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Roanoke, VA
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Carvins Cove Natural Reserve

Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is the second largest municipal park in the nation. It holds a major water source within its 12,700 acres and overflowing recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, fishing, and boat rentals. 11,363 acres of Carvins Cove is protected by the largest conservation easement in Virginia's history. (Click here to learn more about the history of Carvins Cove).

CArvins Cove Roanoke VA

The Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is managed for watershed protection and public recreation, including hiking, fishing, boating, and equestrian use by Roanoke Parks & Recreation. The property is located near Interstate 81 and borders 14 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The rock outcrop at nearby McAfee Knob, which overlooks the conserved property, is one of the most frequently visited and photographed panoramas on the Appalachian Trail.

With more than 60 miles of trails and an 800-acre reservoir Carvins Cove is a mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating paradise. 


What you need to know:

  • Less than eight miles from downtown Roanoke.
  • A day ($2) or yearly pass ($20) is required to enter the park and can be obtained at the Boat Dock (Marina office), and at drop boxes located at both the Bennett Springs and Timberview parking lots.
  • Three entrances to the Cove:
  • The majority of trail users use the Bennett Springs access point (no facilities) and water users utilize the Marina access point which provides picnic tables, pay phone, restrooms, boat rentals, security personnel and lot parking.
  • The 800 acre lake limits boats to 10HP engines or less. Learn more about boating regulations.
  • Boat rentals (cash or check only):
    • 12' and 14' row boats:  $5/hour or $15/day
    • Two-person paddle boats:  $7 for one-hour or $11 for two-hours.
    • Four-person paddle boats:  $9 for one-hour or $15 for two-hours.
    • Kayaks (sit-on-top):   $7/hr ($11 for two hours).
    • Call 540.563.9170 for more details.
  • Download Master Carvins Cove Map.
  • Interactive map of Carvins Cove with elevation profiles
  • Two Mapped Rides/Hikes:
  • All organized recreation and/or events must be approved and scheduled with the Roanoke Parks & Recreation Department.
  • The History of Carvins Cove

See why Outside TV ranked the mountain biking trails at Carvins Cove in their Top 5.

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