All of Virginia’s seasons are worthy of your attention, and there are few better ways to experience each one than with a hike for fresh air. Come stroll and enjoy the views!
Here are six easy hikes to check out in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains.
1. Chestnut Ridge Trail | Roanoke
One of the area’s most popular trails is Chestnut Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s an easy 5-mile loop that features very little elevation change. For more nearby fun, check out the famous Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain. [MAP]
2. Waid Recreational Area | Rocky Mount
Miles of hiking and biking trails follow the Pigg River and roll across this popular park. To access the river trail (White Trail), take the West Loop to the Green Trail. For those seeking a less strenuous stroll, there is a half-mile, ADA compliant trail. [MAP]
3. Cascades National Scenic Trail | Pembroke
The advised route for enjoying Cascades is to use the Lower Trail (Creekside Trail), which features nice bridges to cross Little Stony Creek twice before arriving at the impressive 69-foot vertical falls. The pool is a popular swimming hole; hike during the week for a more natural encounter. Rather than retracing your footsteps, proceed along the Upper Trail (Woodland Trail) for a different vantage point. [MAP]
4. Carvins Cove Natural Reserve | Roanoke
When it comes to municipal parks, you wouldn’t expect one to be 12,700 acres. Yet, that’s the size of Carvins Cove, the third largest municipal park in the United States. More than 50 miles of multi-use trails (including four miles of Appalachian Trail) and a large recreational reservoir (no swimming) make it a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
5. Explore Park | Roanoke
Fourteen miles of trails traverse the 1,100-acre Explore Park. Begin at parking lot D (Journey’s End) to easily access the historic area and the 1.5-mile river walk along the Roanoke River. Check out the reconstructed buildings representative of life from the 1800s through the early 20th century, including a blacksmith shop, farmstead, cabin, and school house. [MAP]
6. Roaring Run Trail | Eagle Rock
Wander along Roaring Run, a stream that flows past an old iron ore furnace, which happens to be on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll find a picnic area, places to wade in the water or even take a dip. The waterfall is a hot spot in every season. Bring your camera and enjoy an afternoon. [MAP]