When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is a playground of fun adventures in the Roanoke Region in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
At over 12,000 acres, Carvins Cove is one of the largest municipal parks in the nation and the largest conservation easement in the history of Virginia. Located less than 10 miles from Downtown Roanoke and easily accessible from Interstate 81, it’s a fantastic place to experience the outdoors while visiting Virginia’s Blue Ridge!
The 60 miles of trails and challenging terrain have earned the Cove the reputation of being one of the best spots for mountain biking on the East Coast, and the trails also offer the opportunity to enjoy some great hikes.
If you want to enjoy the water, the 630-acre reservoir is perfect for boating, fishing and paddling.
Here’s more information to help you plan a metro mountain adventure at Carvins Cove!
Hiking & Trail Running
While the trails at Carvins Cove are known primarily for epic mountain biking, it’s also a premier spot in the region for hiking. Not only does the park contain four miles of the iconic Appalachian Trail, which can be reached via the Sawmill Branch Trail, another 11 miles of the A.T. wind along the boundary of Carvins Cove. This is also a great location for trail running, with unique settings such as the towering trees of the Enchanted Forest or views of the water along the Happy Valley Fire Road Trail.
From the heart-pumping downhill of The Gauntlet to the challenges of the double black diamond Rattlin’ Run Trail, there’s excitement around every hairpin turn for mountain bikers at Carvins Cove. The combination of cross country singletrack, freeride downhill trails, and fire roads present an incredible network of routes and rides that can be enjoyed by riders of all skill levels. Learn more about Mountain Biking at Carvins Cove.
Fishing and boating are both permitted at Carvins Cove. The Cove features boat and water access from the Marina/Boat Dock Entrance, and this location also offers seasonal boat and kayak rentals. Due to the reservoir being a primary water source for the region, swimming is not permitted.
Visit the Western Virginia Water Authority website to learn more about boating and water regulations, as well as launching fees.
Rentals & Guided Adventures
- Boat Rentals - Available April through October
- Kayaks - Single Kayaks: 1 Hr: $10, 2 Hrs: $15, 4 Hrs: $25 | Tandem Kayaks: 1 Hr: $15, 2 Hrs: $20, 4 Hrs: $30
- Row Boats & Jon Boats - $5 per hour/$25 per day | Oars & Life Jackets are included
- All boats are rented weather permitting and on a first come-first served basis.
- Pets are not permitted on rented boats or in the water. Payment for rentals must be cash or check. No credit or debit cards.
- Visitors must be at least 16 years old to rent a boat. Please bring a valid form of government ID. Guests under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Tours & Guided Adventures - Check out Roanoke Mountain Adventures for more information about a guided experience at Carvins Cove, which offers mountain biking excursions. PLAY Roanoke offers regular classes and events for paddling.
Maps, Fees & Parking
- Trail Map - Download this helpful trail map from the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission to help plan your biking and hiking routes.
- Fees - Visitors are required to obtain a day ($7) or annual ($50) pass when visiting Carvins Cove. Purchase online >
- Parking - Carvins Cove features three entrances - Marina/Boat Dock, Bennett Springs, & Timberview. The Bennett Springs entrance is accessible from Route 311 to Carvins Cove Road and is most popular for mountain biking and hiking. The Marina/Boat Dock entrance is reached via Route 11 in Hollins to Reservoir Road and offers convenient water access. The Timberview entrance is accessed via Dutch Oven Road & Timberview Road.