Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside. With a few basic preparations, you and your family can enjoy winter hiking at state park in Virginia.
Holliday Lake State Park
Most parks are open every day of the year for day use from dawn until dusk. Here at Holliday Lake State Park we have Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest. Start small with one of our shorter trails, especially if you have young children.
Holliday Lake Dam
Work up to the Lakeshore Trail where you can enjoy the view from the dam built in the 1930s. With the leaves gone, the views of the lake and topography are spectacular. A little bit of planning can ensure that you and your family have a winter wonderful experience.
WINTER HIKING TIPS
- Plan your route. Know the length of the trail and the difficulty rating. Start with an easy, short hike and work your way up to a longer hike like the Northridge Trail are both short and easy. Either would be a great starting point. Don’t walk off the trail. This not only causes erosion issues, it can get you lost.
- Let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll return. Never travel alone.
- Take a simple first aid kit. Don’t go overboard, but a few bandages and some antibacterial cream can be a lifesaver. Other good ideas include: gauze and tape, anti-itch cream, pain reliever, tweezers, pocket knife, and an emergency foil blanket.
- Dress in layers and bring rain gear. It’s no fun being cold or wet, especially if you’re a mile from the car. Each child can carry a small backpack with his/her rain jacket.
- Carry plenty of water. Dehydration is a common problem in winter as well as summer and nothing is better than water to combat this. Never drink unpurified water from the lake or creeks. A thermos with a warm beverage (coffee, hot cocoa) left in your car can be a nice reward for completing your hike.
- Bring high-energy snacks like granola bars, fruit, or trail mix. A short break with a quick snack can help to perk up tired children and adults. Again, each child can carry his/her own. Don’t litter. Use the pack it in, pack it out rule.
- Provide some motivation for children. A game of “I spy” will entertain younger children. Older children might enjoy keeping a wildlife journal. Our scavenger hunt would be a fun thing to do. Something to look forward to is also a way to keep them interested. While hiking the Lakeshore Trail, the Dam is about half-way.
- Don’t approach animals. This includes ALL animals encountered on the trail—stray dogs to bears. If you see a dangerous wild animal remember: don’t panic, keep your distance, back away slowly. Never run, crouch down, or play dead.
Location of the park: 2759 State Park Road, Appomattox, Virginia 24522. Access via State Route 24 between Appomattox and U.S. Route 60 and from Routes 626 (Holiday Lake Road), 640 (Wooldridge Road), and 692 (State Park Road).
Approximate drive times: Northern Virginia, three and a half hours; Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, four hours; Roanoke, two hours; Farmville, thirty minutes.