National Battlefield Park is paved and suitable for mobility devices. Here there are interpretive signs that tell the story of the Union's valiant last stand at Manassas before their final retreat.

New Market

The 1-mile walking tour at New Market Battlefield features interpretive signs on a scenic footpath that takes you through the restored and recreated historic Bushong Farm and the Pennsylvania Monument.

Petersburg Breakthrough

The Breakthrough Trail at Pamplin Historical Park passes by nearly one mile of impressive, well-preserved Confederate fortifications in a scenic woodland. The trail offers three length options ranging from 1/4 mile to 1-1/4 mile.

Sailors Creek

Sailors Creek Battlefield Park features the 1-mile Custis Lee Trail and the 3/4-mile Confederate Overlook Trail. Both trails are easy and scenic and follow a mowed grass track with interpretive signs. You can also walk or drive approximately one mile to the Hillsman House that served as a Union field hospital.


Pictured above: Sam enjoying a hike at Sailors Creek Battlefield State Park.