On an unseasonably warm day, and the last day of some phase of the hunting season, we chose Carvins Cove as a destination. It's often full of bikers and horse riders in addition to hikers, but no hunters.
But over this pleasant walk with a visit to the reservoir (more than 7 feet below pond and showing it), and with good views back down on it and over to McAfee Knob, we saw only a lone hiker, who came upon us as he was heading down the wrong side of the mountain to get back to the Bennett Springs lot. Once he turned around, he took off at a serious pace; it's a rare thing when someone walks away from The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All.
We ate along the Brushy Mountain Trail, looking across at McAfee Knob.
Given that the preserve now has three entrance points as well as the walk-in from Plantation Road, there are many loops to be built from the many trails at Carvins Cove. Time to try some new ones!
At Carvins Cove Preserve, a loop using the Horse Pen, Gauntlet, Brushy Mountain and Trough trails. About 7.5 miles
How to get there: Va. 311 west of Salem to Timberview Road near Hanging Rock, to parking lot at end of Timberview.