This rain is making me a little bit stir-crazy, especially since it’s finally cool enough to, you know, actually exist outdoors. Luckily, the forecast is predicting ample sunshine this weekend, and temps are expected to stay (relatively) mild. This good weather will probably continue into the better part of October, which happens to me one of my favorite months, especially in Roanoke. Nestled right in the heart of the Blue Ridge, Roanoke is rightly cited as one of the most scenic cities in all of Appalachia, especially during fall’s “peak season,” when the mountains come alive with bright shades of red, yellow, and orange. Though the temptation to bundle up indoors and watch Netflix is very real, you’d be crazy to miss out on this beautiful, once a year color-show. As an offering of encouragement, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can get out there and explore this Fall. Believe me, you won’t regret it.
- Carvins Cove
Carvins cove is a nature reserve that also happens to be the second largest municipal park in the U.S. It boasts more than 40 miles of multi-purpose trails, a large reservoir, and plenty of beautiful scenery. Great for fishing, biking, and hiking, Carvins Cove has something for any outdoor junkie. If you’re not much of a hiker, the Cove has several low-intensity trails that can be enjoyed with ease. Check out http://www.playroanoke.com/parks/carvins-cove/ for directions.
- McAfee Knob
This hike is a Roanoke classic. As one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian trail, McAfee Knob attracts millions of hikers every year. The climb up is long (about six miles round trip) and moderately difficult, but the view (especially during the fall) is worth it. This one is a must-see. https://www.visitroanokeva.com/things-to-do/outdoor-adventure/appalachian-trail/mcafee-knob/
- Natural Bridge Park
Located in nearby Rockbridge, Natural Bridge Park was very recently incorporated as a state park, and for good reason. Thomas Jefferson once called this natural wonder “the most sublime of nature’s works.” The Park has a number of fun attractions, including an easy scenic walking trail that leads you under the natural bridge, waterfalls, a Monacan Indian village, and more. The fall is a particularly pretty (and busy) time in Natural Bridge, but the crowds are easily worth the experience. https://www.visitroanokeva.com/listings/natural-bridge-park-%26-historic-hotel-a-virginia-state-park/6213/
- Roaring Run Trail
Roaring Run is a stunning, easy trail that winds along the roaring run stream, leading hikers to an impressive waterfall. There are places to picnic and fish along the stream, and the hike is easy enough for small children. https://www.visitroanokeva.com/listings/roaring-run-trail/6616/
- Peaks of Otter
Peaks of Otter has something for any adventurer. There’s a lake, restaurant, campgrounds, hiking trails, and more. The hike up Sharptop Mountain, one of the peaks, is difficult, but hikers will be rewarded with some of the best view the Blue Ridge has to offer. https://www.visitroanokeva.com/listings/peaks-of-otter/5610/