After over a year in quarantine and what seems like a decade-long winter, spring is finally here! One of the best outdoor activities in the New River Valley and surrounding areas is the beautiful hikes Virginia has to offer. After all, we do have some of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Whether you’re a beginner or consider yourself an expert, there is no shortage of hikes that will fit your skill level. We have compiled a list of 10 of the most popular hikes recommended by the NRV community that the area has to offer!
Notably one of the most popular hikes in the New River Valley, the Cascades offers a shaded scenic hike around 4 miles long. One of the biggest attractions to this hike is the outstanding 66-foot waterfall located on the trail. Warm or cold, this trail won’t leave you unsatisfied!
If you are already thinking about hiking the Cascades or want to hike a little longer, check out Barney’s Wall which is located on the same trail. This hike measures around 8 miles, which you can locate by hiking uphill another 2 miles from the Cascades trail. To access the trail, keep left at the first and second intersections to stay on the upper trail. Then at the third intersection stay straight on the Conversancy Trail, which you will follow for .4 miles, and then branch to the left to the yellow-blazed hike. After about 1.1 miles on that hike, you will reach the Barney’s Wall spur hike.
3. Bald Knob
Another popular NRV hike located in Pembroke, VA is Bald Knob. Bald Knob is most noted for its easy hiking trail, around 1 mile, for a beautiful sunset picture. A bonus to this hike is the ability to access Mountain Lake, where “Dirty Dancing” was filmed, from the Bald Knob parking lot.
Easily one of the most popular hikes in Virginia, McAfee’s Knob sits right down the road in Catawba, Virginia. McAfee’s, which is a part of the Appalachian Trail, is most noted for its unique photography spot at the top of the mountain. This hike is an 8.8 heavily trafficked out and back trail which features beautiful flowers and wildlife.
Located just right down the road from McAfee’s is the Dragon’s Tooth Trail. This hike which is much shorter, around 4.5 miles, and much less crowded, offers some amazing views as well. With a rock crawl and a 35-foot tooth made of quartzite, this will be a hike you most definitely remember for a lifetime.
Staying around the area, Tinker Cliffs is also located near Catawba, Virginia, and offers some amazing views. To access the hike you must enter through a private farm and cross two bridges before starting the incline. With about 7.7 miles to hike, you can reach a summit with a gorgeous view of the Catawba Valley.
7. Stiles Falls
Easy to navigate with beautiful scenery is the Stiles Falls trail located in Shawsville, VA. This 3.2 out and back trail offers many views including creeks and a waterfall. Fairly easy hike with only a few steep climbs. Great hike for beginners!
Located right in Blacksburg along Tom’s Creek, the Deerfield Trail is another great spot for beginners. This paved 1.6-mile trail offers many views including creeks, small ponds, marshy wetlands, and beautiful wildlife. If you ever need a break, there are benches alongside the walking path too!
Another great hike located in Blacksburg, VA is the Falls Ridge Preserve. This hike is a fan favorite with beautiful rock formations and a stream running through. This silver-blazed trail is a little over 3 miles and a great stop for a picnic!
10. Pandapas Pond
Located in Blacksburg, VA, Pandapas Pond offers a variety of different hikes! In total, there are 17 different hikes you can pick from once you arrive. Each hike ranges from .5 all the way up to 7 miles long. Hiking the Pandapas Pond trails is great when you have a group of different skill leveled hikers. Not to mention the beautiful scenery each trail holds!
Please adhere to the Leave No Trace principles of disposing of any waste and doing your part to help keep these wonderful trails accessible and enjoyable for others for many years to come. Respect the wildlife and natural environment of the area and minimize your impact to maintain the integrity and quality of the trail. Learn more about what you can do to help preserve the outdoors by visiting the Leave No Trace website >
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