Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve
The Day Hiker, ahead as always, on one of the trails of the Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve.
These trails, just off of U.S. 220 at Rocky Mount, Va., are as easy and enjoyable as any around Roanoke. And on this day, with the far end of the western trail loop closed off for deer hunting (in a Natural Area Preserve?!), we couldn't walk all of the 6.6-mile total of the three-trail system. (And like most of the preserves, they seem to call the distances miles when they go by so fast you think they must be kilometers.)
The trails are also nicely maintained and elegantly built, with many sets of rock steps on even the gentlest of climbs.
This is a great place, at least when it's all open to walking, to get in as easy a 6.6 as there is, or to introduce someone to hiking. With the far end closed off, it's over too fast.
Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve trails. About 5 miles.
How to get there: Rocky Mount exit from U.S. 220, then .7 to Technology Drive and parking at the school facilities.