Are you tired of ridgeline hikes that have beautiful views of trees? If so, then head to Daleville, VA and go south on the A.T. for view after view of the Carvin Cove Reservoir below and mountains beyond. We marked 3 great overlooks but there are many more before finally reaching Hay Rock.
The climb to the ridgeline is about 2 miles. We last did this hike in late June, and can only imagine what this hike will be like in the Fall. You may need more time with all the stops to take in the views :)
The trail begins at the guard rail behind the commuter parking area. There is room for 3-4 cars to park in front of the guard rail.
Mile 0.0 – Cross the road to the guard rail and continue 0.2 miles on the unmarked trail until you reach the A.T. Intersection.
Mile 0.2 – At the A.T. intersection bear left onto the white blazed A.T. In the next 0.9 miles you will cross a creek and railroad tracks before reaching the RATC Information Kiosk.
Mile 1.1 – RATC Information Kiosk. An easy hike to this point and we were beginning to wonder what happened to those lovely rocks we have come to expect on the A.T. in VA, should have kept our thoughts to ourselves!! From this point it becomes steeper and the trail more rocky.
Mile 1.9 – Cross under a high voltage power line, and you'll cross this once again on the ridge. There are a few switchbacks prior to reaching the ridge at the 1.9 mile mark, passing under another high voltage power line. The power lines took away from some of the beauty of this hike, but the views will make you forget them. The view to the northeast is Daleville.
Enjoy your time here then retrace your steps back to the parking area on Route US220.
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Reviews For The Carvin Cove/Hay Rock Hike (5 Most Recent)
My wife and I hiked this for the first time today, was a great hike a real good burn. Got to the top and followed the ridge line but was not really sure what hey rock was? We had about 4 awesome views of carvins cove for pictures. I heard on this web site that it is tagged up badly so i guess we didn't get to hayrock. Are there any landmarks to look for so we know that we have reached hayrock or is it just obvious? Really great hike i would suggest people try this one.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 15, 2011
We did the Hay Rock out & back. This is my new favorite hike, I'm sure we will now return each fall. The first 1/3 of the hike is relatively gentle and your standard woods hike (not altogether exciting). Still, once the trail narrows and turns to huge the edge of the ridge the view of the valley and town below is very pretty as the trees to your left sink low enough to expose it all. It flattens about for a bit again through some woods before switchbacks begin. There were a handful of long switchbacks and a few short ones before you top the ridge. There begins to be a lot of loose stones on the track, which you should accept as a fixture from there on. This trail is really hard on your knees and ankles.
The 2nd third of the trail on the actual ridge is absolutely stunning. Though you are on a rocky ridge crusted with giant boulders everywhere it's not a bare summit. Each view is still framed by large old pines and lots of interesting ground cover plants. Its a photographers dream. It is especially beautiful given the reservoir below. Having come in the fall the long angled sun gleams off of the water perfectly for light reflective shots. There were so many rocks to climb up and take shots from my hiking partner started to get a little frustrated with my disappearing act. It almost starts to feel like a set there are so many perfect scenes laid in front of you. There are several rock outcroppings along this leg for lunch. When we went we saw a good number of hikers, but everyone got their own private spot on the mountain, which was a nice change of pace.
I would say the 3rd leg begins after the last and biggest flat outcropping the trail leads you onto. This is the most unobstructed view of the reservoir. From there you tuck back into the woods for the most part until Hay Rock. We enjoyed sometime on Hay Rock, but the hike to it, though pretty, is paled almost to ruin by the previous leg. Hay Rock is kind of like sitting on top of a large brick, its more private than a lot of outcroppings on the AT, but there isn't much intrigue to be explored on it. Also, unfortunately, it has been pretty marred by graffiti. Any sort of picture of the rock face must include at least some blue tag marks. Aside from the kids tagging, someone recently has seen fit to make it a campaign billboard for 2012. When I return I'll probably stop short of the last leg to Hay Rock and focus on enjoying the very unique ridge hike.
Date of Hike: Friday, August 26, 2011
Our group hiked this trail and followed it by through hiking to Rt 311, past McAfee. This first part was steep and difficult. We were all gasping for breath. But the views were phenomenal, really some of the best I've seen on the A.T. The entire trail was challenging and at times we all wondered if it was worth it, until the next vista. Wow. Hays Rock formation is interesting and and a neat destination in itself. We passed Tinker's cliffs which were really cool, and McAfee is breath taking. I have not seen anything like it in the East. Very steep and difficult after Lambert's. The down hill portions of the hike were as difficult as the uphills were. I believe everyone in the group was sore this week. We made a three day hike. about 20 miles in total. Stayed just before Lambert Meadow the first night, good water there, at Campbells shelter the second night, also good water supply. Not much water available other than the campsites. No running water on any of this part of the trail and nothing more than a few sprinkles from Irene. Woods are very dry and evidenced recent fire activity just before Hay Rock.
Date of Hike: Sunday, August 22, 2010
I have done this hike numerous times and one great advantage is the solitude, I'm usually alone or only see a few other hikers, unlike most places close to Roanoke. The only disadvantage I find is that it is relatively low elevation compared to many hikes in the area, and if it's hot in town it's going to be hot on the hike too. You don't get the large loss of summertime temperature as say Sharp Top at the Peaks of Otter. The first part of the trail from the park and ride is also absolutelty infested with poison ivy spilling into the trail, and difficult to avoid.