Craig County Hikes

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From an old mine to a raptor observatory, this group of hikes includes a few short options to longer scenic routes.

The most-well known hike in Craig County might be Dragon’s Tooth, which 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 other can’t-miss hike includes the half-hour jaunt up to Hanging Rock Observatory. Since 1952, Hanging Rock has been a monitoring point for hawk, eagle, falcon, and osprey migration along the birds’ eastern route (August through November).

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Craig County Hikes

  • Dragon’s Tooth Expand Collapse

    Dragon’s Tooth is 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 4.5-mile round trip hike, Dragon’s Tooth summit offers magnificent views of nearby and distant peaks year-round.

    The bouldering area is pretty far from the parking lot. After hiking several miles on the Dragon’s Tooth Trail you will come to several large fins that are pretty big. The super classic line is the obvious Finger Crack. There is much to be had in the V3 and under category.

  • Fenwick Mines Expand Collapse

    Fenwick-MinesFenwick Mines was once an old mining area and is now home to trails and a recreation park. The trail takes you by open pit mines and foundations of old mining structures.

    The Fenwick Forest Walk is a 1-mile nature trail. The Wetland Trail allows you to observe wetlands created by beavers; follow the trail through wetlands and open forests to see a variety of wildlife and vegetation that live in this environment.

    The trails are wheelchair accessible. The site has a large picnic shelter, grills, toilets, and a fishing pond.

  • Ferrier Trail & Lick Branch Loop Expand Collapse

    A 7-mile loop trail that provides good views of Craig Creek Valley and Potts Mountain. Lick Branch offers a cool refreshing walk, except during dry periods. A sign marks intersection of the Lick Branch and Ferrier trails.

  • Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory Expand Collapse

    Hanging-Rock-Raptor-ObservatoryA half-hour hike with great views. The hike takes you to the observatory. Since 1952, Hanging Rock has been a monitoring point for hawk, eagle, falcon, and osprey migration along the birds’ eastern route.

    Hanging Rock Tower is a simple forest service fire tower on top of a mountain. There is no electricity, running water, or bathroom facilities other than an outdoor privy. You need to take drinking water. Other items you may want to take are binoculars, food, sunglasses, an extra layer of clothing, sunscreen, hat, bird books, and comfortable hiking shoes.

    The hike up the mountain takes 20 to 40 minutes.

  • Hoop Hole Expand Collapse

    Hoop-Hole-TrailHoop Hole Loop has two loops. The lower loop is 4 miles and skips the views from the ridge top and the extended loop is 9 miles. 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. One could try to reach certain cliffs from the ridgetop for more expanded views. The trail is very rugged and good footwear is necessary. Also, the trail makers are sometimes difficult to see with yellow blazes.

  • Lipes Branch Trail Expand Collapse

    Lipes-BranchA 2.3-mile (round trip) hike up Potts Mountain. The trail passes through the Barbours Creek Wilderness Area and is located near Pines Campground.

    • Recommended for more experienced hikers; the first half of the hike is all uphill.
    • There are yellow blazes to follow but they are old and faded and hard to see.
    • Allowing four hours for the hike is recommended.

    Elevation on top of Potts Mountain is over 3,600 feet, affording great views in all directions. There are no facilities on trail, but connector (white-blazed) trailheads to Pines Campground have hand pump for water and vault toilets.

  • Patterson Creek Trail System Expand Collapse

    Patterson-Creek-TrailLocated on the border of Craig and Botetourt counties is the Patterson Creek Trail System. This forgotten hiking trail system that is being revived by the Roanoke IMBA chapter and includes multiple loop options and fairly difficult terrain.

  • Roaring Run Expand Collapse

    Roaring-RunRoaring Run is an excellent hiking trail for the whole family. 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.

    It is also a great trout stream with a natural water slide at lower levels. At higher levels it becomes a Class V+ creek.

    • Easy (out and back hike)
    • Approximately half way to the falls is a natural water slide
    • Toilets and picnic area with charcoal grill
  • Sulphur Springs Ridge & Price Mountain Trail Expand Collapse

    Sulphur-SpringsThis 5-mile loop trail offers you a chance to leave everything behind. Odds of running into another hiker are close to zero. The upper portion of the trail affords views of surrounding valley and mountains.

    Directions to the trailhead

    • From I-81, take Exit 150 to Route 220N to Fincastle
    • Turn left on Route 606 just before downtown Fincastle
    • Continue straight through stop sign
    • Follow for ~6.5 miles and you will climb a large mountain
    • Park at top on right side
    • Trail begins here (not marked)

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