Children’s Forest Trail (Forest Trail #626)

Area Status: Open

The Children’s Forest trail is an all-weather surface loop trail that begins and ends in the monument area of the National Children’s Forest.  This is a universally accessible trail with grades of less than 3%.  On April 27, 1971 an arson fire blackened the 1,176 acres now known as the National Children’s Forest.  The area was planted on the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day in April of 1972 by children from all over the eastern United States.  The names of the children who participated in the tree planting are stored in a time capsule scheduled to be opened in 2072.  There is also a monument dedicated to the children at the trailhead near the time capsule.

The trail begins behind the monument and loops through a small portion of the forest.  Many different plants such as grapevine, black gum, various oaks and greenbrier exist in the understory.  The trail overstory is mainly shortleaf pine planted by the children and a few scattered oaks.

Trail Open To:

Trail Hiking

At a Glance

Fees: No fee.
Open Season: Open year round
Closest Towns: Covington, VA - ALLEGHANY COUNTY
Water: No drinking water available. All water taken from natural sources should be purified before use.
Restroom: None
Operated By: James River Ranger District: (540) 962 - 2214
Information Center: Trail is located on National Geographic/Trails Illustrated Map #788.  It is recommended that all trail users carry a reliable map at all times.  Maps may be purchased at some local District Ranger Stations, at outdoor retail locations or by visiting the National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated website.

General Information


From Covington:  Take SR 18 south for 8.0 miles.  Turn left on to SR 613.  Follow 613 to the end of the road and turn right on to FR 351.  The trailhead is approximately 0.9 miles on the left behind the Children’s Forest Monument area.

General Notes:
  • Trail Length:  0.30 miles
  • Blazes:  None
  • Trail Difficulty:  Easy
  • Connecting Trails:  FT #627 - Children's Forest Trail Long Loop
  • Elevation:  1880 to 2140 feet
  • Trail Access Points (Approximate LAT/LONG):
  • Trail Etiquette:  Trail etiquette for multiple use trails calls for horses to have the right-of-way.  Hikers should yield to horses.  Bicyclists should yield to horses and hikers.  Horse riders are responsible for the control of their horse at all times.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
0.30 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
1880 - 2140 feet