Roanoke Mountain Loop Trail

Hiking the Loop Trail to the summit of Roanoke Mountain

Roanoke Mountain.

Roanoke Mountain is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Roanoke, Virginia. It’s located 2 miles south of the Roanoke River and 1 mile east of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is accessed along the Blue Ridge Parkway via a loop road.


Roanoke Mountain Loop Road.

One of my favorite scenic drives in this region of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Roanoke Mountain Loop Road.

Located at mile marker 120.4 along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is a 4-mile detour that takes you to the summit of Roanoke Mountain.

If you’ve been following the blog for some time, then you’ve already seen the photos that I’ve shared in the past of sunsets and fall colors from the overlooks along this one-way road. If you’ve missed those, you can check them out in this postΒ or this post, just to share a few of the many times I’ve posted photos from Roanoke Mountain.

Given the number of times that I’ve been, there was still one piece I’d yet to see.

Roanoke Mountain Loop Trail.

The Roanoke Mountain Loop Trail is located in the uppermost parking before the Loop Road begins its descent.

The sign states that it’s a 10-minute walk to the summit. I suppose that I’ve never walked it because I’ve usually been there for sunset and didn’t want it to get dark while I walked an unfamiliar trail.

The trail is only .4 miles and begins on the upper side of the parking lot and exits on the lower side of the parking lot.

Stairs along the trail.

My favorite part of the trail was the stone stairway. Not only was it beautiful, but I could just imagine the hard work that went into the original creation of setting each stone.


The trees and rocks along the trail are covered in lichen. In this post, where I visited the Rocky Knob Picnic Trail (also located along the Blue Ridge Parkway), I shared that I had recently learned that lichen is fungi and algae or cyanobacterium that are living in a symbiotic relationship. Fungi are incapable of photosynthesis and through this relationship are able to live in places where they wouldn’t be able.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are about 15,000 species of lichen.

I think they add so much character to a forest.

Mountain Views.

While I was hoping that there would be some type of spectacular view on the trail, this was the best view. I visited at the end of October and all of the leaves had not yet fallen. Perhaps farther along in the season would open up some sweeping vistas.

Unfortunately, the Roanoke Mountain Loop Road closes in the winter season. You can, and should, always check for road closures at the National Park Service websiteΒ before planning your trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

If you have any doubt about the beauty to be found along this detour, I leave you with one of my Instagram sunsets taken from the top of Roanoke Mountain.

If you find yourself traveling along this section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, I highly recommend building in some extra time to take in the overlooks found along the Loop Road.

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

Let your light shine!


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19 thoughts on “Roanoke Mountain Loop Trail

  1. Beautiful! We have booked a trip for next autumn to the Blue Ridge area. It is one part of the country we have not been. Should be fun. I will definitely use you for a resource. thanks, Amy. Nice photos. Donna

  2. What a stunning ride that was! My son and I head out to climb tomorrow in Southern AZ, and I hope to see some natural beauty myself. Wish we were closer in proximity so we could ride/hike or run together πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! The drive is beautiful and this walking trail at the top is like an enchanted forest. I hope that you’ve had a wonderful day out climbing with your son. Many of my hikes are limited to the availability of my husband or kids because I refuse to wander around a forest alone πŸ™‚

    1. Most of these photos are from the little walking trail at the top, but the scenery on the entire loop is beautiful! I love each of the lookouts for differing reasons, but the views are stunning from each. πŸ™‚

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