42nd Virginia State Park offers hiking, equestrian trails with expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Governor Glenn Youngkin has officially dedicated Sweet Run State Park in Loudoun County. The 884-acre park, crossed by Sweet Run and Piney Run streams, features expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“Sweet Run State Park will be the first State Park in Loudoun County, and will preserve this valley’s steeped agricultural, natural and cultural history,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Expanding our stellar Virginia State Parks system, this new park demonstrates our continued commitment to invest in Virginia’s future and ensure that it’s the best state to live, work – and get outdoors and play.”
Sweet Run, which had a soft opening in late May, is the 42nd park in the Virginia State Park system. The park connects to the Appalachian Trail and complements the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park system. It offers 11 miles of hiking and 9 miles of equestrian trails along streams, through mature forest, meadows and mountain-side terrain. Amenities include a picnic pavilion and nature play area for children.
“Our State Parks provide valuable public access to nature for people and families all over the Commonwealth and with the addition of Sweet Run, Loudoun County residents and those visiting will have access to outdoor experiences that they otherwise would not have had,” said Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles. “Our administration is committed to providing new and expanded opportunities for Virginians to recreate outdoors and enjoy the Commonwealth’s natural resources.”
The state acquired the property from the Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation in two phases, beginning with a donation of 604 acres in June 2016. An additional 280-acre parcel, which included the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, was paid for by Loudoun County and transferred to the state in February 2022. Local land trust Old Dominion Land Conservancy temporarily owned and assisted with facilitating both transfers to DCR.
“We’re excited to dedicate Sweet Run along with our many partners, including local county officials, Old Dominion Land Conservancy, the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, and especially Robert and Dee Leggett,” said Matt Wells, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which manages Virginia State Parks. “DCR and Virginia State Parks are fortunate to have many established partnerships to support this park, including the Between the Hills Conservancy, which recently became designated as the park’s Friends group, as well as U.S. Trail Ride, which helps to maintain the park’s trail system.”
“Adding Sweet Run to Virginia’s State Park system helps to fulfill our mission to conserve the natural, scenic, historic and cultural resources of the Commonwealth and provide recreational and educational opportunities consistent with the good stewardship of these lands, waters and facilities that leaves them unimpaired for future generations,” said Dr. Melissa Baker, Director of Virginia State Parks. “The park already boasts a volunteer program with over 50 volunteers who assist across all aspects of park operations.”
“We continue to offer programs for all ages that showcase the park’s historical, cultural, and natural resources,” said Sweet Run State Park Manager Kevin Bowman. “This park is still under development and parking is limited so I encourage all guests to review the park’s Know Before You Go web page before their visit.”
To learn more about Virginia State Parks, visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.