When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is a playground of fun adventures in the Roanoke Valley 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 #BlueRidgeDay full of outdoor recreation at Carvins Cove!


Enchanted Forest - Carvins Cove

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.

Mountain Biking

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 boats, paddle boats, and kayak rentals. Swimming is not permitted and Stand Up Paddleboarding requires a SUP Certification Badge. 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 September
    • Kayaks - Single Kayaks: $7 for 1 hour/$11 for 2 hours | Tandem Kayaks: $9 for 1 hour/$15 for 2 hours
    • 14’ Boats - $5 per hour/$15 per day | Oars & Life Jackets are included
    • Paddle Boats - Two-person: $7 for 1 hour/$11 for 2 hours | Four-person: $9 for 1 hour/$15 for 2 hours
    • Pets are not permitted on rented boats. Payment for rentals must be cash or check. No credit or debit cards.
  • 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, and you can also easily connect with Roanoke IMBA for a group mountain bike ride.

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.
  • Interactive GIS Map - An interactive map with detailed information about trails, including elevation profiles.
  • Fees - Visitors are required to obtain a day ($2) or annual ($20) pass when visiting Carvins Cove. Passes can be purchased at any of the three park entrances, with self-service drop boxes at the Bennett Springs and Timberview lots. They’re also available in the Security Office at the Marina entrance. No credit cards are accepted at the self-service kiosks.
  • 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.

Virginia's Blue Ridge Creature from Carvins Cove Mountain Bike Race - Sunday, October 2

Mountain bikers will take on the gnarly singletrack at Carvins Cove for the XXC-VA State Championship! The 43-mile XXC course features over 6,000 feet of elevation gain and will lead riders through the beautiful backwoods of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. There will also be a more moderate 15-mile XC course for beginner and intermediate riders. Don’t miss this exciting day of mountain biking at the Cove! [Learn more.]

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