Looking for a great trail to hike? Well, you are in luck!
Rocky Knob Rec Area has a lot to offer! We personally like the Black Ridge Trail, which is a 3 mile loop. Park at the visitors center, and follow the trail across the street to the Twelve O’clock Knob Lookout. This trail has a lot to offer as it takes you through the woods, over a meadow, and across a creek. There are cows in the pastures that you will be hiking through, so be aware of them and the cow patties! Rock Castle Gorge Trail is a little over 10 miles but can be done in sections, which is what we have done. We suggest parking on the grass outside of the campground and then crossing the parkway, where there’s a small entrance and a sign in the pasture. Again be aware that there are cows (and a BULL!) that roam freely. As we entered the pasture, we went right, towards the Saddle Overlook. Another section of this trail is spectacular, but parking is tricky and in short supply. Park at the Fire Road gate at the end of CC Camp Lane off of Route 8. If you’re looking at the map on their website, you can see it on the bottom left. We only hiked a mile down due to the limited amount of time but have heard there are old homesteads further down. If you have water shoes, bring them! There are a lot of spots to explore the creek that follows this trail.
Buffalo Mountain Trail is a must if you're in this area! Get there early, because there are only 10 parking spots and it fills up quickly! Start with the red trail, which is .9 miles and has 600 ft of elevation gain. It was beautiful and shaded, but be sure to keep a lookout for bears!
Once you're at the loop, be prepared for jaw dropping views! Pictures don't do it justice. Bring a picnic or snacks. There are tons of spots to sit and take it all in, while keeping your distance from others.The blue trail is .5 miles back down to the parking lot. It was pretty easy, so if you're looking for something a bit more exciting, take the red trail back.
Pilot Mountain State Park is about an hour drive down the mountain towards Winston Salem, NC. We highly recommend visiting on a weekday and if not, arrive very early! They close the parking lots at the top by 10am on Saturday and Sundays. There is a shuttle to take visitors to the top, or you can hike *** Trail from the visitors center to the top. If you have kiddos, grab Jr Ranger packets here! The Jomeokee Trail is a .8 mile loop around the knob itself and is rated moderate, but we felt like it was pretty easy. There are a lot of great spots to enjoy a picnic lunch with great views. Ledge Spring Trail is a 1 mile, one way, strenuous trail. There are a lot of big rocks to climb up and down, so smaller kids may need more assistance. Bonus for this trail: you may see some rock climbers! Little Pinnacle Overlook is a super easy stroll and offers some amazing views.
Fairy Stone State Park is about 40 minutes down the mountain in Stuart, VA. We have only hiked one of the many trails here. Little Mountain Falls Trail is a little over 4 miles when combined with the other trails that lead to the entrance. I highly recommend bringing/wearing water shoes. There were quite a few water crossings that we were not aware of. There is a waterfall and a great view! The trail and park was not busy, although we were there on a Monday afternoon. Bonus: We found 3 fairy stones!
Other great and easy options include the short walk around Mabry Mill Loop (the most photographed spot on the parkway!) and Round Meadow Creek Trail, both right around the corner from the property. Hanging Rock State Park is about an hour away and has a lot of trails that we have yet to explore.