Hike to Hay Rock

8 miles 1640 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Elyse Clark

Hay Rock is a lesser-known hike in the Roanoke area with stunning views of Carvins Cove and McAfee Knob.

If you're looking for a hike in the Roanoke area without the crowds that McAfee Knob draws, but still want a challenging hike with great views, try hiking to Hay Rock.

This 8.0 mile round trip hike begins at the Park and Ride just off I-81 at the US-220 Troutville/Fincastle exit (150B). The gravel lot is by the first turn on your left after you cross under I-81, next to the Exxon. There is an unmarked trail by the parking lot guardrail leading away from US-220. Follow this trail for 0.2 miles and take a left (go South) at the junction with the Appalachian Trail (white blazes). You'll follow the AT for about 0.8 miles and cross Tinker Creek and railroad tracks shortly after. The trail begins to steepen from here and there will be switchbacks all the way up Tinker Mountain with a total elevation gain of 1640'.

At 2.0 miles you'll reach the ridgeline under a powerline. The view to the northeast here is of Daleville. Continuing on the AT, there are numerous (at least 4-5) viewpoints of Carvins Cove to the south. Carvin's Cove is the second largest city park in the United States, with many great biking trails and water sport opportunities. For a shorter hike, turn around at any one of these viewpoints and retrace your steps back to the car.

If you choose to continue on, follow the AT on the ridgeline for 2.0 more miles, at which point you'll encounter a very large boulder overhanging the trail-this is Hay Rock. For the safest ascent, go around to the right side of the rock and climb up. Be careful climbing up for it is quite steep. The panoramic views of Carvins Cove and McAfee Knob are breathtaking, and a great spot to eat lunch or snack after your hike up.

After soaking in the views, simply retrace your steps north on the Appalachian Trail, turn right on the unmarked trail (7.8 miles into the hike or 3.8 miles once you begin your descent) and return to your car.

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Tags

Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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šŸ„‡Top Contributor

2 months ago

Awesome spot for photos

This hike offers some fantastic views for landscape photographers. I came during the evening hours and the light was soft, made for a few calm photos of the cove area.

Amazing view of the cove

Never knew about this trail until recently. Once you discover it, it will quickly become one of your favorites. Definitely not as crowded as other trails in the area but the views are just as good, if not better. I agree with others, the overlooks before Hay Rock actually have the best views.

šŸ„‰Contributor

over 1 year ago

Fun hike

Great hike, although the views from some of the first few overlooks surpass those from Hay Rock in my opinion. Make sure to touch the rocks under the first powerlines with your hands. You can feel the electricity buzzing!

over 2 years ago

Most underrated hike in the NRV

Not even close to as crowded as hikes like McAfee's knob or Dragon's Tooth and one of the few hikes in the area with great views over the water. The actual hay rock is also fun to climb on top of. Only downside is all the powerlines crossing the trail but they aren't around the major viewpoints.

šŸ„‰Contributor

almost 3 years ago

Amazing Views

Amazing views from the ridge looking down at carving cove. I didnā€™t quite expect such an incline in some bits but nothing to bad. all and all my pup and I enjoyed it, though the buzz from the power lines does kill the atmosphere a little.

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