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Hiker Comments for the Carvin Cove/Hay Rock Hike - 1 to 14 of 14   
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By: Dave M Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 11, 2019
I did this hike on Veteran's Day 2019 and it was amazing. I did notice that the hike information given mentions a Kiosk after the creek and railroad track crossings. This kiosk must have been removed as the only kiosk I noticed was at the intersection of the 0.2mile unmarked trail from the parking lot and the AT. This kiosk did appear to be rather new so maybe the other one was removed since the details of this hike were added. The only trouble I had was the leaves on the ground hiding some rocks/ other obstacles on the trail. If doing this hike in fall, be sure to watch your step. I thought this hike was easier than Andy Layne and Dragon's Tooth. Maybe it was about the same difficulty as the Knob. Get out there and see the world!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 1, 2019
Great hike with gorgeous views. I would say difficulty is closer to 2.5 or 3 I found it much easier than something like the Tinker Cliffs/Andy Layne trail. The only thing I couldn't figure out was how anybody climbs onto Hay Rock! I was hiking alone and stayed put firmly at the bottom. There are plenty of great views before you get to that point anyway!

By: Steve Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 14, 2018
It's been 30 years since I've been hiking. At 61 years of age, this was an excellent start for me. The first mile was a little rough, but once on top, it was worth the effort. the views are breathtaking. It had just rained, so the trails were very muddy. There is also a lot of rocky crevice to traverse. I recommend a good pair of high top hiking boots. Definitely worth the 3 hour drive to get here. Side note: there were a lot of hikers on the day we went, but all were friendly. My dog loved it.

By: PQK Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 24, 2017
It was a beautiful day for this hike and the views did not disappoint! We saw very few day hikers even though it was a weekend, but did see a few AT overnight hikers. The hike is straight-forward once you know where the trail head is! I enjoyed having the variety in the terrain! This was a bit of an impulse hike so we probably should have been a bit more prepared, because it did take us just over 4 hours including a snack break and stops for pics!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 18, 2016
Agree with the reviewer on the ratings on the streams (I think there were 2 in 4 miles), but as for the difficulty, well I guess that depends on your age and condition, but I would rate this as a moderate hike.

I started at the park and ride lot. HikingUpward and other internet resources are great, you'd never know there was a trail behind that guard rail. I ran into some muddy spots the first half mile or so. Apart from the views one of the best things about this hike was the changing terrain. There was a lot of sandy soil to walk on (nice and smooth), there were places lightly covered in pine needles, and then there were some rocky areas. Some steep climbs here and there, but I'd rate this a moderate hike on the difficulty level because there are a few places where the path is just big rocks that you need to navigate down or through.

Many spots to see some great views, particularly between 2 and 4 miles. Hay Rock is not hard to miss, it hangs way across the trail. I will say that climbing up the Hay Rock is a little easier than coming down. I made it ok, but I don't think I'll do it again unless I'm hiking with a friend next time. I stopped and had a snack and water there and took some pictures.

Coming back was about the same as going up, perhaps a little easier. Near the end I did remember to veer right on the 'unmarked' trail instead of keeping left to continue on the AT.

All in all, it was a great location, I plan on going back this Fall.

By: gadevildawg Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 4, 2016
We hiked mid afternoon on the Fourth of July. The trail was well marked, secluded, and had very nice views. We have hiked many trails in VA and the Hiking Upward ratings are usually pretty accurate. This one was not. The trail difficulty rating was probably more like a 2 and the streams rating may have been a 1.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 27, 2015
Confirm previous posts. Started at park & Ride. Took us 5 hours 8 miles to Hayrock and back.The younger folks were faster for sure. We plodded steadily. Great views. Especially with trees leafless. Once you make the ridge it is a great hike to Hay Rock with rock challenges mixed with soft pine needle trails. The contrasting views on either side of the ridge trail are amazing. Daleville/Botetourt below on the right and Carvin Cove valley on the left. This was our first day hike on the AT and we loved it. A great first hike. The ascent will get your heart rate up. Feet and knees pretty sore coming back down to Daleville.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Great hike and great views! The RATC has done an excellent job of trail maintenance and marking...some of the best we have seen. Worth the trip and will do it again!

By: SM T372 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 17, 2015
All the accolades of prior posts...excellent hike... just posting this as an fyi...the AT has been re-routed from the railroad tracks (the trail mileage signs remain on the old section, visible to the right of the new trail upon leaving the RxR tracks) to about 200yards(?) from where Tinker Top Road approaches the AT. All that to say prepared for MUD. Otherwise, it's well marked with blazes.

By: C&S Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 23, 2013
This hike was so peaceful compared to McAfee, and we thought the views were better.  We went to Hay Rock, but you don't need to go that far to enjoy the beautiful views. Today was sunny but cool (52) and cooler on top with wind.  We only met 6 other "groups" along the way.  The trail varies a lot - packed, sandy, rocky, piney.  The views of Carvins Cove, Roanoke, and whatever else we saw, were awesome!  The tagging on Hay Rock has been painted and it looks really good. So thank you to those who chose the color, and those who painted!  We're middle-aged in good shape, and the hike was challenging but not too difficult.  There are a few, short, rocky stretches where we paid more attention to our poles and feet, but that's what made it fun. We didn't start whining and crying about our knees and ankles until the last mile. We'll do this one again!  Oh, the power lines are no big deal.  Seeing them just made us grateful that our 8-mile-hike-cool-drinks would be cool when we got home.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 7, 2011
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.

By: Rating: 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.

By: Rating: 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.

By: Jeff Rating: 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.

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