Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

C Shopper Columns


When looking for ways to get fit, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by all of the latest and greatest workout regimens, exercise equipment, gym memberships, and diets recommended by professionals and amateurs alike. Believe it or not, sometimes the easiest way to take that first step into fitness is literally taking a step. Go for a walk! Maybe you're like me: you've walked around your neighborhood hundreds of times during the pandemic and are sick and tired of the same old walk. Fortunately, Chesapeake's Parks and Recreations has you covered! Our city provides over 30 miles of trails spread between 11 different locations brimming with local flora and fauna that are sure to add variety to your walks.

Battlefield Park includes a scenic marsh overlook and a mile-and-a-quarter trail through a pine forest. This is a leisurely walk along the Intracoastal Waterway. 

If looking for a great get-away in the heart of the city, Bells Mill Park offers two and a half miles of mowed grass paths that offer scenic views of the Elizabeth River. Great place for a cross country run or a quiet morning of bird watching.
Keep an eye to the sky as eagles frequent the park. 

Chesapeake Arboretum has 45-acres of various themed gardens with three and a half miles of wooded trails. Deep Creek Lock Park has a mile of trails meandering through a wooded area with scenic overlooks and views of Deep Creek and historic locks. Deep Creek Park is a great pacer track. A one-mile packed stone dust trail circles around the park, starting and finishing next to the restrooms.

Our city provides 
over 30 miles of trails spread between 11 different locations brimming with local flora and fauna 
that are sure to add variety to your walks.

At Elizabeth River Park, you can watch the watermen work the Elizabeth River from one mile of intertwining sidewalks. Views of the tidal marsh, shorebirds, and the shipyard all in one walk. Indian River Park is a 90-acre urban-forest park with three and a half miles of hiking/walking trails and a quarter-mile section of the Virginia Tree Trail where trees are labeled for educational purposes. Northwest River Park boasts seven miles of hiking trails for the adventurous. Trails are well-marked, and wind through mature hardwoods, swamps, and new-growth forests. It is a great place for nature watching. Wear your boots! Oak Grove Lake Park is a mile-and-a-half, packed stone dust trail that makes circles around this 65-acre lake. Stop at one of six platforms to fish or watch the waterfowl.

Want to burn a few extra calories? Try the fitness stations that follow the walking trail. Western Branch Park has two miles of hiking trails that wander past two playgrounds, a tidal marsh, and a ball field. Last but certainly not least, the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, a former section of Virginia State Route 17, is now an eight-and-a-half-mile multi-use trail with surface parking and restrooms, open to bicycling, walking, running, horseback riding, and boating. 
You can find more information for each park - along with trail maps, park brochures, amenities, locations, and more - by visiting the City of Chesapeake's website and looking at the page for the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.