Although it may be better known for water sports and fishing, Smith Mountain Lake also has great trails to explore. From hikes in the state parks in the Smith Mountain Lake area to more secluded options, you are sure to see plenty of wildlife and native plants with any of these options.
Try one of these:
Fairy Stone State Park, the largest of Virginia’s six original state parks (4,741 acres), is home to its namesake “fairy stones.” These rare mineral crosses and the park’s scenic beauty, rich history, and ample recreational opportunities make it a local and regional favorite.
More than 9 miles of multi-use trails and a 168-acre lake will keep you busy. The park is also just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Franklin County Recreation Park is a 150-acre park, located south of Rocky Mount (just 2 miles from Route 220). The park offers a variety of outdoor activities for all ages including, fishing in a 3-acre lake. It hosts various special events and athletic tournaments.
Grassy Hill is a prominent landmark on the west side of Rocky Mount. The site is characterized by rocky slopes forested with hardwood species and scattered patches of Virginia pine. Shallow, basic, heavy-clay soils predominate and outcrops of magnesium-rich bedrock are common. These unusual soil and rock substrates provide habitat for rare woodland communities. Several rare plants grow in small grassy openings near the hill’s summit.
The trail includes 6.6 miles of hiking trails with signage. Parking for trail users is available adjacent to the preserve.
There are some tough climbs and a few short downhill segments.. Various stretches of the trail run along the shoreline of Philpott Lake. The approximately 7-foot wide trail can be accessed from Philpott Dam (Franklin County side) or Salthouse Branch Park. Parking is limited at Salthouse Branch Park ($4 day-use fee) and not accessible for equestrians at that location.
The park is open year-round and offers a partly-covered handicap accessible fishing pier with seating, picnic shelters with grill, playground area, restrooms, hiking, jogging, and a beach with lifeguards on duty when open.
The park includes 3 miles of pleasant lake and wooded view hiking. Entry and exit points are scattered throughout the park.
Waid Recreation Area is a 220-acre facility located near Rocky Mount, along the site of the Old Carolina Wagon Trail. The park is nestled near the Pigg River, which is home of the “Pigg River Ramble.”
More than 400 acres of rolling terrain and creek crossings make this area great for beginners and more experienced hikers and bikers. The location also hosts various special events and athletic leagues.
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