Mariners’ Museum Noland Trail

  • Highlights: Lake and river views, Mariners’ Museum
  • Distance: 5.6 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 272 feet
  • Difficulty level: Easy/Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Mariners’ Museum & Park, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News VA
  • Website: Mariners’ Museum
  • Beer Pairings: Tradition Brewing—IPA Batch # 5 &  Tradizione pilsner

The Hike:

This very popular hike circumnavigates Maury Lake. The park and trail are part of the Mariners’ Museum. It is the largest private park in the country which is open to the public at no cost. Free parking is available at the museum parking lot. We were joined on this hike by our daughter Emily. She lives in Chesapeake and like us, was happy to go on a hike on a warm winter day. The hike loops around the lake. We ended up going clockwise. The trail is well marked.

To reach the trailhead from the parking lot, walk across Museum Drive to the museum entrance. Bear to the left and follow the signs. There are several bridges crossing parts of the lake or wetlands. There are several well-marked viewing areas. Oak Tree Overlook will be on the right about halfway around the lake. A short spur trail leads to a small peninsula. We saw several water birds including a blue heron. 

The hike continues around Lake Maury reaching Lion’s Bridge on Museum Drive. The James River is on the other side of the road with the lake on the right. The bridge is really a dam which contains Maury Lake. Four large stone lions guard the bridge. The lions were designed by Anna Hyatt Huntington, sculptor and wife of Museum founder Archer Milton Huntington. Follow the sidewalk over the bridge and the trail turns to the right.

Another sculpture, “Conquering the Wild”, overlooks the bridge and lake. Bear right at the trail junction to stay close to the lake. The other direction is a short-cut back to the parking area. Holly Tree Overlook will be on the right providing some great lake views. The trail will leave the lakeside and come to Museum Drive. The museum will be on the right and the parking area will be on the left. After the hike, a visit to the Mariners’ Museum should be on your itinerary.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Tradition Brewing is located just a few miles from The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News. Their beers have recently gone into distribution in Virginia so we were familiar with their beer. They have a rotating series of small-batch west coast-style IPAs each using the same malt backbone but witha different hop combination. We tried IPA Batch # 5 made with Comet hops. It had nice citrus hop flavor with the right balance of bitterness. We also liked the Tradizione Italian-Style Pilsner. Brewed with Saphir hops it was light and crisp—just as a pilsner should be.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.