Five of the Best Hiking Trails in the Blue Ridge MountainsBookmark this
The Blue Ridge Mountains, in the Eastern United States of America, are iconic for both their beauty and for their wealth of hiking trails. Forming part of the Appalachian range, Blue Ridge extends for five hundred and fifty miles and offers more than one hundred walking routes. These trails take in a myriad of historical sites, fragile land habitats and important geological environments, as well as offering spectacular scenery and breath-taking views. We’ve rounded up five of the best for you, in order of their difficulty level.
An easy one-mile hike, the Abbott Lake Trail, near Bedford, Virginia, is a short stroll that circles the lake, and is a perfect introduction to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s fully ADA compliant, too.
‘The Abbott Lake Trail is an ideal choice for family walks or for a relaxing, peaceful meander around the water,’ says Carmen Robinson, of Essay Help and OXEssays. ‘The route is fully paved and offers beautiful views of both the lake and surrounding mountains. It’s probably one of the easiest of all the Blue Ridge trails,’ she adds.
This moderate level four and half mile route near Thaxton, Virginia takes in the rich landscape of The Peaks of Otter and culminates at the summit of the highest of the area’s peaks. This hiking trail offers walkers the chance to spot a variety of wildflowers and birds and has spectacular views from the peak of Flat Top. The walk begins at The Peaks of Otter visitor centre, where walkers can learn more about the area’s history and significance.
If you’ve still got some steam left once you reach the top, you could choose to continue along a spur from the summit to Cross Rock Trail, adding another moderately difficult 0.1 miles to your hike.
Beginning near Boone, North Carolina, this trail is a moderate to strenuous five and half mile loop that takes in the Boone Fork River and Falls, as well as wildflower meadows, creek crossing and pastureland. This route is one of the most popular of the Blue Ridge Mountain trails. The Falls themselves plummet a spectacular twenty-five feet, cascading onto gigantic boulders at their base.
Hiking shoes are essential for this walk for the many stream crossings, and as the trail can be boggy, especially after rainy weather.
Another popular hiking choice, this trail is strenuous, despite its relatively short loop of just over two miles, much of it through forest, and is located near Canton, North Carolina. The views from the observation deck at the summit are breath-taking.
Lucy Hill, travel blogger at State Of Writing and Paper Fellows says, ‘as well as the obvious attraction of the near panoramic summit views, the abundance of wildflowers, including spectacular displays of rhododendrons, in the spring and summer months make this hike well worth the effort.’
This approximately three mile hike located near Burnsville, North Carolina, is strenuous, and suitable hiking wear is essential. The route takes in forest paths as well as some rocky terrain and is steep in places. The trail’s culmination point is the base of a waterfall that drops sixty feet, throwing up stunning sprays of mist that support the ferns and flowering plants that grow on the rocks here.
There are two options for the return journey; walkers can either retrace their steps back to the trail’s starting point, or can continue onwards to make for a longer loop.
Planning your Hike
To make the most of your excursion, careful planning of your route is essential: check local information before setting out for any weather-related trail closures, and ensure that you have suitable clothing and footwear. Let someone know where you are planning to walk and your estimated time of return. It would be a good idea to consider carrying water and emergency supplies, just in case, especially if you are planning on a long or strenuous route. Be aware of your surroundings, as bear sightings in the area is not uncommon.
And lastly, enjoy the majesty, beauty and serenity of this very special place.