Carvins Cove Natural Reserve

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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. The cove includes 11,363 acres that are protected by the largest conservation easement in Virginia’s history.

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 property, is one of the most frequently visited and photographed panoramas on the Appalachian Trail.

With more than 60 miles of trails and an 600+ acre reservoir Carvins Cove is a mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating paradise.

Carvins Cove in Roanoke, VA

Quick facts

  • Less than eight miles from downtown Roanoke.
  • A day ($2) or yearly pass ($25) 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. Credit cards are not accepted.
  • There are three entrances to the Cove:
  • The majority of trail users use the Bennett Springs access point (no facilities) and water users start from the Marina access point which includes picnic tables, pay phone, restrooms, boat rentals, security personnel and lot parking.
  • The 600+ acre lake limits boats to 10HP engines or less. Learn more about boating regulations.
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) at Carvins Cove requires a SUP Certification Badge. You will not be permitted to SUP at Carvins without the appropriate certification, click here for details on how to SUP at Carvins.
  • 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 540-362-1757 for more details.
  • Download Master Carvins Cove Map.
  • Interactive map of Carvins Cove with elevation profiles
  • All organized recreation and/or events must be approved and scheduled with Roanoke Parks and Recreation.

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