With several access points to the A.T., Page County, Virginia has established a reputation as a “hiker-friendly” area with a strong commitment to sustaining outdoor recreation. The county is a gateway community to the Shenandoah National Park, Shenandoah Valley, and the Appalachian Trail for visitors arriving from the Washington, DC area. Our area is within an hour drive of thousands of miles of trails and Luray is the halfway point between the Waynesboro and Front Royal portions of the Trail. Cycling, camping, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, cavern-exploring and other activities are hugely popular.
The Valley, visible from the Trail for 250 miles, is abundant in natural beauty and cultural heritage, providing the perfect backdrop to foster and support an outdoor recreation haven for residents and visitors. The Appalachian Trail Community designation provides the tools it needs to grow stewardship for the Trail and protect the scenic views from the Trail.
As the County seat, Luray area businesses are beginning to recognize the positive economic impact that hikers bring to their business and to our community. Hiker-friendly establishments in Luray specifically include:
- The Luray-Page County Visitors Center is a favorite spot for hikers. Staff can provide information about local services and attractions, and the nearby retailer Appalachian Outdoors Adventures can provide hikers with all the gear, supplies and information they may need;
- Our library is very hiker-friendly, located right beside the Visitor's Center;
- The Luray Fitness Center offers showers at a rate of $5 per day;
- Many restaurants in town provide meals to go, packaged expressly to fit in a backpack. These affordable lunches/meals are provided onsite and at an affordable price. (Including but not limited to restaurants such as Fairview Grocery, Outlanders Deli, and Main Street Bakery.).
- Shuttle Services throughout our County cater to A.T. hikers, including Jenkins Shuttle Service, Yellow Cab of Luray and Shenandoah River Adventures.
- Tent space designated exclusively for A.T. hikers (at no cost) provided behind the Warehouse Art Gallery in downtown Luray.
Based on the importance of the A.T. to the community, a local church (United Methodist on Main St. in Luray) has begun offering free showers to hikers, and the elegant South Court Inn now offers a weekday-only “A.T. Hikers Special.” (Visit www.southcourtinn.com). Appalachian Outdoors Adventures,(http://www.appalachianoutdoorsadventures.com/) the town’s most complete backpacking supplier, has relocated to a more prominent spot in Luray, and the town of Stanley hopes one day to provide trails connecting its local parks directly to the A.T.
“We’re grateful to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for the designation, and to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club for all they do to maintain the A.T., and for the help they gave us to acquire this designation,” said John Robbins, president of the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce. “Our hope is that the designation doesn’t end with a one-day event, but builds momentum to protect the Trail and sustain a community sense of outdoor ethics.”
For more information about the area, visit www.luraypage.com.