Virginia's Heritage Trails

Driving tours in Virginia can be made with most any context you choose – the Civil War, birds and other wildlife, shopping and a half dozen wine trails, to mention but a few.

Virginia's heritage trails lead groups to the birthplace of country music, through wine country, and to the best places to shop or view birdlife. Explore Civil War battlefields, Colonial and Civil Rights history with informative guides and sites that accommodate groups large and small.

The new Wilderness Road, Virginia's Heritage Migration Route, traces the footsteps of Daniel Boone and some 300,000 westward pioneers from Winchester, down the Shenandoah Valley and through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky. Groups will fi nd myriad opportunities for shopping, history, dining and lodging along Routes 11 and 58.

Journey Through Hallowed Ground meanders 175 miles from Gettysburg, PA to Charlottesville, VA, a swath of land holding more American history than any other in the nation. From the cradle of democracy, through the tragedy of Civil War, to the struggles of African Americans for freedom and equality, sites on the trail highlight three centuries of poignant events.

The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail driving tour links eight classic mountain music venues, from the Floyd Country Store to the new state-of-the-art Dr. Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood. From Galax to Bristol, birthplace of country music, the Crooked Road leads straight to the heart of Virginia's mountain music country.

Virginia's statewide network of Birding and Wildlife Trails became a national first in 2005. Colorful, detailed guides to Coastal, Piedmont and Mountain regions aid avid birders who want the best spots for fall migration of waterfowl on the Eastern Shore; unique urban bird watching spots in Richmond; and mountain lookouts to spy birds of prey soaring above the Allegheny Mountains.

One room schoolhouses, churches and historic birthplaces tell the story of the educational struggles African Americans, Native Americans and women engaged in throughout Southern Virginia, on the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Forty-one sites in all commemorate how minorities charted their educational destinies. The beauty of Southern Virginia, its small towns and long tree-shaded byways, frame this 300-mile self-guided route.

Struggles of another kind are detailed along five inter-connected Civil War Trails in the state that has more significant Civil War sites - 388 to be exact - than any other in the country. Historic markers along Route 11 tell the story of the Shenandoah Valley campaigns that raged from Winchester south to Roanoke. The 1862 Peninsula Campaign includes sites in Newport News that host annual re-enactments. Lee's Retreat through Southern Virginia is another fascinating trail.

Virginia's wine trails are clustered by region, from the Chesapeake Bay to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most routes are easily done in one day or a weekend. Overnight visitors can enjoy the comfort of area hotels or four-season golf-and-spa resorts. Several wineries even offer lodging, like Williamsburg, and group meals, like Barboursville, Prince Michel, and Oasis.

The Northern Virginia Shopping Trail takes you through historic old towns of Manassas, Occoquan, Alexandria and Fairfax to the best farmer's markets, unique boutiques and outlet malls. Experience open-air shopping in Reston Town Center or the world-famous Tysons Corner shopping district with more than 500 stores. Rest up at a spa resort like the Westfields Marriott near Washington Dulles Airport or the Ritz-Carlton at Tysons Corner.

The Jamestown Discovery Trail follows the Route 5 Scenic Byway, taking in all the grandeur of seven James River Plantations. Travel from 1607 at Historic Jamestowne, through the Civil War and the end of slavery.

Cycle through history with Virginia's Official State Bicycling Map. Routes include the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Northern Virginia's W & OD Trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail, and the Heart of Appalachia Bike Route, 128 miles through the remote southwest mountain region.

For up-close brushes with nature, try the 8.5-mile Dismal Swamp Canal Trail in Chesapeake or the 57-mile New River Trail State Park, a rail trail that is Virginia's only linear state park.

Follow Thomas Jefferson's journey from his home at Monticello to his newly restored retreat at Poplar Forest. Along the way, experience the region's fantastic wineries, restaurants, breweries, attractions, museums, antique shopping, art centers, live theatre, quaint bed and breakfasts, biking trails, nature walks and more as you enjoy the exceptional beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains on Route 29. Make it a day trip or a weekend! Get a map from


History and Heritage Itineraries