Hikes

THE MOUNTAINS ARE A-CALLIN’ YOU MUST GO 

One of our favorites for outdoor recreation in the Roanoke Region and surrounds is Roanoke Outside.com. The following hikes are provided by them, to help get you outside. Visit their website for more great outdoor ideas. Then come on back to the porch and sit a spell.

McAfee's knob - Great Blue Ridge Hikes when you stay with us at The Claiborne House B&B of VA

TAKE A HIKE (of course we mean that in a nice way)

The surrounding mountains provide the ideal setting for scenic day hikes as well as overnight camping trips. With the Appalachian Trail in our backyard and dozens of park trails, the Roanoke Region offers the best hiking. All of these hikes are day trips from the inn.

ROANOKE HIKES

Within minutes of leaving downtown Roanoke you’ll find yourself, what seems like, hundreds of miles away from anyone. Leave the asphalt, cars, and noise behind and lose yourself on one of these trails.

Bottom Creek Gorge, is 4.0-mile trail through meadows and along a river. Forming the headwaters of the Roanoke River, Bottom Creek Gorge boasts spectacular scenery: the second highest waterfall in Virginia, virgin hemlocks and hundreds of wildflowers.

Buck Mountain Trail, 1-mile trail through a lovely little forest, under oaks, maples and pines.

Carvins Cove Nature Reserve is the second largest municipal park in the nation. It holds a major water source within its 12,700 acres and overflowing recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, fishing, and boat rentals. 11,363 acres of Carvins Cove is protected by the largest conservation easement in Virginia’s history. There more than 40 miles of multi-use trails.

Chestnut Ridge Trail is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a wide and well-graded path lined with mountain laurel and rhododendron. The trail offers 5.4 mile figure-eight loop trail that can be shortened to 2.5 and/or 3.4 miles. Less than 10 minutes from downtown Roanoke.

Dragon’s Tooth is a unique geologic feature that consists of Tuscarora quartzite spires which outcrop on the top of Cove Mountain. The tallest “tooth” projects roughly 35 feet above the surrounding rock. The trail to Dragon’s Tooth ascends steep, rugged outcrops of quartzite which form the spine of Cove Mountain and North Mountain. The spine is known as Dragon’s Back. A difficult hike 4.5-mile round trip, out and back hike, Dragon’s Tooth summit offers magnificent views of nearby and distant peaks year-round.

Explore Park Trail System, located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a 1,100-acre preserve situated along the Roanoke River Gorge with a variety of hiking options. 6+ trail options ranging from <0.5 miles to >10 miles – many of which are loop trails. Only 10 minutes from downtown Roanoke.

Greenways are open-space corridors reserved for recreational use or environmental preservation that connect urban centers. Most greenways can be found along rivers, across ridgelines and along other scenic or historic routes. These spaces often have hiking or multi-use trails, which help link Roanoke’s natural beauty to its charming neighborhoods and vibrant downtown. There are more than 30 miles of greenways throughout the Roanoke Region.

Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail, 1.7-mile trail runs alongside Mason’s Creek.

McAfee Knob is the most photographed site along the Appalachian Trail. The Knob has an almost 270-degree panorama of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the west, Tinker Cliffs to the north and the Roanoke Valley to the east. (See photo above taken at McAfee’s Knob after a lengthy hike)

Mill Mountain Park has more than 9 miles of hiking and biking trails – all within five minutes of downtown Roanoke.

North Mountain Trail, 13.2 miles total, with several shorter loop options. Outstanding views.

Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve protects the world’s largest population of the globally rare shrub Piratebush, which is restricted to only a handful of sites in the mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. A 0.75 and 3.8 mile trail will wind you through the preserve. (See photo below taken at Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve from the longer trail)

Read Mountain is a 243-acre Roanoke County park. It is a ~1.9-mile (3.8 round trip) out/back trail from the parking lot to the Buzzard Rocks summit. This is a moderately difficult hike and you are rewarded with a spectacular view of the valley.

Tinker Cliffs (Andy Layne Trail), difficult trail with creeks and intriguing rock formations. Connects to Appalachian Trail. Great views from Tinker Cliffs.

Tinker Ridge/Hay Rock Overlook is an 8-mile round trip, out and back hike that ascends Tinker Ridge providing the most spectacular views of  Carvins Cove and the Roanoke Valley.

Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve hike - just 45 minutes from The Claiborne House

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY HIKES

Tucked away, within the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, are hundreds of hiking trails. Trails which provide dazzling images of wildflowers on rolling pastures, cascading waterfalls (some with natural rock waterslides), blue tinged mountains, and majestic gorges. Trails found on the Parkway are suited for all skill levels, and provide an initimate view of the most beautiful wilderness in the country. The trails listed below are either on the Blue Ridge Parkway or located nearby.

Balcony Falls Trail, located at milepost 71 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a strenuous 5.5-mile trail, one-way hike.

Bottom Creek Gorge, is 4.0-mile trail through meadows and along a river. Forming the headwaters of the Roanoke River, Bottom Creek Gorge boasts spectacular scenery: the second highest waterfall in Virginia, virgin hemlocks and hundreds of wildflowers.

Buck Mountain Trail, 1 mile trail through a lovely little forest, under oaks, maples and pines.

Chestnut Ridge Trail is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a wide and well-graded path lined with mountain laurel and rhododendron. The trail offers 5.4-mile figure-eight loop trail that can be shortened to 2.5 and/or 3.4 miles. Less than 10 minutes from downtown Roanoke.

Crabtree Falls Trail, 2.9 miles with cascading falls and scenic views.

Explore Park Trail System, located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a 1,100-acre preserve situated along the Roanoke River Gorge with a variety of hiking options. 6+ trail options ranging from <0.5 miles to >10 miles – many of which are loop trails. Only 10 minutes from downtown Roanoke.

Flat Top is a classic Virginia hike – 5.2 mile round trip (out and back) hike at the Peaks of Otter. A lovely trail full of wonderful views, large rock formations, and flora that changes with each turn of the trail, including huge oak, poplar, hickory and beech trees, mountain laurel, rhododendron, and an assortment of wildflowers.

Harkening Hill, the lowliest of the three Peaks of Otter, is the only one with a “loop” trail that swings by the top. Harkening Hill sees far less traffic than it’s bigger brother Sharp Top so the trail is in much better shape. Many interesting granite boulder formations are found on Harkening Hill. This is a 3.5-mile loop trail.

Rock Castle Gorge is an incredible 11 mile hike just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are several variations you can do for shorter mileage but it is highly recommended that you complete the entire loop to obtain the best experience.

Sharp Top is a classic 3-mile round trip (out and back) hike at the Peaks of Otter. Sharp Top was long thought to be Virginia’s tallest mountain, when in fact, it is not even the tallest of the Peaks of Otter. Nearby Flat Top rises to 4,001 feet. Mount Rogers near the North Carolina border is the state’s tallest mountain at 5,729.

Smart View Loop Trail is a 3-mile loop trail located on the Blue Ridge Parkway that offers excellent views of the Virginia Piedmont. Various trails meander through moist deciduous woodlands, hardwood forests, and open fields.

Stewarts Knob Trail is an easy half-mile hike located at mile post 110.6 on the Blue Ridge

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE & PHILPOTT RESERVOIR (Franklin County)

Although better known for water sports and fishing, this area also has some great trails to explore.

Fairy Stone State Park, the largest of Virginia’s six original state parks, is home to its namesake “fairy stones.” These rare mineral crosses and the park’s scenic beauty, rich history and ample recreational opportunities make it a local and regional favorite. More than 9 miles of multi-use trails and a lake will keep you busy.

Franklin County Recreational Park is located two miles off Route 220 and is home to trails rolling over beautiful wooded hills, nestled around an acre size fishing pond.

Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve Hiking Trail starts on Technology Drive in Rocky Mount, across from the YMCA. This hiking trail is managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and totals more than 6.6 miles of scenic hiking. (This is the hill you can see from our parking area or the Sierra Suite/Cascade Room! This is just 1.4 miles from us.)

Philpott’s Dogwood Glenn Trail is a 5-mile hike with scenic lake, wildlife, and wooded views. This trail stretches from Salthouse Branch at Philpott Lake to the Philpott Park Tailrace. (Map to Salthouse Branch)

Smith Mountain Lake Community Park has a trail totaling 3 miles of pleasant lake and wooded view hiking. Entry and exit points are scattered throughout the park, with signs identifying each.

Waid Recreation Area has 7 miles of hiking/biking trails. These trails travel through rivers, over hills, across farm lands, and atop abandoned dirt roads.  This is last existing section of the Carolina Road, the great wagon migration route south, which was part of the Wilderness Road.

ISN’T IT TIME FOR A BLUE RIDGE DAY Y’ALL?