60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Richmond
by Nathan Lott (Menasha Ridge Press)
© Nathan Lott/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
Today was a beautiful, cold, clear fall morning, so I decided to go check out the trails at Westmoreland State Park. I decided to hike the 3.5 mile Turkey Neck Trail, then add a loop along the Laurel Point and Rock Spring Pond trails to make a roughly 5 mile total. The temperature definitely kept visitors away from the park, and I had the trail all to myself. The trail earns its 'moderate' difficulty rating with a fairly steep set of steps leading down to the meadow, and a corresponding steep set back up. It is also slightly unfriendly to a hiker with weak or wobbly ankles -- lots of exposed roots that are hidden by thick fallen leaves at this time of year. Overall it's a very pleasant trail, and the variety of scenery is refreshing. The first glimpse of the Potomac River (over 4 miles wide here) is breathtaking. The trails are generally well marked, and the map at the trailheads is accurate. The distances listed, however, are not -- they list the Turkey Neck Trail as 2.5 miles, while Nathan Lott's guide and my pedometer both agree that it is closer to 3.5 miles. There are many reminders along the trails of just how badly this park was beaten up by Hurricane Isabel a few years ago -- many trees down, erosion to the trails in some areas, and a few places with large trees still obstructing the trail. Overall, it was a very enjoyable hike, and I highly recommend this park to anyone interested in a unique hiking experience.
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