At Ease: Long Hike, Short Hike (or both at a Battlefield)
Hit The Trails!
Cooler weather has arrived in Central Virginia these last few weeks which means the autumn colors will be following soon. Whether you live locally or are planning a trip to the battlefields in the future, we thought it might be helpful to highlight a favorite walking trail at each battlefield. Several of the featured trails cross land that CVBT has helped to preserve. If you're looking for more details about the trail systems within the national battlefields, check out this guide on the National Park Service website to download maps or brochures for more trails at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, or Spotsylvania.
The Votes Are In!
Here are the answers we received for the surveys about your favorite trails:
Slaughter Pen Farm
CVBT Preservation Partners raised $1,000,000 to assist American Battlefield Trust with the purchase of this key property at Fredericksburg. Here, Federal troops formed and attacked Confederate lines, breaking through at one key point on December 13, 1862. Five Medals of Honor were presented for action on this hallowed ground. There's an approximately 1.75 mile walking trail at Slaughter Pen Farm which is open dawn to dusk, south of Fredericksburg, off Route 2. Tip: if it's a hot day, take extra water since there's no shade.
Sarah (CVBT Staff) took a hike at McLaws Wedge and you can tag along virtually through the new video. The property—now part of Chancellorsville National Battlefield—was originally saved by Central Virginia Battlefields Trust in 1998. The 99-acre tract has compelling stories from multiple battle days in May 1863, including a site where General Lee watched part of the battle and the location of Colonel Nelson Mile's wounding.
Wilderness Crossroads Area
We recommend a trail departing from Ellwood Manor (NPS) as a great way to overlook the properties preserved at Wilderness Crossroads and Grant's Knoll. Known as the Wilderness Crossing Trail, it's about 1.5 miles round trip—starting from Ellwood's parking lot. (If the parking lot is closed and you walk from the gate, add another mile for your daily steps!) Check out this trail map and guide from Friends of Wilderness Battlefield. The trail offers views of Grant's Knoll and the 174 acres that CVBT has preserved around the Wilderness Crossroads.
Trails at Spotsylvania
Put on your good hiking shoes for this 5.5 mile trail at Spotsylvania National Battlefield.(Or check out the map and customize a shorter distance for yourself!) In a couple more weeks the autumn foliage in the forest and grassy fields should be superb.
Civil War Trails
Civil War Trails works with communities across Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Tennessee to add interpretation and help travelers stand in the footsteps of the generals, soldiers, citizens, and the enslaved who found themselves in the midst of the Civil War. You've probably seen the Civil War Trails pull-off signs or interpretive panels here in Central Virginia. They are often an informative surprise on trails and also a great way to plan an autumn drive with lots of history! Feel free to "wing it" and just pull over when you see the signs or reach out the staff at Civil War Trails to inquire for maps and some localized touring ideas.
Central Virginia Battlefields Trust's mission is to preserve, protect, and educate about Civil War hallowed ground at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.