Appalachian Hiking Trail Descriptions: Roanoke- Virginia

The Appalachian Mountains stretch thousands of miles along the North American eastern seaboard and Virginia offers a treasure of trails penetrating the enchanting mountains' core.  The following list provides insight into the most popular hiking trails.  Contact us for more information or see our AUX HIKES for more hiking opportunities.

Hike difficulty:

Difficult Moderate Easy (hike distances noted are one way)

McAfee Knob:

This very popular 3mi hike can be tackled in two ways: The trailhead is located atop a ridgeline and this initial boost in height makes the first 2/3rds relatively easy. This first section can be covered using the regular hiking trail or by using the fire road-trail. The regular trail, using the Appalachian Trail, makes the hike a little more difficult with jagged terrain and irregular hiking while the fire road rides the ridge in steady fashion. The last 1/3rd is all up the Appalachian Trail and generates a moderate rating for the whole route. Watch Video

McAfee Knob ViewMcAfee Knob Appalachian Trail hiking Tour


Dragon's Tooth:

Upon nearing the parking area at the base of this feature, its looming sight indicates the obvious work needed to tackle it... As Video Hike Shows In this respect, the trail narrative will not let you down. The first half of the 2mi hike steadily follows stream valleys and gulches upwards to a gap. The rest of the hike is not only vigorously up but also dominated by rock cascades which beg using the hands to overcome. Near the top there is a short narrow ledge to be navigated and a couple embedded bars that need to be climbed like a ladder. A first timer may have trouble. Although the hike is labeled difficult, the top sports 40ft vertical rock plates and a view that will tug at you not to leave.

Catawba Rocks:

Starting at the same trailhead as the McAfee hike but traveling the opposite direction, a walk of less than 1/2mi sports a fantastic rock outcrop with a wide angle view. Although the trail rides over some ridge-line hills, this trail is rated easy and a great choice for the beginner. Watch Video

Apple Orchard Falls:

This gentle up-sloping 2mi hike has no surprises. There are no real steep climbs, although the grade increases somewhat near the falls. This falls is the largest in the area and its roar is coupled with a misty spray which feels great on a hot summer's day. You may also want to hike up its side for more exhilarating views. Watch Video. The hike is rated easy to moderate and can be easily included with a camping segment.

Tinker Cliffs:

This hike starts at creek level and employs many switchback trails to attain the cliffs’ height. The switchbacks might become monotonous but are not difficult. Although there are two embedded sharp climb sections, this 3mi hike is rated moderate, to most. The huge block cliffs produce a striking view in the southwest direction while many large birds & wildlife are usually abundant. Watch Video

Fossil Hunt:

A short walk along a creek basin reveals an area where fossils can be found. These fossils range in the area of about 450-500 million years old and a souvenir can be pocketed. The walk is short and flat making this more than an easy hike and affords plenty of time to explore the eroded creek beds or trail, very peaceful. Watch Video

Sinking Creek Mountain:

This 3mi+ hike will test stamina. Divided into 3 contrasting sections, the first, at the base, is moderate with some downward path. The middle section starts where a shelter is found while its steepness increases dramatically, jockeying through some rocky segments, and making it a bit taxing. Mountain goats have been spotted in this area. The last mile consists of a linear trajectory angled upwards along the mountain ridge-line which eventually intersects the top. The long, constant lumbering nearing the top might test stamina but is not difficult. The rock slabs on top provide a great view of an opposing backbone ridge. This area affords the best chance to experience extreme Appalachian isolation. Although rated as moderate at first, this hike has been re-assessed as difficult due to hikers' input and the additional hiking along choppy rock getting to the big rock slabs on top of this Eastern Divide ridge-line. Watch Video

Fantastic ViewWalking to Campsite