Every time I introduce someone new to Storybook Trail, I’m genuinely surprised they’ve never heard of it before. Especially if they’ve grown up in this area.
Massanutten Storybook Trail is a well-traveled spot, so it’s fairly unusual to find much solitude here unless going on a really odd day of the week. It’s very short, roughly half a mile in length, and it’s less than half an hours’ drive from Broadway. There’s no fee here and the parking lot fits about ten cars (and folks are prone to squeezing themselves along the side of the road when it’s particularly busy).
Calling Storybook Trail a hike is a slight stretch. It’s more like a breezy stroll through the woods on a paved driveway. As such, it’s the perfect spot for kids, dogs, a baby in a stroller, maybe even a wheelchair and it’s a great little walk any time of the year. Catch the flowers during April and May’s showers, enjoy the colorful fall foliage in November or lush verdant trees during June, and get outside for a brisk, chilly walk in December or January.
Your reward is a stunning overlook with splendid views to the east. If you look really closely, you might even be able to see Dollar General. Jokes aside, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous after you reach the platform, walk onto the rocks to the right, sit down, and enjoy the view with a snack, or a cup of coffee from Jackson’s Corner Cafe (which is what I did).
Having been to Storybook Trail multiple times, I recently brought a friend who hadn’t gone before. My friend was quite stunned with the view, and initially, I brushed off her wonder. After all, I’ve seen this view dozens of times before and it’s nothing special, right? Certainly not like Old Rag or Bearfence, which required far more effort to reach their summits.
But then I had to wonder, how often do I take the little things, like a stellar view, for granted because I’ve seen it many times before? How often do I miss something wonderful because I’ve already determined nothing worthwhile is going to come out of my venture? Storybook Trail, with its wonderful view of the surrounding mountains, artfully crafted curved boardwalk, and plentiful trees is no less lovely the tenth or eightieth time I’ve seen it.
So, while Storybook Trail isn’t the most adventurous or difficult hike I’ve done, it’s charming and accessible in all seasons to anyone who wants to get outside and enjoy a little bit of nature.