The weather is finally changing here in Harrisonburg, VA. It is starting to actually feel like fall and I think it is safe to say this weather is here to stay. As basic as it sounds, fall is my absolute favorite season. There’s a lot of fun things going on, and the weather is perfect. This time of year is also my favorite because it allows me to get outside, and get my work out on in the process. I am going to share with you some of my favorite places in Harrisonburg to get outside and exercise during the fall months.
Have you ever been to the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum? If your answer is no, you are seriously missing out. This beautiful 125-acre botanical preserve consists of 33 acres of botanical garden and 92 acres of forest. It has a diverse population of native and non-native plants and a wetlands garden. The Arboretum is the perfect place to go for a walk or run in the fall. There are walking paths in the main area of the garden and additional trails throughout the arboretum that are great for running or biking. It is located off of University Blvd. right next to East Campus, so it is super close and convenient. It is open dusk to dawn every day to JMU students as well as the public, so be sure to take your friends and family on a walk next time they are in town. JMU is the only public university in Virginia to have an arboretum on campus, so be sure to take advantage of it. For more information about what the arboretum has to offer check out their website at http://www.jmu.edu/arboretum/.
If you are some sort of athlete at JMU you may be familiar with UPark. If not, it is likely that you have never been there before. I discovered UPark when my sorority participated in a flag football tournament there. It is a great place for students, athlete or not, to utilize. Some think of this park as the “backyard” of JMU and is large enough to accommodate up to 4,000 people at a time if fully utilized. This park is only open to JMU students and you must have your JAC to enter the facility. You enter the park through the Gatehouse, which is essentially the welcome center. It has multi-purpose turf, basketball courts, tennis courts, sand volley ball courts, an event lawn, and a disc golf course. Tired of running or doing your repetitive regular workout routine? UPark is a great place to try something new and have some fun while you exercise. At the Gatehouse, you can check out Frisbees, tennis racquets, footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, volley balls, and disc golf sets. The facility is located at the end of Devon Lane, at the corner of Neff Avenue and Port Republic Rd. Hours vary depending on the time of year, so visit http://www.jmu.edu/recreation/facilities/park-hours.shtml for a complete list of hours.
Sunset Yoga at UPark
UPark is also home of sunset yoga. Sunset yoga is the perfect way to enjoy a sunset and some fitness simultaneously. Never done yoga before? No worries. This class welcomes all fitness levels and yogi’s. The class meets weekly depending on the weather, and is currently on Wednesday’s from 7-8 pm. You sign up for it on fusion, just like you would any other UREC group fitness class. It is a special class offered for a few weeks in the beginning of fall, so don’t miss your chance to enjoy a relaxing sunset to get you through the week. For more information, visit https://ems.jmu.edu/MasterCalendar/EventDetails.aspx?data=hHr80o3M7J5J4XKF0OVbirlbNIbWm4a0ElPMjTEJQ96CqrVeKXOZEs7x7M%2fy6MOT&_ga=1.130961226.472062770.1445879589.
Want to get off campus to exercise but not familiar with the Harrisonburg area? I’ve got you covered. Purcell Park is a very popular park among JMU students. It is a park off campus but not too far away. The park has softball/baseball fields, tennis courts, and trails that are about a mile and a half long. Purcell Park is a great place to run in particular, and the cool part is that a portion of the Bluestone Trail runs through it. Keep in mind if you plan to utilize the fields or tennis courts at this park, you will have to bring your own equipment. It is located off of South Main Street and Monument Avenue. There are two entrances to the park, one off of Monument Avenue and one off of Miller Circle (South Main Street). For more information on where this park is located, visit https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/purcell-park
Hillandale Park is my absolute favorite in Harrisonburg. It is a 74 acre park that has a community feel to it. I really enjoy running there, especially in the fall. Trees and foliage surround the park and it is absolutely stunning. It is also a good place if you are looking for a more challenging work out. It is quite hilly in some spots, but also has some pretty flat running trails in the woods. There are trails where you can walk, run, or bike, a sand volleyball court, two basketball courts, and horseshoe pinning areas. Again, if you are interested in any of the courts, you need to bring your equipment. For more information about how to get to Hillandale Park, visit https://www.harrisonburgva.gov/hillandale-park.
Reddish Knob is one of the most popular hiking spots among JMU students. It is about a 4 mile hike and only about an hour away from Harrisonburg. Reddish Knob borders Virginia and West Virginia, near Augusta County and is a part of the George Washington National Forrest. The summit of Reddish Knob is at about 4,400 feet in elevation. Beware: there are a few steep slopes and this hike does involve some mild rock climbing. Trust me, the beautiful 360 degree view of the Shenandoah Valley is well worth the climb. There are no fees associated with this hiking trail and it is open year round. If you decide to go in the colder months, be sure to check for bad weather conditions such as snow and ice. For an address and other information, visit http://www.summitpost.org/reddish-knob/151612.
These are some of the best places to be during the fall months at JMU. My goal is that these will help you spice up your fitness routine and spark up some motivation. Enjoy.
Peace, Love, DDP,