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Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve

Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve protects the world's largest population of the globally rare shrub Piratebushpiratebush, which is restricted to only a handful of sites in the mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

The “Wednesday Trail Crew”, a group of volunteers led by Bill Gordge (and part of the Roanoke Valley Pathfinders), constructed over 1.5 miles of the trail system at Poor Mountain.  While the 0.75-mile Piratebush Loop interpretive trail affords a relatively level and easy hiking opportunity, the main loop trail affords a strenuous 3.8-mile hike with over 500 feet of vertical drop and return climb.  Stone stairs, scenic vistas, fire ecology and outstanding looks at Table Mountain pine woodlands make the Poor Mountain Trail a great new recreational resource now available to the general public in the Roanoke area.

Click here for a map and more information.

Hiking the loop in a counter clockwise direction provides the easiest hike. Hike in a clockwise direction if you want more of a challenge.


  •  Exit 137 off of I81 onto Rt 112E (toward Salem)
  •  Turn left onto Main Street (Rt. 460E) and go 0.8 miles
  •  Turn right onto Mill Lane and travel 0.4 miles
  •  Turn left onto West Riverside Drive and go 0.8 miles
  •  Turn right onto 12 O'clock Knob Road (Rt. 694) and travel 4.8 miles to preserve entrance on right

Alternate Directions (from South Roanoke):

  • Take Rt 221S (toward Floyd)
  • Turn right on 12 O'clock Knob Road (Rt. 694)
  • And travel 3.7 miles to preserve entrance on left (look for sign)


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