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Piney River is a very small, unincorporated place in Nelson County, Virginia, 113 miles east of the state’s capital Richmond. The closest vet clinics and animal hospitals are in Lovingston which is 11 miles northeast, and Amherst which is 10 miles south of Piney River.
The drawcard to the town is the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail, where your pup will have a great on-lead walk with you through Piney River and onwards along the 6.5-mile gravel multi-use trail. It is an out-and-back trail, so remember that however far you go – you still need to get back! There are makers at every quarter mile to help you gauge how far you have walked, and picnic places and swimming holes along the way as you walk along the river. At the Piney River trailhead, there is parking and a restroom, but you will need to bring your own water, clean up bags and any food you might like to enjoy along the way.
Though Piney River is small, do take some time to walk through town, check out the local shopping centre and explore the river and creek areas. It is a quiet area, perfect for a bit of R&R with your four-legged pal. You are both sure to have a relaxing time in this lovely little place.
The James River State Park in Gladstone is a great place to bring your whole family for a day out, including your beloved furry friend. Pets are welcome throughout the park but must remain accompanied and leashed at all times. The park covers over 1500 acres of beautiful meadows and forest, plus over three miles of shoreline along the James River. There is something for everyone to enjoy here; 15 miles of multi-use trails, kayaks and canoes for rent, fishing spots along the river or in the freshwater ponds, picnic areas, shelters and a natural playground. You can even camp or stay in one of the on-site cabins with your dog!
West of Piney River in the locality of Amherst is access to the Appalachian Trail which covers an extensive 2200 miles across eastern USA. Your dog is welcome to enjoy this trip with you, just keep him leashed at all times. From Long Mountain Wayside, you can jump onto the trail which meanders through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and walk out-and-back as far as you desire either north or south. The Appalachian Trail is known for covering quite rugged terrain, so go prepared with appropriate footwear and clothing, plenty of water for you and your accompanying pup, bug spray and clean up bags. Trail maps and more information are available through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Of all the trail walks in the area, Crabtree Falls in Montebello offers the most spectacular scenery by far and pups are permitted here, as long as they remain leashed and you clean up after them. Crabtree Falls is known as the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, covering a total distance of 1200 feet. There is a series of five major cascades and a number of smaller cascades dotted along the walking trail which makes up the 3.8 mile out/back Crabtree Falls hike. You can continue for a further 1.4 miles along Crabtree Creek, or if you are really adventurous, keep going along the 13.9-mile Crabtree Falls/Spy Rock route. Campsites are available along the creek, should you wish to stopover for a night and make the most of your time here. There is a small parking fee, so bring some change.
A scenic 28-mile drive east of Piney River takes you to Buena Vista and the 315-acre pet-friendly Glen Maury Park. Here you will find wooded trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and restroom facilities, as well as a campground where you are permitted to stay with your furry pal. Also in Buena Vista is the trailhead to the Chessie Nature Trail, a seven-mile trail that follows the route of the old Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. Dogs are welcome along this trail, but keep your pet leashed as there are many animals to be seen along here, including some large beasts such as donkeys and even cows from neighbouring farming land. Always clean up after your pet when out and about.
For a selection of pup-friendly places to eat, head up to Nellysford, 17 miles northeast of Piney River. There are three place here that allow pets at one of their outdoor tables. Basic Necessities offers up a delicious menu of classic European-inspired meals for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Stoney Creek Bar and Grill at Wintergreen Resort is the place to go for a light lunch or dinner and spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wild Wolf Brewing Company specialises in locally-sourced food and environmentally sustainable practices in their restaurant and at their on-site brewery. This includes recycling, composting, water conservation finding clever ways to utilise by-products of food and beverage production.
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