Virginia is For (Nature) Lovers: Four Hikes With Unbeatable Views

Nestled between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains lies a city unbelievably rich in natural beauty. Welcome to Blacksburg, Virginia, a town consistently ranked among the country’s best places to live, and with such an ideal city + nature balance, it’s no wonder why.

Some of the most beautiful hikes in the region, and the country for that matter, are less than an hour’s drive outside of town. If hiking is one of your favorite pastimes, then a getaway to Blacksburg might be exactly what you need.

The iconic Appalachian Trail, a 2,185-mile trail hiked by people from all around the world winds around the town. Depending on the time of year, it’s not uncommon for day hikers to catch a glimpse of the courageous Appalachian Trail hikers.

With such majestic mountains all around, it can be tough to decide where to begin. To help narrow down your search, here are a few of the most iconic hikes, featuring must-see views, near Blacksburg.

Cascade Falls – Pembroke

Difficulty Level – Low to moderate

Cascade Falls in Giles County is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Virginia. As Little Stony Creek and other streams converge on this spot, they create the gorgeous 69-foot falls and surrounding pool. The views are jaw-droppingly beautiful. The hike at Cascade Falls is a four-mile loop with an upper and lower trail. The upper trail offers great views of the creek, while the lower trail is the portion with the most spectacular perspective of the falls. In addition to the water, hikers will also enjoy a rich variety of vegetation and striking rock formations along the trail.

McAfee Knob – Catawba

Difficulty Level – Moderate to Difficult

Often referred to as the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail, McAfee Knob is a challenging but incredibly rewarding hike. The summit provides a stunning 270-degree panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and it’s also a popular spot for picnics. The six-mile round trip hike is moderately difficult. McAfee Knob is on the bucket list for hikers from around the world and should be included in any trip to Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Dragon’s Tooth – Catawba

Difficulty Level – Difficult

This trail isn’t for the faint of heart, but the summit provides a view that’s second to none. Hikers get to see the unique geological features of Cove Mountain and various outcrops of rocks, including the “Dragon’s Tooth,” a 35-foot spire that projects above the surrounding rocks. Climb to the top of the spire and look out across Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Wind Rock – Pembroke

Difficulty Level – Easy

A simple hike with a magnificent overlook. This trail begins along the Appalachian Trail, but eventually it forges its own path. At one point along the trail you’ll reach Mountain Lake Lodge which is where parts of the movie Dirty Dancing were filmed. Unbeknownst to many, Mountain Lake is one of only two natural lakes in Virginia. Once you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with incredible views overlooking ridges and valleys of Virginia and a bit of West Virginia. Definitely a must see.

No matter which hike you choose, be sure to pack plenty of water, be mindful of the weather and the season, and don’t forget your camera! Virginia is a beautiful place to visit year round, but hiking in Autumn is a truly spectacular experience. With the leaves bursting into a vibrant display of fall colors, you’ll be surrounding by incredible beauty.

Take a day trip, stay for the weekend or even spend an entire week hiking around. The Inn at Virginia Tech, in the heart of Blacksburg, provides the perfect base camp for any hiking enthusiast. All of the above hikes are a mere 30-40 minutes from the hotel. Spend all day hiking and spend the evening relaxing at The Inn. Win-win. Happy hiking!

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