Sky Meadows State Park

Hooray for early Christmas presents! My sister and I have been exchanging experience gifts with each other’s families for the past several years. I usually get her a family membership to her local zoo, and she often gets us theater tickets. Since the theater obviously isn’t an option this year, she bought us an annual Virginia State Parks Pass instead. The official pass card will come in the mail closer to Christmas, but I received an email confirmation yesterday that works as a temporary pass. Since it was 60 degrees out today, I decided not to wait until Christmas to break it in. Off we went to Sky Meadows State Park.

While I have friends who have hiked at Sky Meadows, this was a first-time visit for us. Located just about an hour from our home in northwestern Fairfax County, this was an easy trip down 66 for us. Between its convenient location, large size, and multitude of trails, this is a park that we could come back to again and again.

Shortly after entering the park, there were signs on the right for the Children’s Discovery Trail. This is a gentle, child-friendly loop, and there are plenty of educational and exploratory resources here to help guide children around the trail. I had explored the resources and had every intention of stopping in this area, but when we got there my eye was drawn towards the hills. I made the split decision to keep going in search of the best view we could find, and decided to park in the Visitor’s Center parking lot.

Well, hello there.

Boasting a small gift shop (which we didn’t enter) and pandemic-friendly bathrooms (which we did), the Visitor’s Center is nestled in the section of the park known as the Historic Area. This area is home to the historic Mount Bleak farmhouse, as well as a barn and several outbuildings. We opted not to take a farmhouse tour for obvious reasons, but we appreciated that the outbuilding doors were open, allowing us to peak inside without actually entering.

When we had our fill of the historic area, we headed over to the trailhead across the street from the farmhouse to pick up a map and plan our next course of action. We decided to hike the Piedmont Overlook Trail, which is only .61 mile long each way (1.22 miles round trip), but turned about to be a lot steeper than we realized.

I saw kids as young as six or seven climbing the Piedmont Overlook Trail with their parents, as well as a younger kiddo in a hiking backpack. The trail is comfortably wide and has an easy tread, but it’s steep elevation is no joke.

I thought I spotted the summit from the bottom of the trail, but that turned out to be only the halfway point! We took a break at that halfway spot before heading all the way to the top.

The views were still quite lovely even from the half-way point.

It was such a gorgeous day and we were tired from the climb, so we sat on the overlook’s hill for a good 15 minutes or so before making our way back down to the Historic Area.

The view from the top (and my favorite photo of the day)

There, we grabbed our lunch and picnic blanket from the car before heading down the Corporal Morgan Trail.

The Corporal Morgan Trail

The Corporal Morgan Trail is a longer but less intense trail that winds through trees and fields. It ends at a picnic area after 1.61 miles, but we only went a third of a mile or so before finding the perfect picnic spot: an empty, fenced-in meadow.

Since we had a time-sensitive commitment in the afternoon, we packed up and left after our picnic. Still, we spent a fabulous 2.5 hours in Sky Meadows State Park, and we will definitely return to explore more of its extensive trails. I’m so grateful for our new annual pass, and I see many more State Park visits in our future!

One final shot of Sky Meadows State Park…we’ll be back!

4 thoughts on “Sky Meadows State Park

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