The Lion's Tale National Recreation Trail

The Lion's Tale is a National Recreation Trail that is specially designed to create a sensory experience for the visually impaired. Through a special mascot, Lop Ears the Mountain Lion, the trail tells a story using braille as well as other sensory methods.

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National Recreation Trail

Designated in 1979


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The Lion's Tale is a .5 mile accessible loop trail designed for the visually impaired in George Washington National Forest in Virginia. It is a sensory adventure into the woods that encourages the hiker to feel, smell, and listen. High contrast interpretive signs with Lop Ears, the friendly mountain lion guide, are imprinted with braille and tell the story of the forest and how to experience it using different senses. Embedded wooden boards in the surface of the barrier-free trail alert the impaired hiker to a nearby sign.

Benches provide places to sit and feel the sun, listen to birds and insects or the babbling of a stream, smell the wildflowers or the boggy areas. Feel rounded river stones, a cold running spring, the different textures of tree bark, exposed roots, a rotten log, and even play in a stream.

The trail, originally known as the Braille Trail, was constructed in the 1970s through a partnership between the Forest Service, the Lion's Club, and the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

Recovery efforts focused on repairing the trail's path and bridges. The Lion's Tale is a cooperative project of the Lions Clubs of VA and the Forest Service. It is open year-round. There is no fee. Handicap-accessible toilets are available in the parking lot.

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