Carvins Cove from the Appalachian Trail
Gail looks out over Carvins Cove from the Appalachian Trail.
Part of the beauty of this hike is that, if you live in Roanoke and have a rushed weekend to squeeze a hike into, you can be to its trailhead in 20 minutes, and an hour's walk later you're well up on the Tinker Mountain ridge line looking down on Carvins Cove. So including driving time, a leisurely meal from the viewpoint and the 2.8 miles each way, you're back home in less than four hours, and having walked on The Great Trail.
Nor is it a particularly hard hike, with its first section meandering toward a crossing of Tinker Creek and then beginning an 800-foot climb – with several switchbacks and no terribly steep sections – to the ridge. And the reward – the trail taking you out onto the viewpoint rock – is well worth it, especially when the reservoir is close to full as it was on this day.
There was evidence of the recent fire along the ridge, with the ground, fallen branches and smaller trees blackened, and the understory pretty much gone for perhaps a quarter mile.
Appalachian Trail from U.S. 220 in Daleville to Carvins Cove overlook rock and back. About 5.6 miles.
How to get there: Exit 150 North from I-81 to parking area on left as you enter U.S. 220 north, just shy of the Exxon station.