The Noland Trail is a five mile wooded path around Mariners’ Lake. It is a popular walking, hiking and running spot in the central part of Newport News VA.
Noland Trail Details
At Travel Trail Sail, we are always on the lookout for a good hiking trail. If you find yourself in Newport News VA and need a walk in the woods, you have two options; the Noland Trail and Newport News Park.
The Noland Trail is an award winning hiking trail around Mariners’ Lake. It goes through 550 acres of rolling woodland.
Most people start their hike on the Noland Trail at the Mariners’ Museum which is located at 100 Museum Drive in Newport News. It’s centrally located in Newport News, near the Mariner’s Museum and Christopher Newport University.
There is a large parking lot at the Mariners’ Museum and you can usually find a parking space. There are a few additional parking spaces along Museum Drive and at the Lion’s Bridge. From the parking lot you can start the trail clockwise at the North Entrance to the trail just across the road from the parking lot. If you prefer to go counter clockwise, follow the path from the parking lot to the South.
While the trail is five miles long, there are a few options for shorter hikes. You could take the Meadow Path toward the end of the trail to shave off about a half mile. For an even shorter hike, opt to take the trail counter clockwise until you get to the split just before the Lion’s Bridge then return using the Meadow Path.
There are fourteen bridges on the trail. These often have a great view of the lake. You can often find turtles swimming in the water near the bridges. It’s also a great place to bird watch.
There are a few places to take a break along the trail where benches are provided.
You can also take a break at one of the lookouts located along the trail; the Holly Tree Overlook, Pine Tree Overlook and Oak Tree Overlook. These are a nice place to rest and enjoy the view of Mariners’ Lake.
Most of the Noland Trail is wooded and relatively quiet. There is one section that runs parallel with Warwick Boulevard where you will likely hear some traffic noise.
Trail markers are provided every half mile.
About halfway around the trail, you’ll come to the Lion’s Bridge, a Newport News landmark where you can see both Mariners’ Lake and the James River.
The Lions were created by Anna Hyatt Huntington in the 1930s. She was among the best sculptors of her time. She worked out of a residence and studio named Atalya. You can see more of Atalaya in our Huntington Beach State Park review as that park was created from her residence.
Near the Lions Bridge, you can also see another of her sculptures, Conquering the Wild.
If you do the trail clockwise, when you are nearing the end of your hike you’ll come to a point that can be confusing. To make it back to the parking lot, take the trail branch to the left rather than continuing straight. The trail continues on the other side of the road.
Noland Trail Terrain
The Noland Trail has some terrain elements like hills. The trail is mostly dirt though there are some sandy sections. One portion of the trail near the Lion’s Bridge is covered with oyster shells.
The Noland Trail has hills which often have wood beams installed to reduce trail erosion.
There are tree roots on the trail so watch your step. The roots are usually marked with bright orange paint just before a significant event like a 5K or marathon but the paint fades over time.
Using strollers on the Noland Trail is generally not recommended. However, the Meadow Path is and easy level portion of the trail and would be a great place for walking with a stroller.
Noland Trail Video
Check out our YouTube video featuring a hike on the Noland Trail.
Visit The Mariners’ Museum
After your hike, consider a visit to the Mariners’ Museum. The Mariners’ Museum has over 60,000 square feet dedicated to maritime history. Among their exhibits include the Monitor Center, dedicated to preserving and displaying the Monitor, a Civil War ironclad. Admission is only $1. The address is 100 Museum Drive Newport News VA 23606
Special Events At The Noland Trail
Every October, the Mariners’ Museum hosts a pirate-themed race on the Noland Trail. In 2019, the race was extended into a Marathon and Relay where up to five people could complete the race as a team. In November 2022, the race will be the Noland Trail 50K.
Noland Trail Hours
The Noland Trail is free and open to the public. It is generally open sunrise to sunset each day. The trail is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Published November 10, 2019. Updated August 10, 2022.
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