James Madison's Montpelier
Montpelier, the lifelong home of President James Madison, is also home to the James Madison Landmark Forest – a 200-acre old-growth forest. This remnant of the original hardwood forests that once blanketed the Piedmont of the United States was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1987 by the U.S. Department of Interior. Many of the stately trees of this forest are 200 to 300 years old and range in size from 36 to 60 inches in diameter. The undisturbed forest, also known as the “Big Woods”, harbors a large population of wildlife, and its floor is rich with native plant species. A series of interlocking, self-guided trails have opened this natural treasure to Montpelier visitors. These include a handicapped-accessible trail to a new Viewing Deck, the .3 mile Turkey Foot Loop, the .5 mile Poplar Run Loop, the .2 mile Spicebush Loop, and the .5 mile Mountain Mill Road Trail, built on a Madison-era road trace. The Grelen-Montpelier trail connects Montpelier with The Market at Grelen, and was officially designated a State Treasure by the Governor of Virginia. Access to the Landmark Forest is included with admission to Montpelier.