Armchair Tour

Wildwood Park occupies about 54 acres of a steep valley in the center of the City of Radford. Connelly’s Run is a small stream flowing north through the park, through tunnels under Norwood Street and the railroad tracks, to empty into the New River in Bisset Park (at right) a short distance away.

A sign on Norwood Street marks the entrance to the park. In the trees behind the sign is a trail up the cliff. You can follow the trail to the left and end up at the former Tyler Inn directly above, or you can turn right and continue south and traverse the length of the eastern side of the park.

If you choose to continue on the road into the park (at top-left), you will pass steep limestone cliffs (at bottom-left). The cliffs are the result of quarrying (See Yesterday page). Water seeps out of these cliffs in several spots the year around. As the water flows over the rock and evaporates, calcium is deposited on the rock and over many years has produced a cave-like feature called a "tufa" formation (at right). Algae also grows in the sheet of water forming the basis of an unusual ecosystem. Water from the limestone-seeps flows over the ground in sheets, creating a marshy area with cattails. In that area, a botanist at Radford University has found an unusual growth of calcareous alga.

Past the quarried area, one can find trails that ascend the eastern slope of the park. The trails on the eastern side are easier to hike because the slope is not as steep. That side of the park is a drier forest than on the opposite slope, because it faces west and receives the hot afternoon sun. The vegetation is also younger than on the opposite slope. Eventually you will meet a trail that descends to the floodplain or ascends to exit the park at 8th Avenue in Monroe terrace. High on the eastern slope, near the present water towers, Confederate troops may have fired at Union troop across the New River (See Yesterday).

To continue the tour, let's return to the road at the quarry near the park entrance. The road proceeds south and gradually descends (at left) and reaches the floodplain of Connelly's Run at about the middle of the park. There you can double back and hike north along the creek through riparian forest (at right) to the tunnel under Norwood Street.

At several points, you can cross Connelly's run on a footbridge (at left) or stepping stones (at right) to trails on the west side. Continuing south on the road, you pass the site of the former City swimming pool (below). This area was regularly mowed until recently, and is the most open area of the park. The road dead-ends at a footbridge over the creek.

On the west side, one can follow trails along the creek or follow trails higher on the slope. Spurs lead to Radford High School or Dalton Drive. This east-facing slope is not heated as much by the sun and the trees are older, providing more shade. Thus the understory climate is substantially cooler and moister on this side of the park. Consequently, there is a richer diversity of flowers. However, trails can be more difficult on this side of the park because the terrain is steeper and the trails may be muddy. In the spring, some spots are quite treacherous and are not recommended for children.

High on the western hillside at the south end of the park is the entrance to Adam's Cave. Native American remains have been found in this cave. The entrance has been sealed to prevent damage to the cave and to protect human life.

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