You can still get The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All to walk 10-plus miles, but you have to sort of sneak up on it in several steps:
1. Propose a hike with an hour-and-a-half drive each way; then respond to hesitancy with mention of using some of that drive time as walk time instead.
2. Talk about the 12-plus mile, two-car hike that gets mentioned now and again--on the Appalachian Trail from Va. 311 to the bottom of the Andy Lane at Va. 779.
At that point, this loop--without mention of the actual mileage--seems pretty inviting.
And it is, really, despite the climbs of Tinker Mountain from both sides. The trail just north of Lambert's Meadow Shelter is blue-blazed just infrequently enough to keep you concentrating as you walk along where it's clear few others tread. And whatever little difficulty there is to this loop didn't register with The Day Hiker till we linked back to the AT and she saw the sign talking about 2.9 miles to Lambert's Meadow Shelter. Which meant nearly two miles till we were up on Tinker Cliffs.
Which is, every time, a simply ideal place for lunch, as you get to pick your own big sunny rock.
The way back down is, well, the way back down, including the minor re-routing near the start of the Andy Lane Trail, where the trail now shortcuts between the two bridges, angling across the field instead of going down to the creek and then paralleling it for a short stretch.
So hey, maybe now the loop is only 10.4!
Andy Lane/unnamed blue-blaze/Appalachian Trail loop. 10.6 miles
How to get there: Va. 311 west from Salem to right on Va. 779 to parking lot on the right about 7 miles in along 779.