On July 20, 2015, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) officially designated Berryville and Clarke County, Virginia, as an Appalachian Trail Community™. The Appalachian Trail extends for 22 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Clarke County. Berryville is the County seat and offers a variety of amenities to thru hikers and day hikers alike.
Clarke County's heritage and natural characteristics, combined with its recreational, and cultural opportunities, make it an attractive place to live and visit. The Shenandoah River runs south to north through the county, dividing the primarily forested and mountainous land in the east from the rolling agricultural lands in the west. Used as a major transportation route during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Shenandoah has been designated a State Scenic River by the Virginia General Assembly and is one of the state's outstanding rivers. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail runs the length of the county (22 miles), and along with many small side trails provides an abundance of hiking opportunities along the Blue Ridge Mountains. The State Arboretum of Virginia is located at the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm near Boyce, and Clarke County's Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities.
Additionally, nearly 20% of the county (approximately 21,000 acres) is under permanent conservation easement, permanently protecting farmland, forest, natural and historic resources, and open space by limiting development. Historic museums and public buildings include Clermont Farm (1770), the Burwell-Morgan Mill (1782), the Clarke County Historical Association Museum, the Clarke County District Courthouse (1839), the Long Branch House and Farm Museum (1809), and the Josephine School Community Museum (1881). More than 30% of Clarke County is within five National Register historic districts, and the entire county is in the John Singleton Mosby Heritage Area. Self-guided driving tours of these historic areas are available by calling the Clarke County Planning Department at 540-955-5134.
Berryville, incorporated in 1798, is the largest town in Clarke County. It was first settled in 1775 and was originally known as Battletown due to its rowdy taverns. It is located 7 miles west of the Appalachian Trail, and serves as the center of commercial, residential, institutional and industrial activity for Clarke County. Links to area businesses can be found at the Berryville Main Street website, and while you're in Berryville, be sure to check out the Barns of Rosehill, a performing arts venue and community center serving the Shenandoah Valley with a variety of programs in performing, visual, and literary arts.