Roanoke received the most votes in a recent poll by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine to be recognized as Best Trail Town. The entire poll featured 60 different cities and towns throughout the Blue Ridge. After six weeks of heated voting and over 34,000 votes, readers chose the best trail, river, music, and beer towns. The results were announced today.
The Best Trail Town article describes Roanoke, "With the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and over 70 city parks and greenways just minutes from downtown, Roanoke attracts flocks of outdoor enthusiasts." You can see the entire Best Trail Town article online or pick up the November issue on newsstands. Roanoke was also a runner up for Best Beer Town due to the emergence of our area craft breweries-another reason to get excited about all Virginia's Blue Ridge has to offer.
Take a hike today!
Winner: Roanoke, VA
With the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, over 70 city parks, and greenways just minutes from downtown, Roanoke attracts flocks of outdoor enthusiasts. It has always been known for its location in the scenic mountains of Virginia, but it wasn't until the early ‘90s that the area started gaining attention in the outdoor world through its series of mountain bike races. Thanks to hard-working volunteers who built and maintained trails, Roanoke soon attracted more outdoor adventurers.
Joe Hanning is one of them. He moved to Roanoke for its outdoor offerings.
Hanning has only lived in the area for three years, but as the marketing and outreach coordinator for Roanoke Parks and Recreation, he's quite literally made it his job to protect and promote the natural playgrounds that are near town.
"Roanoke is the best of both worlds," Hanning says. "We have all of the amenities of a larger city without the large crowds and stress. On a typical walk through downtown, it's very common to see several cyclists, Subarus with kayaks atop their racks, and joggers heading toward the greenway."
Roanoke residents Blaine and Robin Lewis are co-founders of Fleet Feet Sports in Roanoke, offering runners everything from tips on injury prevention to training programs. Although Robin is from Roanoke originally, Blaine says the unique trail systems located downtown were what ultimately appealed to the couple the most, particularly in regards to choosing a location for their store.
"The city has done a great job to create awareness of the trails, develop new trails, and get people out on the trails," Blaine says. "Trail running is my passion, so it's important for me to easily be able get a five to 13-mile trail run in before the store opens."
The ease with which visitors can locate trailheads and navigate in-town trail systems sets Roanoke apart from most other outdoor towns. On any given night, locals and out-of-towners can be found shredding singletrack in Carvins Cove or hiking Mill Mountain.