About the Blue/Bluff Trail
The Bluff/Blue trail of Germanna’s Siegen Forest provides a unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of history. Blue/Bluff Trail Guide (pdf)
This trail carries you across the bluff at the southwestern part of the property to a magnificent bluff overlooking the Rapidan River.
The trail is about 0.7 miles one way and is relatively flat. It goes across a peak of about 350 feet above sea level. The river is about 200 feet above sea level.
The trailhead is on County route 601, Flat Run Road just south of Constitution Highway (state route 3) in Locust Grove, Virginia.
The long-term goal of the foundation is to have a parking area at the trailhead, but until then there really is no easy-safe way to get to the trailhead.
About 100 yards to the southeast of the trail is the concrete remains of the Locust Grove Airway Beacon – National Geodetic Survey PID identification – HV5526.
Beginning in 1923, the U.S. Post Office began to complete a transcontinental airway of beacons on towers spaced 15-25 miles apart to guide night flights for the mail.
The large concrete pad was painted chrome yellow to guide daytime and good weather flights.
The trail has a cable across the entrance. The road is not passable so vehicular traffic is not allowed.
As you enter the trail, you may want to walk about 100 yards southeast to view the concrete pad of the Airway beacon.
Future research may uncover other portions of the beacon, but for now the large pad tells us it was here.
Note the geology of the trail on the map. You are walking a high ridge toward the river.
The closeness of the contour lines indicates steep drop-off and that is what you will see.
The dark lines are 50’ elevation change and the light lines are 10’ elevation changes.
When you get to the bluff, you have a great view of the river:
You are advised against trying to go down these slopes.
The drawing below is by Alfred Waud, “Rebel Earthworks Commanding the Passage at Germanna Ford Abandoned on the Approach of Meade’s Army,” November 26, 1863. Further research is needed to see if this is the location of the drawing.
Trail Rules & Safety Guidelines
Vehicles may park in marked parking spaces only. To help protect our trails and property, please remove/replace the yellow chain across our access road as you come and/or go after Visitor Center hours. Germanna Community College Security patrols our property, and visitors may be subject to video surveillance. There is no general public boat access to the river (members and organized groups may be granted boat access with advance written permission), and there are no restroom facilities along the trails. All visitors must adhere to “pack it in, pack it out” practices, and follow these additional rules and safety guidelines:
- Use of metal detectors or other sensing devices, digging or other ground disturbance, or removal or collection of artifacts, materials, plants, or relics is strictly prohibited. Please notify the Foundation if you see any evidence of such activities.
- Help protect our historical sites by staying on the trails. Do not walk on the Civil War earthworks or walk on or move rocks at any historical building sites.
- Do not drink water from streams or the river.
- Wear insect repellent and appropriate clothing and shoes. Beware of poison ivy, chiggers, ticks, and snakes. Foxes, bears and even a coyote have been reported in the Forest.
- Picnicking is allowed at the established area(s). No overnight camping and no fires are allowed, except for Scouts and other organized and supervised groups, and only with advance written permission from the Foundation. Pack out all your trash.
- Bicycles, motorized vehicles, and horses are not permitted on the trails. Dogs are allowed if leashed and all solid waste must be picked up and packed out.
- Although hunting inside the Foundation’s Siegen Forest is illegal, it is wise to exercise caution and wear bright colors when walking the trail during hunting season.
- Beware of trail hazards and uneven surfaces. Please notify the Foundation if you notice any areas of the trail requiring special maintenance or work. Wear sturdy shoes or boots.
- Road traces and animal trails crisscross the area. To stay on the hiking trail, follow the map carefully and look for the 2” x 6” colored blazes on the trees.
- Trail markings: a single blaze indicates you are on the path. The blazes are spaced so you should see the next one as you pass a blaze. A double blaze indicates the trail changes direction.