Friday, October 20, 2006

Hike du Jour

The rocky spine in the background of the picture above is Cove Mountain, located in western Roanoke County, Virginia, near the community of Catawba (and world famous Homeplace Restaurant). One of the rocks atop this mountain is known as Dragon's Tooth. Click on the picture to enlarge it and see if you can't find a lower jaw of a dragon.

Hiking to the pinnacle of the mountain is one of my favorite day hikes in the region. The trail offers three approaches. First, local Boy Scouts have blazed a trail that is moderately easy leading up to an intersection with the Appalachian Trail. This is the most common for hikers to use because of the large parking area provided off of route 311 at the Roanoke / Craig County line. The second option is to hop on the A.T. and hike south, as described in this article that appeared in the Roanoke Times. The third option is to start at the Trout Creek / Appalachian Trail junction on the north side of Cove Mountain. This section will make you feel like you are climbing Everest but it the most rewarding for the views. Taking the A.T. north, you will pass through old pastures that are lined with rock walls, virgin evergreen stands and lots and lots o' rock out-croppings. You eventually get above treeline (due to the steepness of the terrain) and do a fair share of hand over hand climbing. This is right at the top of the mountain so you are rewarded with 360 views after seven miles of hiking uphill. If you choose to take this route, be advised that you must ford Trout Creek with your car before you get to the parking area. Just make sure that there is no chance of a rainstorm prior to your arrival so you don't get stranded. Being so close to Roanoke and Blacksburg, this time of year makes the first two hiking options a little crowded. I like solitude in on the trail so I prefer the third, little known, harder approach.

a view from the top

1 comment:

Valerie said...

I just happen to stumble across your blog and enjoyed my trip thru-it. I am from Bean Station, TN. 37708