It’s a beautiful day for January. The sun is shining and I can feel spring in my feathers. Around here, Hokies get antsy in the cold weather; cabin fever is a real issue. So, even though it’s cold, it’s still a sunny day that shouldn’t be wasted. Momma Dot and I plan on going on a hike. But of course, I want to help a Hokie out before I go. If you’re feeling adventurous today, here’s a list of my favorite hiking places near or around the ‘Burg. Each destination is unique and beautiful in its own way.
One of my go-to places to hike is Bald Knob at Mountain Lake. The hike there is enough to get you sweating, but it’s not a very long hike at all. Plus, there are two routes: the difficult one and the moderate one. The difficult route is much shorter, but let me tell you Hokies, it is quite the workout. It is straight up the mountain, but it does allow one to feel in tune with nature. The alternative route is much like the New River Trail. It’s longer, snakes its way up the mountain, and is a graveled and leveled path. Either route is great, but the view is even greater. At the top of Bald Knob, a hiker can see blankets of mountains rolling over top of each other. It’s amazing, especially at sunset. Additionally, if you’re a fan of the movie Dirty Dancing, the movie was filmed at this area. You can walk around the museum area at the parking lot to reminisce on this film. This hiking area is about 40 minutes away from campus.
Buffalo mountain is a beautiful little area and a nice place to hike. It’s a longer hike than Bald Knob, but less intense. It’s a great family hike, especially if you have little ones. The view from the hump of the mountain is gorgeous, especially in the fall. You can see for miles from the top of this mountain. This hiking area is again, about 40-50 minutes away from Blacksburg.
The Cascades is a great spot to go to during all seasons of the year. Hop on 460, drive 30 minutes down the road from Blacksburg, and you’re there! If it’s a hot day, you can act as if the destination is a well-deserved treat and take a nice dip under the falls. The Cascades is a beautiful waterfall that crashes over the side of a mountain. It’s a nice transition from hiking to the top of a mountain. This hike is only 4 miles round trip, but it is beautiful. This hike is even worth it in the wintertime; I’ve seen the frozen Cascades and they are just as beautiful as the fully-thawed, fully-crashing Cascades. You should certainly take the time to visit.
Sharp Top Mountain
Sharp Top Mountain is one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever been on. Me and Momma Dot thought we’d never get to the top. It’s straight up the mountain for multiple miles, so make sure you pack plenty of water and plan your time well. However, I’ve never, ever been on a hike so beautiful. When I reached the top of the mountain, I stood in awe. It was absolutely and unbelievably stunning. I’d hike the mountain 100 more times if it means I’d get to see that view again. I highly recommend it. This mountain is about an hour and a half away from campus. It’s closer to Liberty’s campus, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit. Try it out on a weekend when you aren’t too busy. I assure you, you will not regret it.
Grayson Highlands State Park
Grayson Highlands State Park (also known as Mount Rogers) is an amazing park with hundreds and hundreds of acres and hiking trails. If you’re looking for waterfalls, the Highlands have them. If you’re looking for wild ponies, the Highlands have those too. If you’re looking for amazing views from the peak of mountain-tops, you guessed it. The Highlands have multiple. You can also camp and backpack at the Highlands. It is literally one of my favorite places on earth. About two hours away from Blacksburg, the Highlands offer a wide variety of activities and trails for all walks of life.
If you’re itching to get out Hokies, here are some places I recommend. Exercise is good for your body, especially after winter hibernation. Take a break from your school work and get out for a little while. You won’t regret visiting any of these locations.