Happy Trails: The Best Hiking Routes Near Roanoke, Virginia

Happy Trails: The Best Hiking Routes Near Roanoke, Virginia

Roanoke is a lovely city in Virginia, surrounded by green hills and peaceful countryside. The city itself has a lot to offer; however, just minutes after leaving the downtown, you will feel like you are miles away from civilization.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are nearby, with over 600 miles of trails from the easiest gentle stroll to the most challenging climb. There are several other trails easily accessible from Roanoke. Here are a few of the best:

McAfee Knob

This lookout is the most photographed spot along the Appalachian Trail. The climb is a six-mile roundtrip with a gradual uphill that is moderately challenging. It is not suitable for children under four. The view at the 3400-foot top is worth it, as you will be able to perch on the rock and survey the panorama.

To get to McAfee’s Knob, take the 81 South to the 311 exit from Roanoke, then follow it to the town of Catawba. The signs for the Appalachian Trail should be present on the left side of the road.

Dragon’s Tooth

At the top of Cove Mountain, there is a dramatic rock formation that juts out of the top of the peak, resembling the jagged teeth of a dragon. This is a challenging hike and it involves scrambling up some rock steps. At one steep point, you use iron bars embedded into the rock.

Once you reach the “tooth” itself, wander around the back of it. There is a crevice that allows you to climb up it for an amazing view. Only do this is you feel safe, however.

Mill Mountain Trail

This scenic trail will take you up one of the most famous mountains in the Roanoke Valley. It begins at the mountain’s base. It is a steady but gentle incline up toward the summit where you will find the iconic Roanoke Star. Up at the summit you will find lookout points, the Mill Mountain Zoo and picnic areas.

Once you have been the famous Mill Mountain Star, you can head down the mountain for dinner and drinks at the Fork in the Alley, a fantastic neighborhood pub.

The Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail

This is a trail perfect for families with small children. It is not as dramatic and scenic as some of the other trails, but it is gentle and level. It is a perfect trail to enjoy together as a family.

To reach the trailhead, head down Interstate 81 and take exit 141 to Salem. Turn left into VA Route 311. Then, the parking area will be on your left.

These are a sample of the best hikes that you can reach easily from Roanoke, Virginia. Why not grab your shoes, get out there and enjoy the wilderness?

About the Author: Rachel Marcus is a freelance travel writer and hiking enthusiast. She recently backpacked the Appalachian Trail. She camped most of the way, but stopped at the Mainstay Suites in Roanoke Virginia for a break and some much-needed luxury.

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