Terrapin Mountain and Reed Creek trails loop
View is across the valley between Terrapin Mountain and Thunder Ridge, with the Blue Ridge Parkway slicing along the side of Thunder Ridge.
The two minor drawbacks of this enjoyable, mostly gentle loop are that its viewpoints are in the first two miles or so, and it ends with a long ascent.
That first drawback resulted in our earliest-into-walk lunch ever, as we were just about exactly one-quarter of the way through when we stopped on the side of Terrapin Mountain, breaking a forever tradition of having at least half the walk done before sitting down.
The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All might identify a third drawback to the walk as well: the two crossings of Reed Creek, at least in the spring when the water is running high. As happened the last time we were here, three nearly-springs ago, we could hear the flow from half a mile away, and as we approached, one of us was pleased with the coming challenge of finding a set of rocks that would deliver us across the rushing stream. We eventually did, convincing ourselves that it was the same set we'd used back in '09.
My recollection was that the second stream crossing was easier than the first, but again, the water was high, the rocks wet and the perils clear. And so while I worked to pick my way from wet rock to wet rock, The Day Hiker wasted not a moment in removing her shoes and socks, wading into the stream without hesitation and reaching the far bank at just about the same moment I did, having had enough of rock hopping to gladly endure the cold water.
Across the stream that second time, the trail turns again upward along an old forest road. Which we climbed until it seemed we'd been on it too long, before the sharp right off it came to mind just about the time we reached it, and took us on up to our starting point, ending the three-hour "second half" of this four-hour walk.
Terrapin Mountain and Reed Creek trails loop. 9 miles
How to get there: From U.S. 460 through Bedford, Va. 122 north to left on Va. 602 and on up the side of the mountain to the western trailhead for the Terrapin Mountain Trail.