Hiking Mill Mountain Star Trail

Mill Mountain Star Trail


Hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors and in nature. As most of you know, the cold and I don’t get along very well. Due to that fact, I use every sunny opportunity to get outdoors in the winter.

Mill Mountain Star Trail.

In my Friday Faves post a few weeks ago, I mentioned that the hubby and I had hiked the Mill Mountain Star Trail here in Roanoke. That time, I didn’t bring along my camera, but as I shared last Friday we once again took advantage of a sunny day and went on the hike again. This time, I brought the camera.

Mill Mountain Park.

Mill Mountain Park spans 568 acres. Along with all of the amenities located within the park, there are also multi-use trails.  Mountain Bikers can use all the trails except the Watchtower Trail and the Star Trail. Hikers may use any of the trails.


As I mentioned before, we choose to park in the car parking lot at 1208 Riverland Road. You can also park at the Mill Mountain Star and access the trail from the top.

We prefer to access it from this point because the ascent is on the front side of the hike. Also, once you reach the summit, there are benches and bathrooms. I prefer that in the middle of the hike vs. on the front or back end of the hike.

The parking lot is not very large and can fill quickly.

As you can see from the view in the opposite direction of the trail, Roanoke has a history as an Industrial Town. In fact, that segment is still in operation as an Industrial Center.

Star Trail / Woodthrush Connector.

From the parking lot, you begin the hike on a gravel path known as the Star Trail/ Woodthrush Connector. You then reach the intersection where the two separate and we followed the Star Trail.

Star Trail.

The Star Trail is marked by a yellow blaze. It is hiker only, considered more difficult, and is 1.38 miles long (one way). On our second hike, the green was beginning to sprout a little more. I suspect that as we move into spring, the trail will begin to look like an enchanted forest.

Fishburn Parkway.

The Star Trail crosses Fishburn Parkway.

Beware of cars and bicyclists as you cross the road. I’m pretty sure the bicyclists coming downhill are traveling much faster than any car. The cars heading uphill have a blind corner if they aren’t prepared for the fact that there is a pedestrian crossing ahead.

It’s really not a scary as it sounds! Just use common sense when crossing.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

To get to the other side!

Okay, I had no real segway. I just wanted to show you that after you ascend the stairs, the hike climbs upward.

Some people cut off the first part of the hike by parking in the visible pull off area on Fishburn. However, there is only room for two cars.


Star Trail / Monument Trail.

After some more hiking, you come to the intersection of the Star Trail and Monument Trail.

Monument Trail uses a white blaze, it is multi-use, is considered more difficult, and is 1.55 miles long. I have not hiked this trail yet.

We continue along the Star Trail until we reach the summit. According to the trail run project, the ascent of the trail is 631 feet.

If you recall when I hiked Dragon’s Tooth, the elevation change was 1500 feet, so I had no problem with the elevation change.

I had dusted off my Fitbit for my March Challenge and it claimed that I climbed about 65 flights of stairs. My iPhone was in the backpack that the hubby was toting and it claimed 30 flights of stairs.

Whatever the case, your legs will get a nice workout.


Many of you know that my posts are always photo-heavy. I love taking photos. I also enjoy research and read about the number of photos an average viewer will look at before they begin scrolling past (hint: it’s 5).

However, I know that you aren’t average and I feel like using more photos is the best way to walk you through the journey. BUT…if you feel differently, by all means, let me know because as much as I hate culling my photographs… I can.

I captured many scenes that I considered treasures along the Star Trail. I’ve culled all but the photo of the Converse tossed over the power line at the summit of the trail. If in the future, I create a photo series of the treasures, I will come back an link it in this post.

Mill Mountain Star.

One of the highlights at the top of the Star Trail…is the actual Mill Mountain Star. I shared details about the Star when I gave you a photo tour of Roanoke.

The Summit.

There is an overlook at the Roanoke Star which gives you views of downtown Roanoke.

There are also bathrooms and a parking lot located here. A short walk around the park brings you to another overlook, a playground, Mill Mountain Zoo, another parking lot, and picnic tables.

The day that we hiked the Star Trail, many people were taking advantage of the sunshine.

There were children scrambling around the playground, squealing with delight. There were a couple of kids kicking a soccer ball back and forth. Dogs on leashes sniffed the ground.

There was a couple having lunch at the picnic table located on the overlook. There were crowds at the Star overlook, looking down into the city along with a group of college students asking somebody to take their photo in front of the Star.

All of us looking for a reprieve from the cabin fever that winter can bring.

Mill Mountain Star Trail sign in Roanoke, Virginia

The Way Back Home.

After taking in the beauty of the day, we began our descent.

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.- John Muir

Let your light shine!


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24 thoughts on “Hiking Mill Mountain Star Trail

    1. Thank you! Itโ€™s a nice quick hike with a lovely view! ๐Ÿ˜Š. You have a fabulous day as well! ๐Ÿ’•

    1. I havenโ€™t worked up to hikes that long yet! Iโ€™m looking forward to reading about it!! ๐Ÿ’•

    1. It is a lovely hike. My other โ€œtreasuresโ€ were nature related. ๐Ÿ˜‚

    1. Thanks Jonathan! They take a bit of effort, but I enjoy the process. ๐Ÿ˜Š. Iโ€™m glad you find them interesting.

    1. Thanks Marcus! Iโ€™m happy you enjoyed the trail report. I love seeing how other places look as well! Have a great day! -Amy

    1. It was a lovely find Deborah! Itโ€™s one that doesnโ€™t take a lot of prepping and planning for us, so it can be a last minute choice for some sunshine and leg stretching! ๐Ÿ˜„. The Star is very unique. It draws quite a few visitors. ๐Ÿ’•

      1. I can understand the Star’s draw. We have a pole on top of Mission Peak that now draws HUGE crowds. It’s a great hike, or used to be I don’t do it anymore b/c there’s just too many people now.

    1. Iโ€™m sure it is! The other trails Iโ€™ve hiked in the fall look like enchanted forests where you wonder if youโ€™ll run upon some fairies. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. For those of us who live in ‘the hood’ and have military backgrounds, we must wonder why anyone hung their trainers on the wire… How… odd. Makes for a nice photo, but I can’t help wondering, did that person feel escaping the wilderness was like that? Inquiring minds.
    All the other photos are beautiful and the weather looks sublime, and I have no inquiries on those ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I don’t understand it either! These were decorated with writing and drawings. I suspect it was for the “art”. I always wonder about those random single shoes along the roadway too.
      However, my MIL tells a hilarious story of the hubby when was little and they were driving through in the middle or nowhere out west and the hubby was saying “shoe out, shoe out”. By the time they realized that he meant that he had thrown his shoe out the window, it was too late to turn around. lol.
      The weather was lovely on that day and I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I used to hike near there all the time when I was in college. There are amazing views in Virginia. My favorite place to hike now is The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These pictures are gorgeous!

    1. Thank you! There are so amazing views around here in Virginia. I love The Great Smoky Mountain too! I’ve been horseback riding there twice. Also my husband and I were engaged just onto the Appalachian Trail after visiting Clingman’s Dome.

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