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Roanoke, VA
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Outdoor Trip Suggestions

Roanoke Outside is trying to make it easy for you to get outside and explore the Roanoke, VA region. Below you will find a variety of outdoor suggestions that highlight different activities as well as different areas of the Roanoke region.

Camping Hiking Paddling
Mountain Biking Fishing Lake Sports
Road Cycling    

GRAB & GO!
These Grab & Go choices will open as a PDF document that you can print out and take with you. It includes driving directions as well as suggested things you can do to make your day even better.

HIKING ADVENTURES

McAfee Knob
McAfee Knob is the most photographed site along the Appalachian Trail which crosses 14 states on its 2,178 mile journey from Georgia to Maine. The Knob has an almost 270 degree panorama of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the west, Tinker Cliffs to the north and the Roanoke Valley to the east. Hopefully, you will get to meet a thru-hiker - a person hiking the entire trail from Georgia to Maine. You’ll know one when you see one as they most likely haven’t showered in weeks. A six mile round trip, out and back hike located 15 minutes from Roanoke.

Dragon’s Tooth
This section of Appalachian Trail includes a unique geologic feature that consists of Tuscarora quartzite spires which outcrop on the top of Cove Mountain. The tallest "tooth" projects roughly 35 feet above the surrounding rock. The trail to Dragon's Tooth ascends steep, rugged outcrops of quartzite which form the spine of Cove Mountain and North Mountain. The spine is known as Dragon's Back. A difficult hike, Dragon's Tooth summit offers magnificent views of nearby and distant peaks year-round.

Chestnut Ridge Trail
Chestnut Ridge Trail, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a wide and well-graded path lined with mountain laurel and rhododendron. There is a 5.45 mile figure-eight loop trail that can be shortened to 2.5 and/or 3.4 miles. This easy to moderate trail is only 10 minutes from downtown Roanoke. Make it an overnight by camping at the Roanoke Mountain Campground.

Star Trail
The Star Trail traverses from the Roanoke River to the summit of Mill Mountain (1,703 ft.) and the Roanoke Star. This area offers 500 acres of parkland atop Mill Mountain, picnic areas, two overlooks that provide 20-60 mile vistas, access to additional hiking trails, the Mill Mountain Zoo and the Mill Mountain Discovery Center. 3.4 mile round trip, out and back hike. Less than five minutes from downtown Roanoke.

Roaring Run - Natural Water Slide & Falls
Roaring Run Recreation Area is an excellent hiking trail for the whole family, young and old alike. The easy, well marked trail begins at an historic iron furnace and winds back and forth along the Roaring Run stream. You will pass rock walls, cascading water, and cross five footbridges before ending at beautiful Roaring Run Falls.

Explore Park Trail System
Explore Park, located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a 1,100-acre preserve situated along the Roanoke River Gorge with a variety of hiking options. Six trail options ranging from <0.5 miles to >10 miles, many of which are loop trails. Trails range form easy to difficult and are only 10 minutes from downtown Roanoke.

Cascade Falls Hiking
Cascade Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls (69’) in Virginia and possibly on the entire East Coast. Little Stony Creek cascades over a vertical cliff in several different streams. The hike is a four mile, out and back trek. This easy to moderate hike is located in Pembroke (Giles County). There is a day-use fee of $3 (cash only).

Mill Mountain
Mill Mountain Park offers great hiking trails (9+ miles), and it is less than five minutes from downtown Roanoke. While there, be sure to check out the Mill Mountain Zoo and Discovery Center.

Tinker Ridge/Hay Rocks
This section of Appalachian Trail trail crosses Tinker Creek, which is the site depicted in Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” then ascends Tinker Ridge providing the most spectacular views of Carvins Cove reservoir and the Roanoke Valley. This eight mile round trip, out and back hike, is located 15 minutes from downtown Roanoke in beautiful Botetourt County.

Douthat State Park
Douthat State Park was named one of the nation’s 10 best state parks by the Outside Family Vacation Guide. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the original six Virginia State Parks that opened in 1936. It's nestled in the Alleghany Mountains and features some of Virginia’s most outstanding scenery. There are more than 43 miles of varied difficulty trails created originally by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There is a $2 entrance fee. Located in Clifton Forge (Alleghany County).

Pandapas Pond Recreation Area
Pandapas Pond offers an 8-acre manmade pond that provides fishing, hiking, flat-water canoeing, and picnicking opportunities. A one-mile loop trail circles the lake and meanders through the surrounding Appalachian hardwoods and pines and some rhododendron thickets. The hiking is easy with a variety of longer options that leave the pond area. See why this is one of the best hiking trails in the Blacksburg area.

Huckleberry Trail
The Huckleberry Trail is an asphalt-paved bike/pedestrian path. The trail currently runs from the Blacksburg library to the New River Mall. There are distance markers every half mile and benches spaced along the trail where you can rest and enjoy the scenery. Parking is available at both ends
as well as near Warm Hearth and the Hightop and Merrimac Rd. crossings. The trail is 5.7 miles in length with easy walking and biking options. Located between Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

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BIKING ADVENTURES

Roanoke River Greenway Adventure
Here's a bicycling-based adventure complete with easy greenway riding, rock climbing, treasure hunting, lunch, beer, ice cream, and more.

Carvins Cove
Located 15 minutes from downtown Roanoke, VA - Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is the second largest municipal park in the nation. With more than 40 miles of trails and an 800 acre reservoir it is a mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating paradise. The majority of trail users use the Bennett Springs access point and the water users utilize the boat landing access point. Please note that a $2 parking fee applies and may be purchased at the trailhead.

Poverty Creek
Poverty Creek provides some of the best single-track mountain biking in the nation. Miles of options, with steep climbs and fast down hills will keep your heart pounding. Located minutes outside of Blacksburg and adjacent to Pandapas Pond.

Explore Park Trail System
Explore Park
, located adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a 1,100-acre preserve, situated along the Roanoke River Gorge, offering both IMBA certified mountain bike trails and access to hundreds of miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trails provide some of the best mountain biking within 10 minutes of downtown Roanoke and the proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway affords easy and quick access for road cycling.

Mill Mountain
Mill Mountain Park offers incredible mountain biking on 9+ miles of trails - and it is less than five minutes from downtown Roanoke. 

Douthat State Park
Douthat State Park offers some of the best mountain biking in the United States and is known as the Disneyland of mountain biking. It was named one of the nation’s 10 best state parks by the Outside Family Vacation Guide. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the original six Virginia State Parks that opened in 1936. It's nestled in the Alleghany Mountains and features some of Virginia’s most outstanding scenery. There are more than 43 miles of varied difficulty trails created originally by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There is a $2 entrance fee. Located in Clifton Forge (Alleghany County).

Roanoke River Greenway
Roanoke River Greenway runs more than 5 miles from Wasena Park to Bennington Rd. Starting at Wasena Park, the first part of the greenway is kid friendly, slightly downhill, and a very easy walk, ride, or run, with plenty of playgrounds along the route. Find other greenways at www.greenways.org.

Jackson River Scenic Trail
The Jackson River Scenic Trail was developed from an old railroad bed and provides access to many natural, historic, and scenic resources. The trail parallels the Jackson River (Alleghany County) which is a natural habitat for reproducing wild trout. The trail is open to the public for those who enjoy hiking, biking, and nature walks. Currently seven miles exist with plans to add an additional 10.

New River Trail
The New River Trail is an official National Recreation Trail designated by the U. S. Department of the Interior. The park parallels 39 miles of the New River which is the second oldest river in the world and uniquely flows north. You'll find two tunnels, three major bridges, and nearly 30 smaller bridges and trestles along this 57 mile trail.

Huckleberry Trail
The Huckleberry Trail is an asphalt-paved bike/pedestrian path. The trail currently runs from the Blacksburg library to the New River Mall. There are distance markers every half mile and benches spaced along the trail where you can rest and enjoy the scenery. Parking is available at both ends as well as near Warm Hearth and the Hightop and Merrimac Rd. crossings. The trail is 5.7 miles in length with easy
walking and biking options. Located between Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

PADDLING ADVENTURES

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Kayaking at Carvins Cove
Rent a kayak and explore the 800-acre reservoir located within Virginia's largest conservation easement.

Kayaking, Canoeing, or Tubing on the Upper James River Water Trail
Let our friends at Twin River Outfitters plan a day on the water for you. Options can be as little as two hours, a full day, or even an overnight camping trip.

 


OTHER OUTDOOR IDEAS

The James River offers a 2-3-day wilderness canoe camping trip options. The Upper James River has some of the best 2-3-day trip formats in the entire state with the trip from Buchanan to Snowden the most exciting.  Multi day trips are very popular with fisherman as well. Visit the canoe guide page to learn more.

 


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