Loudoun County, Virginia, has a new jewel in its crown of natural treasures – Sweet Run State Park. This 884-acre expanse of unspoiled beauty, located in Hillsboro, is the very first state park in Loudoun County.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Sweet Run State Park embodies Loudoun County’s rich agricultural, natural, and cultural heritage. Nestled in the valley between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill mountains, known as “Between the Hills,” the park offers visitors breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
With 11 miles of hiking trails, 9 miles of equestrian trails, and a direct connection to the Appalachian Trail, Sweet Run State Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Two pristine streams, Sweet Run and Piney Run, meander through the park, adding to its natural allure.
The park provides recreational amenities for all ages, including a picnic pavilion and a “nature play area” for children. Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy hike-in about a mile to Gordon Pond, which teems with sunfish, largemouth bass, and crappie.
While exploring the park, you’ll encounter remnants of stone walls and historic structures, reminiscent of the 19th-century farming community that once called this land home. A beautifully restored farmhouse, dating back to the 1840s, stands as a testament to the area’s rich history.
A Gift to the Future
The Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation generously donated the initial 604 acres in 2016. Subsequently, Loudoun County acquired an additional 280 acres for $2.9 million in 2018 and transferred it to the state in 2022, making Sweet Run State Park a reality.
Conservation and Education
Melissa Baker, director of Virginia State Parks, emphasizes the importance of adding Sweet Run to Virginia’s State Park system. It aligns with their mission to conserve the natural, scenic, historic, and cultural resources of the Commonwealth while providing recreational and educational opportunities that leave these lands unimpaired for future generations.
The park offers regular events including Pop-In Playtime, Bird Hikes, and presentations on Migration, Hibernation, and Adaptation. This weekend you can join the Park Tales and Tails event to discover the park through hands-on activities and artifacts. It takes place on November 11th from 10am – 11am.
A Community Effort
Sweet Run State Park thrives with the support of over 50 volunteers and various organizations dedicated to its preservation and enhancement. This includes the Between the Hills Conservancy Group and the Loudoun County-based equestrian nonprofit, U.S. Trail Ride.
Plan Your Visit
Sweet Run Park is located at 11661 Harpers Ferry Rd., Hillsboro, VA 20132. While the park is open to the public, it’s still under development, and parking may be limited. It’s important to note that the park will be closed from November 20 to 27 for managed deer hunts. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the first state park in Loudoun County, Sweet Run State Park, a destination that preserves the past while embracing the future.
Looking for more outdoor activities? Check out our blog about Shenandoah National Park!