guides

10 Family Hikes In & Around The New River Valley

By Cris Thompson January 1, 2019

NRV Macaroni Kid's list of  New River Valley hikes are a genuine breath of fresh air and memorable way to create an outdoor adventure. This guide makes it simple to choose one suited to your family. 

The Cascades (Pembroke)

The featured point of this hike is the gorgeous 5-story crystal waterfalls that shower into Little Stony Creek. In the wintertime, it becomes a spectacular

nature made ice tower; the closest thing to Elsa’s ice castle the NRV has to offer. Low to moderate intensity.

The Huckleberry Trail (Christiansburg / Blacksburg)

Bike, trike, or hike.  The historic Huckleberry is a great way to escape the Holiday hustle and bustle of the ‘burgs.  Fully paved, this trail meanders from the NRV Mall in Christiansburg, along bubbling streams and smoke stained train trestles, to downtown Blacksburg. An excellent New Year’s walk to bring the grandparents along. Low intensity.

Claytor Lake State Park (Dublin)

If you are longing for the return of summer by the water, you can still enjoy some lakeside wintertime fun. On New Year’s Day Claytor Lake State Park will host guided family hikes throughout the day starting at 11 am to satisfy everyone’s level of outdoor activity - short, long, and dog-friendly, as well a special activities and prizes for pet parents. Low to moderate intensity. (Virginia State Parks is offering prizes up to $500 to people who sign their New Year’s hiking participation pledge by 12/31)

Pandapas Pond (Blacksburg)

A one-mile loop just minutes north of Blacksburg, Pandapas Pond is a great way to quickly knock out a nice morning walk and still be home in time for a hearty New Year’s breakfast. Low to moderate intensity.

Appalachian Trail (Pearisburg)

The New River Valley is fortunate to have the world renowned Appalachian Trail in its backdoor. The Pearisburg access point is the ideal location to grab snacks and brag to out of town relatives that you have bucket list hiked the “AT” (even if it was only for a couple of hours).  Moderate to difficult depending on distance and access point.

New River Trail (Pulaski)

Once a valley connecting railroad is now a popular path exploring the natural beauty of the peaks and plateaus of the New River Valley and Blue Ridge. With Pulaski and Draper as the closest access points, this trail cuts through the most scenic areas of four Virginia Counties, ending in Galax. Offering several access points, this easy trail is a great option for strolls, hikes, and bikes. Flat terrain and graveled trail. Some segments include trestles and tunnels. Great way for the family to explore what’s ‘just around the bend’ and excellent trail side stops for picnics. Low to moderate intensity depending on day hike distance.

Mountain Lake Conservancy (Pembroke)

Encompassing nearly 2,500 acres of Appalachian mountains and forests, Mountain Lake Conservancy is ribboned with enough weekend hiking adventures to keep you challenged will into summer. Approximately 20 trails with distances ranging from ¼ mile to nearly 2 miles and difficulty from low to extreme, Mountain Lake is an excellent location to progressively challenge your outdoor endurance.  Intensity varies.

Rock Castle Gorge National Recreation Trail (Floyd)

Elevations on this hike begin at 1,300 feet and rise to beyond ½ mile. A great path to challenge experienced hikers to their New Year next level. Featuring views of cascades and valleys, this 10.8 mile backcountry loop awards hikers with well earned views of magnificent mountain vistas.   Moderate to difficult intensity.

Radford Riverway / Bissett Park (Radford)

Meandering along the New River in Radford, the Radford Riverway connects Bissett Park with Radford University. Paved, this trail is a great location for families with wee ones and very stroller friendly. Other perks include playgrounds, numerous fishing holes, and sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables sprinkled along the path. Afterward, visit downtown Radford and refuel among several great local eateries. Low to moderate intensity with slight inclines near RU campus.

McAfee Knob (Catawba)

Recognized by USA Today Travel as one of the most spectacular hikes in the United States (and probably one of the most photographed), McAfee Knob located on the Appalachian Trail boasts 270-degree panoramic and limitless views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Bring the camera, because family selfies are a must at the crest of this 3,197 feet peak. Moderate to difficult with some rocky terrain and inclines.

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You might also enjoy: 10 Great Family Day Trips 
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