*Open Access for hiking on Saturdays is currently closed for hunting season and will re-open in mid-January*
Our 900-acre property is protected under a conservation easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. We have 15 miles of trails that traverse a variety of habitats, including grasslands, shrublands, and forests of a variety of ages and that visit special attractions, including vernal pools, overlooks, huge trees, and historic spring houses.
As you walk our trails, you can help us help us learn about the ecosystem by keeping your eyes and ears open. We use iNaturalist, eBird, Odonata Central, and eButterfly to document observations. Please look us up and add yours!
If it’s your first time visiting Clifton, we recommend signing up for one of our many free public programs! This will allow you to get the lay of the land with one of our expert staff members. If you want the opportunity to solo hike, please become a Friend of Clifton with a minimum contribution of $40 by donating here. You are a Friend for a year starting on the date of your donation.
The Clifton Institute is open to Friends of the Clifton Institute on Saturdays from mid-January to mid-October 10 AM to 4 PM. There are no open access days during deer hunting season.
By attending an open-access day, you are affirming that you have read and agree to our liability release policy (click here). As you walk our trails, you can help us take care of the field station by keeping your eyes and ears open to help us learn about the ecosystem we’re a part of and by enjoying and respecting the plants and animals that live here.
Hiking carries inherent risks. Please note that the hazards that may be encountered at the Clifton Institute include, but are not limited to, tick-borne disease, venomous snakes, allergic reaction to stinging insects, and uneven walking surfaces. Proceed at your own risk. Trails receive varying amounts of maintenance from staff and volunteers and navigation skills and a GPS app are recommended.
Open Access Rules
. All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
. No dogs or horses are permitted.
. No fishing, swimming, boating, or any other entry in the ponds. No
alcohol is permitted.
. No hunting.
. No bicycles, automobiles, ATVs, or any other vehicles are allowed on the trails.
. No drones are allowed.
. Take nothing but photographs. We use our trails to teach kids about the environment and their experiences are much richer if there are still feathers and bones for them to look at.
. There are no public trash receptacles. Please pack out what you bring in!
Report violations by emailing email@example.com or calling 540-341-3651. We reserve the right to deny access to this property to anyone who does not obey the rules or is otherwise disruptive to our field station operations.