The holidays can be very stressful, making right now the best time to take a break and get outside. Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains are a vast region packed full of fantastic trails for the amateur to the avid hiker. As the colors begin to change, the foliage is sure to amaze. With 600 miles of trails available, choosing which one to conquer can be the biggest challenge. Look no further — we did some research and discovered four of the best hiking trails located throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains.
McAfee Knob, located near Salem, VA, is among one of the most photographed regions on the Appalachian Trail for its panoramic view of the valley. This 8.8-mile hike is especially beautiful in the fall with the change of color and crisp air — perfect for a full day outdoor excursion.
(Round trip total: 8.8 miles, 4 hours, 3/5 difficulty)
Sharp Top is more challenging than McAfee Knob with its occasional steep climbs and variability, but the 360-degree view of the summit makes the hard work worth it. Located in Bedford, VA, it’s a very popular route amongst campers in the area and may get busy throughout the day.
(Round trip total: 3.5 miles, 2.5 hours, 4/5 difficulty)
Apple Orchard Falls
Located in Jefferson National Forest, Apple Orchard Falls is perfect if you’re looking for a route with an abundance of streams. In fact, about 90% of the hike will be in viewing distance of water. You may want to pack a rain jacket and shoes with grip for crossing wet rocks.
(Round trip total: 5.5 miles, 4.5 hours, 3/5 difficulty)
Bottom Creek Gorge
Forming the source of the Roanoke River, Bottom Creek Gorge is a sight to see. Boasting the second highest waterfall in Virginia at 200ft tall, it also includes several forms of plants and wildlife. This is a great hike for photographers and bird watchers alike.
(Round trip total: 4 miles, 2.5 hours, 2/5 difficulty)