It's a half-mile climb to the summit cul de sac, then a half-mile backtrack to the trailhead alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Roanoke. The 300-foot rise in elevation is enough to accomplish two things: (1) providing a short but vigorous workout for a time-pressed hiker seeking a brief lung stretcher for fitness sake and (2) separating the hiker from the parkway just enough to savor that wild woods flavor. It's a lovely little forest hike, under oaks, maples and pines. In May, mountain laurel and azalea blossoms add a floral touch. In August, the cicadas sing a wistful chorus. In October, the color-splattered foliage dazzles.