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Get Outside Weekend Update July 30-Aug. 2

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, July 30

Friday, July 31

Saturday, Aug. 1

Sunday, Aug. 2

Monday, Aug. 3

Tuesday, Aug. 4

Wednesday, Aug. 5

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Pete’s Pick: Tube the ROA

Nothing beats a warm summer day like a day on the river. And when it’s hot out, tubing is a great (and relaxing) way to beat the heat.

With some great stops along the Roanoke River, you can easily plan a float, plus pit stops.

Head over to Roanoke Mountain Adventures (806 Wasena Ave., inside the River House) and rent a few tubes. You can get half- or whole-day rentals.

Float from Bridge Street to Wasena. That should take you about an hour and 45 minutes (Dan and James at RMA will give you all the details on the float).

And if you aren’t quite ready to head home after your float there are plenty of things to add on to your adventure without even having to get back in the car.

  • Once you are back to the River House, grab a couple of beers at the Wasena City Tap Room. (There are plenty of great craft brews to choose from including local and seasonal selections.)
  • Take the kids for a climb at The River Rock Climbing Gym.
  • Test the fare at The Green Goat which just opened on Wiley Avenue.

Regardless of which path you choose, enjoy and get outside!

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5 Hikes You Might Not Know About (And Don’t Want to Miss)

lesser known trails roanoke hike

Hike a new trail.

While there are plenty of well-known trails in the Roanoke Region, there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Seek out one of these lesser-known trails for a little more quiet during your hike, to see new sights, or experience a new terrain in an area that might be new to you.

  1. Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve: Characterized by rocky slopes forested with hardwood species and scattered patches of Virginia pine, the Rocky Mount trail includes 6.6 miles with parking adjacent to the preserve. Grassy Hill is known as a prominent landmark in Franklin County.
  2. Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve: The Roanoke County trail is home to the world’s largest population of the rare piratebush shrub. It grows only in a few places in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. While the 0.75-mile Piratebush Loop offers a relatively easy hiking opportunity, the main loop includes a strenuous 3.8-mile hike with more than 500 feet of vertical drop and return climb.
  3. Harkening Hill: The lowliest of the three Peaks of Otter, Harkening Hill is the only one with a loop trail that swings by the top. A gain of just under 1,000 feet from the parking lot makes it a decent walk. Look for plenty of interesting granite boulder formations along the 3.5 mile Harkening Hill loop.
  4. Hoop Hole Trail: With two hike options – the lower loop is 4 miles and the extended loop is 9 miles – you can pick how long you want to stay on this rugged trail in Botetourt County. Both loops offer beautiful views of the streams cascading over rocks and swimming holes. The longer loop climbs to the top of the ridge for scenic views of the surrounding mountains. You can try to reach the ridgetop cliffs for more expanded views.
  5. Cobbler Mountain Trail: Located in the Hidden Valley Recreation Area in the Alleghany Highlands, this trail is 2.67 miles long and offers upland oaks with cove hardwoods and limestone outcrops.
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View the Blue Moon; Go On a Full Moon Hike

Moon over mill mountain Roanoke

There are two things you need to do Friday:

  1. Step outside a get a peek at the “blue moon” because you won’t get another chance until 2018.
  2. In honor of this lunar event, go register for the Goodnight, Full Moon! evening hike at Carvins Cove on Aug. 29.

The August hike is guided by Blue Ridge Land Conservancy staff, so you can enjoy the trails and water in the moonlight. The hike will come through the trail to the shoreline for a spectacular view. All you have to bring for this adventure is a flashlight.

Hikers will meet at the boat launch parking lot (9644 Reservoir Road). The hike is $6 for the general public and $3 for Friends of the BRLC. Email or call Erica for more information about the hike at 540-985-0000.

So what is a blue moon anyway? Is it actually blue? A blue moon occurs when there are two full moons in the same calendar month; the second moon is blue. But the moon won’t actually take on a different hue. While it is possible for the moon to have a bluish color, you won’t see that here. (The blue comes from atmospheric pollution from things such as a forest fire or volcanic eruption.)

The last blue moon visible in North America was in 2012 and the next blue moon is in 2018. Want to get the best view? Try these tips from And if you take pictures, make sure to share them using #roanokeoutside.

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Don’t Miss Paddle Sports Day

Smith Mountain Lake SUP canoe kayak

All your paddle sports needs can be found in one location Sunday at Smith Mountain Lake.

Explore canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards in one location at Paddle Sports Day at SML. Sessions start on the hour every hour and you can drop in for one session or stay as long as you like.

Join ACA Certified instructors as they introduce you to these three types of paddle craft and give guided practice time on the lake.

And once you get comfortable with the gear, here’s a list of places where you can take it out on the water. From the largest freshwater lake in Virginia in Smith Mountain Lake to one of the rivers or many streams in the region, there’s an adventure waiting nearby.

Paddle Sports Day at SML

  • When: Sunday, Aug. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Where: SML Community Beach
  • Cost: $15 per person, ages 8 and up
  • Information: Register online
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Get Outside Weekend Update July 23-26

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, July 23

Friday, July 24

Saturday, July 25

Sunday, July 26

Monday, July 27

Tuesday, July 28

Wednesday, July 29

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Pete’s Pick: Float the James and Enjoy Reggae by the River

We’re going to be at FloydFest this week, so if you are in for the music or outdoor festivities, stop by and say hello.

If not … there’s great music happening along the James River in Buchanan this weekend, too! Here’s how to make the most of the day.

james river music

Start with a great float down the James River. (Just make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and pack a lunch.) After your float, head over to Town Park for Reggae by the River with a concert by Shorefire and The Lazy Man Dub Band, beginning at 5 p.m.

There will be plenty of food by Toasted by Casey and soft pretzels by Roanoke Bagel Company as well as plenty of brews to sample. And it’s all by the river.

There will be plenty of other activities as well in this kid-friendly family event.

Admission is $3 (a real steal) and kids under 12 are free.

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Let’s Go For a Run

we run roanoke

Running is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and that’s also true in the Roanoke Region.

Our area is home to America’s Toughest Road Marathon, you can find a 5K or trail race on the calendar almost any weekend of the year, and area pub runs are growing by leaps and bounds.

So, let’s go for a run.

One of the appeals of running is that is something almost anyone can do and you can put as much or as little time into it as you like. Been thinking about running, but not sure where to start? Roanoke is home to plenty of groups to help you find support, training, and even just good conversation.

“We are here to support one another and our passion,” says Marion Childress, founder of C&C Runners.

Here’s a look at running groups, when they meet, and how you can get involved. There’s something for every skill level from walker to marathoner.

The Original Pub Run Roanoke

pub run roanokeThe the first Pub Run Group in Roanoke is a group that likes to socialize after runs. The pub run has been taking place weekly since 2008. Find each week’s run on Facebook.

  • Activities: Meets weekly for 3-5 mile run/walk in the Grandin Road. Group meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Village Grill.
  • Who should join: For running, jogging, and walking; pace for everyone with no one left behind.
  • Cost: Free
  • Contact info: John Park,

C&C Runners

c&c runners roanokeFor runners of like passions who like to share their adventures and photos. We love info on running, racing, encouragement, family functions, and info on upcoming races. The running team has been participating in events together since 2010. Each team member is assigned a unique team ID, such as those used by running groups such as Marathon Maniacs.

  • Activities: Team running at various events; great place to find running partners or buddies. Walking groups on Tuesday and Thursdays; keep up with events on Facebook.
  • Who should join: For running, jogging, and walking; team includes runners that are “slow, fast, and everything in between” says founder Marion Childress, who noted that the group is great for beginners.
  • Cost: Free, C&C logo can be added to shirts for $3
  • Contact info: Marion Childress on Facebook page

Runabout Sports Training Group

pub run roanokeRun with a casual group of runners and train for events. “Our group is very low key and laid back,” says Ed Shepherd. “We get together on Saturdays but we also try to run together a couple of times during the week utilizing some of the other organized runs as our venue.”

  • Activities: Meet on Saturdays at 7 a.m. as a group for our long runs; other shorter runs throughout the week. All group runs can be found in the Runabout Sports Roanoke calendar.
  • Who should join: Anyone that wants to run longer distances with a group of friends.
  • Cost: Free
  • Contact info: Ed Shepherd at RunAbout Sports Roanoke, 540-989-2064

Fleet Feet Pub Runs and Training Programs

pub run roanokePub runs are designed for runners who want to get out for 3 to 5 miles and join the group for food or drink afterward. Runs are designed for fun. Training groups happen throughout the year to prepare runners for specific events or goals. Learn more about training programs, including Zoomerangs for Kids, the Summer Speed Series, and the No Boundaries Path to 5K Running Program.

  • Activities: Weekly pub run along the Roanoke River Greenway starting and finishing at the Wasena City Tap Room; begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. “It’s a great way to meet people,” says Saralyn Hamilton of Fleet Feet Sports, who noted that some pub runs drawn more than 200 people. Vendor partners also come for the pub runs and allow runners to test new gear or learn about upcoming events.
  • Who should join: Pub runs are a fun activity for runners of any level. Training programs are designed for different activity levels from couch to 5K all the way to marathons.
  • Cost: Pub runs are free (shirts are available for sale); training varies in cost by program
  • Contact info: Saralyn Hamilton at Fleet Feet – Roanoke, 540-777-1166

Roanoke Valley Trail Runners

roanoke trail runWith three different types of groups, run follow a no runner left behind mindset and will stop and wait on runners to catch up. Start as a group, finish as a group. Formal and informal runs can be found on the Facebook page.

  • Activities: Three weekly trail run groups and informal meetups. The Turtles group is designed for beginners or for runners who like to run/walk the trails with group leader Paula Laag. Second group is No Runner Left Behind which is geared for beginners who want to work on getting their miles up and all other runners who like working on their pace. This group will stop and wait at intersections and on long climbs. Will have a short break to let everybody catch their breath with group leader Doug Falls. The third group is the Non Stop Group (who likes to stop and talk?). This group is geared for the runners who like to run at a faster pace. Will stop at some intersections and at the turn around spot with group leader Tabitha Walker.
  • Who should join: Anybody who enjoys running local trails
  • Cost: Free
  • Contact info: Facebook group

Body by Parkway Runner’s Club

pub run roanokeThe running group is a “ great place to make new running pals and ‘earn’ your favorite craft brews," says Keno Snyder, owner/manager of Parkway Brewing Company. Get your card punched after each run and with three finishes, earn a pint for a penny.

  • Activities: The weekly 5K run starts at 6 p.m. on Thursdays at Parkway Brewing, follows the greenway and comes back to the brewery, which is open for tastings and will have food options from an area food truck.
  • Who should join: Anyone who enjoys a good run (and a good brew)
  • Cost: Free
  • Contact info:

We Run Roanoke

run roanokeExplore Roanoke with a running group that mixes it up with two group runs each week. The catch is that you never know where the run might take you because the location moves before each run and is announced on Facebook the day before. Recent runs have include 3- to 5-mile runs through Downtown Roanoke at night with glowing gear, runs along the greenway, and around the track at Hidden Valley High School. The group is large enough that every runner is sure to find a pace partner.

  • Activities: Group runs on Mondays and Thursdays (usually at 6:30 p.m.); location announced the day before on Facebook.
  • Who should join: Open to all runners
  • Cost: Free
  • Contact info: Facebook group

Star City Striders

run in roanokeVolunteer organized group of active individuals who celebrate a running and walking lifestyle. We welcome all speeds, levels of competitiveness (and non-competitive) and fitness levels to take part in races, fun events, and group runs for our health and well-being. Members participate in individual running activities, races, and as volunteers at area events and has been active Roanoke since the 1970s. The group also maintains a calendar of all of the races happening in the area.

  • Activities: Group runs and event planning across the region. Check the “Run with Us! page for the group run schedule (varies by season), including weekend group runs. Monthly meetings and social events throughout the year, as well.
  • Who should join: Runners of all levels.
  • Cost: Membership is $15 per year, and comes with a race discount
  • Contact info:
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Get Your Aquathlon On

splash and dash roanokeAttention swimmers and runners the first Splash & Dash Aquathlon is designed just for you.

The Aug. 15 event features a 2.5K run, then 700-meter swim, and finishes with another 2.5K run. Splash & Dash provides a great chance for racers to experience one of the hidden gems of Roanoke’s park system, Washington Park. Aside from the running portions of the race that follow the greenway, the whole event is centered on the park’s scenic backdrop.

The event is the second installment in the Roanoke Triumph Multisport Series this summer, which also includes the Off the Rails Triathlon and On the Rails Duathlon (Nov. 1). Finish all three events for a medal set that locks together like a puzzle.

Registration is open and is $50 for individuals and $70 for team relay.

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Every Weekend Should Be an Adventure

adventure weekendZip lining, climbing, canoeing, or mountain biking. You can choose your adventure this weekend at Wilderness Adventure.

Pick an adventure or two, pack a lunch and make a day of it. Participate in an activity you already love or try something new. With two adventures daily – at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. – this is a great way to spend time with friends and family. (You can come at one or both times.)

But you must have reservations. Adventures are $15 to $25 per person with group rates available. Call 540-864-6792 to learn more and book your weekend adventure.

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