The Blue Ridge mountains, in Virginia, offer some of the most spectacular views and nature on the East coast. With much of the area untouched by development, this region holds an endless array of trails and natural features.
Nature in it’s most blissful form can be found in your own backyard. With much of the local population having gone on hiking trips in the Blue Ridge mountains, I have also found myself going hiking to appreciate all that nature has to offer in this beautiful corner of the world.
For those who love to spend their time hiking, we have compiled a list of some of the best spots to hike in Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains.
Old Rag Mountain
Having done this hike before several times, there is a pristine beauty to this place throughout the year. Located in Shenandoah National Park, Old Rag Mountain sits as one of the best places for a beautiful 360-degree view. The last time I went was in the Fall, and the foliage made for a spectacular view.
The hike begins with a trail that takes you through switchbacks and woods for several miles. This is a hike that definitely requires food and water. There are two ways to summit: the path or the rock scramble. I decided to do the rock scramble.
After climbing what is more like a natural staircase to the top, the vista from the summit will have made it all worth it. We were able to sit and marvel at the view before the long hike back down on a different path.
The hike itself is very long, around 8 miles or so and can be very difficult at times, but in my opinion it is one of the most rewarding hikes on this list.
Located near Catawba, Virginia and part of the Appalachian Trail, Dragon’s Tooth is a large rock formation jutting out of the ground. Getting there is the hardest part, as the trail is pretty rocky and has a steep incline. After a few miles of walking on the Appalachian trail, it sticks out like a sore thumb in all the greenery that surrounded it.
I didn’t opt to climb it, but there were spectacular views, regardless. The hike is moderately challenging, but it is rewarding and does not take more than 5 hours or so. Being on the Appalachain Trail, there are also several ways to get back to where you started.
I have done this hike several times, and I can say I enjoyed it the most out of all of these. McAfee’s knob is also on the Appalachian Trail and is pretty close to where Dragon’s Tooth is. After hiking uphill for several miles, we were able to see some overlooks that provide a great view of the Catawba Valley. This is one of my favorite spots in the Blue Ridge mountains
Heading uphill for a long walk, one should definitely bring extra water especially in warmer weather. The trail takes you to another set of cliffs where the top of McAfee’s knob is. The knob itself is a perfect place for pictures standing like a stage above the hills below.
The hike is slightly challenging at around 8 miles in total, and like most of these hikes the way down is a lot easier than the way up.
This is one of the easiest hikes on this list, with the biggest reward. With its close proximity to Blacksburg, Virginia, I have done this hike many times since coming to college in the area. Once you reach the parking at the trail head in Pembroke, Virginia, it is only a two mile hike in wooded terrain to get to the falls.
There is an interesting amount of wilderness in the area, and most of the trail is under the shade of the woods. After the relatively easy hike, you will be greeted by one of the most surprising waterfalls you have ever seen. It stands almost 70 feet and has nothing blocking it. You can even swim in the area below it, but the water is always freezing.
Many people take this hike, so be prepared to potentially wait in line to experience this natural wonder or try to go during a less busy time.
Bottom Creek Gorge
Also in close proximity to the Blacksburg area, this hike is relatively moderate. The trails take you to plenty of wildlife and water. I went in the spring, where the entire area is dotted with wildflowers, and beautfiul scenery.
The trail also leads to a massive waterfall, which is very picturesque, and less trafficked than the Cascades, that are tiny in comparison. The hike itself is pretty short and easy at only a few miles, which makes this trail a great day trip for the recreational hiker.
These are just a handful of all the amazing hikes in Virginia, and there are dozens more to choose from, not including the Appalachian trail itself which spans several states.