Not all history in Botetourt is ancient. The premier hiking trail in America is the Appalachian Trail (AT) that runs from Maine to Georgia for a total of 2,190 miles. For decades hikers have walked the 53 miles of the AT that run through Botetourt County from marker 713 to marker 769. Hikers go north or south on the AT from spring to early October.
In 2011, Troutville became an Appalachian Trail Town. There are several signs noting this honor where the AT goes through the Town of Troutville, that for long years before that designation embraced the hikers as part of their hospitality mission. Through-hikers spend the night in Troutville at the Town Park. Many folks in the area (I miss doing this in 2020) provide a little “Trail Magic” and shuttle hikers around – trips that go from Troutville to the restaurants at Exit 150, to the post offices to pick up their General Delivery mail and to the grocery store. For several years the town held Trail Days and hopefully when the coronavirus is controlled, more normal activities will be resumed.
The Appalachian Trail itself is a favorite among local hikers as well. A shorter but fun hike is from the trail at Rt. 11 south across Valley Road and down to the road behind Rader Funeral home and US 220. Across the road one of the most beautiful hikes is up the trailhead to Tinker Mountain.
Lord Botetourt High School grad and Roanoke Valley resident Ben Blaylock, his friend Tabby Bryant and dog Scout made the trek recently to Hay Rock Overlook where you can view Carvins Cove from above. How nifty to see that large body of water at the Overlook! This hike is a total of 7.7 miles and is a “go and return” from west of 220 at the Park and Ride in Daleville near the interstate. You can find the map to the Hay Rock Overlook.
There are also hikes up Tinker Cliffs, Devil’s Kitchen and the much longer hike to and from those two sites back to Daleville or west to Dragon’s Tooth in Roanoke County. They might require an overnight!
So enjoy the AT, Botetourt! Take a hike soon on the AT when the beautiful fall weather and colors prevail!
~ Cathy Benson, The Botetourt Bee