Trail Discovery for Kids: Graves Mill Trail

Hike Information

  • 2.5 miles out and back hike to the second water crossing.
  • Wide trail with easy, gradual elevation gain. There is one hill before the second turnaround at the second water crossing.
  • Continue straight on the Graves Mill Trail at .5 miles when it intersects the Staunton River Trail.
  • The trail is not jogging stroller passable due to a stream crossing at .6 miles into the hike.
  • Driving directions – From Culpeper, go south on U.S. 29 for about 20 miles. South of Madison, turn right at Route 230 West. Follow Route 230 for about four miles to Wolfton. Turn right at SR 662 and follow it to its end at the Shenandoah National Park boundary.
  • Trail map: no online resource. Purchase PATC Map #10 or see photo.

Age Appropriateness

  • This hike is best for children five years and older.

What is fun for kids?

  • The trail follows the babbling Rapidan River with a few rapids, particularly upstream.
  • At .75 miles on the trail, there is a great rock beach for a picnic lunch, rock throwing or skipping, and stream play in warmer weather or testing one’s balance on the ice.
  • At .4 miles on the trail, one of nature’s wonders is on view, beaver’s awe-inspiring engineering. The evidence of two beaver dams and two large lodges is littered on the river banks by the many pencil-pointed tree stumps. Possible opportunities to see the beavers in action are best during a dawn or dusk hike but shhh, beavers are very shy!
  • Try a little catch and release and bring a fishing pole. There are many brown trout in the river.


  • The first stream crossing is difficult for children. The stepping stones are adult stride. Waterproof sandals or shoes are a good option.
  • Popular hiking area. SNP provides twelve parking spots with parking restricted on the road.
  • There are no bathroom facilities.
  • Trash free park – pack your garbage out.

Hiking Along engages children in exploration of the natural world through hiking on scenic trails around the metro DC region. Groups of children, preschool to high school, participate in hands-on science activities to learn about the natural surroundings while hiking on trails. Visit for more information.

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OK Editorial Team

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