Roaring Branch Trail

MODERATE 8 reviews
#6 of 14 trails in

Roaring Branch Trail is a 7.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Stone Gap, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.8 miles
1,663 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips




wild flowers


Hike along the eastern end of Virginia's Stone Mountain Trail, including old-growth hemlocks in Roaring Branch Cove. Hike through Roaring Branch Cove, a scenic area of old-growth forest above southwest Virginia's Powell River. Although this trail is commonly referred to as the Roaring Branch Trail by locals, it is formally the eastern end of the Stone Mountain Trail, a much longer path connecting the Powell River with Cave Spring Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest. The most popular portion of this trail - a moderate dayhike from the Powell River through old-growth forests to High Butte Overlook - is mapped here. The Roaring Branch Trail provides some of southwest Virginia's most scenic streamside scenery, as well as some of the only old-growth forest in this portion of the state. Centuries-old hemlocks line the middle portions of this hike, and the climb to High Butte provides a fascinating example of forest transitions in the southern Appalachians as one moves from moist, sheltered coves to drier ridgetops. The view from High Butte Overlook, near the turnaround point for this hike, provides a sweeping vista of the Powell River Valley.

4 months ago

So after my last review, I decided that I was going to go all the way to the end of the trail even though we couldn't find the blazes the last time. we ended up veering to our left after the 3rd stream crossing, and when the forest opened up. look for a blaze next to a rhodedendron then travel directly west (you'll go uphill a bit) until you see a log sawed in half. after that, you can see the trail. Be warned though, there are some very long and steep climbs in the near future. the trail is actually 5.0 miles exactly from the trail head to High Butte. so make sure to pack enough water and snacks (also a small trash bag because you dont want to litter). there is no stream once you cross it the 3rd time so I cant stress enough to bring a good amount of water. I brought a 2L bladder and almost went through it all.

the overlook is mesmerizing, though. well worth the hike. I would give this hike a hard rating, though because it is definitely not for the faint of heart. be prepared to climb over some tree and twist your ankles through an old dried up creek bed.

4 months ago

Amazing trail. beautiful scenery. only thing is, after you get through the 3rd stream crossing, the forest opens up into almost pure hardwood - the blazes then disappear and there no service to check to see where the trail will continue. aside from that, it was a lot of fun! not too technical after the first stream crossing and the landscape plateaus once you get past the first crossing as well. makes for an easier trek.

edit: see updated review

10 months ago

the trails were so grown up with weeds...nevermind the tree blocking the path. we gave up and turned around. however the sights at the beginning were beautiful.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Expect bear.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Great trail. Wide open paths that taper down to narrow ones for a short time. Mostly up and then down on the way out. A lot of fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hike was good, trail needs more markings. Bear scat on trail on 2 places going up and 3 places returning down. Good thing we missed it.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Awesome trail. Wear pants and watch for bears.

Friday, February 24, 2017