Great Woodland Adventure Hike

Winding through the woods below Chimney Rock is the Great Woodland Adventure trail, a Kids In Parks TRACK Trail which aims to engage kids in learning about all that can be found in the forest. A perfect introductory hike for families with small children! Woodland creatures take the spotlight at 12 discovery stations along this easy winding trail. Kids will have a blast climbing all over them and spotting them in the woods. This is one of the easiest and most family-accessible trails in the region!

At A Glance

Easy 0.6 mi round-trip

Difficulty Rating: 0.74
Tread Condition: Graveled
Climb: Climbs Gently
Lowest Elevation: 1480
Highest Elevation: 1570
Total Elevation Gain: 90
Configuration: Loop
Starting Point: The Meadow, Grady’s Animal Discovery Den

Trails Used: Great Woodland Adventure

Hike Start Location


Hike Description

Owl at The Tree House
Owl at The Tree House

The Great Woodland Adventure trail is quite a unique experience, providing kids with such a variety of play and learning opportunities, like a half-mile long learning playground. You'll look for a variety of forest creatures of all shapes and sizes, represented by well-placed figures which might require a little hunting to locate, giving the little ones motivation to keep going to see what's next.

There are 12 main discovery stations along the trail, each spotlighting a particular creature or habitat for kids to explore. On easy-to-read signs, Grady the Groundhog, the Park’s mascot, illustrates how his forest friends live, including chipmunks, frogs, owls and butterflies, spiders, turtles and birds of prey. Larger-than-life wood and metal sculptures lie along the trail and in the woods, bringing an extra dimension of discovery to the path.

The trail's literature - both the brochures you can bring with you as well as signs strategically placed along the trail - is filled with interesting information, proving that Grady the Groundhog, the park's famouse February prognosticator, knows more about the natural world he lives in than just when Spring will arrive.

Starting at the upper end of the Meadows, beside the Grady’s Groundhog Animal Discovery Den, the trail is marked by a big arch entrance sign. On the deck of the Discovery Den, stop and pick up the current TRACK Trails brochures that help kids learn more about the Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains while on the trail. The trail is easy to follow, with only a few steps and a bridge or two in places. Plus, it's short enough that even if the little ones conk out, adults can safely carry them back to the car without too much trouble.

Don't forget to check out Grady’s Animal Discovery Den after hiking the trail! Grady’s Den is home to lots of forest friends, like reptiles and amphibians. There’s plenty of information available to learn about them inside the Den. And finally, the enclosures out back are home to Greta the Groundhog and her pal Fionna, a Virginia Opossum. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

For those with older children looking for a bit more of a hike, you can take the Four Seasons trail across the street up to the main Chimney area instead of driving. Trails in that area link with all others on this side of the park.

All Photos from This Hike

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Susan tripp said: Can you bring dogs on hike

Tuesday, August 9 2016 8:04am
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