The Greatest Day Hiker of Them All, with puppy, seen through a somewhat smeared camera lens.
Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail near Roanoke Mountain. 5.4 miles.
This easy, convenient-to-Roanoke walk is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway spur to Mill Mountain. It's also a pleasant trek, with little peaks into South Roanoke and Southeast Roanoke, with semi-secluded woods at spots, but much more a feel of being near the city; as Gail says, you're never really away from the sound of traffic.
The trail starts out pretty woodsy if you walk counter-clockwise, heading left as you reach the trail a short distance in from the parking lot at the Chestnut Ridge Overlook.
Later, you skirt the edges of the Roanoke Mountain Campground, which appeared empty to our limited views.
Then there's one more good wooded stretch before descending to walk along the road (Va. 672) for 100 feet and then back, gently up, to the parking lot.
This is a good hike if you're based in Roanoke, to save for a rushed or maybe snowy day. And while there's no signature lunch spot, you're done pretty quickly and a whole city-full of great lunch spots await just down the mountain.
October 11, 2009