Explore the most popular trails near Big Island with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Big Island, Virginia Map
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Good exercise but that’s about it

backpacking
19 days ago

Did this over two days as a backpacking trip in January. When the elevation started picking up after the first mile the trail was getting hard to find but then after the summit it was a breeze to stay on. Temps dropped more then i expected and wind chills close if not below 0.

I hiked this section the first full weekend in July 2018 with a great group of young boys from TrailLifeUSA troop NC-0834. The first portion was uphill and the second portion had a large downhill grade. It was a great hike and would take another patrol through this section.

Moderate walk. Less than maintained trail had to navigate around fallen trees and limbs. We stopped at 2.3 miles and returned to parking area, so about 4.6 mile hike. Several switchbacks and small creek crossings. Moderate mountain views. No major heights viewing. Trail kept going past the 2.3 miles, not sure how far.

As a Randolph College student in Lynchburg, this is one of my favorite places to go when I need some time outside. I've put my hammock up along this trail before as well. Beautiful views along the bridge as well as the trail. Not very strenuous at all and trail is relatively clear of rocks and debris. Would recommend!

We hiked the loop today. The weather was beautiful. Listed as 9-10 miles, it feels more like. 11+. A great hike with Reed Creek as an added bonus.

The yellow blazing is poor. It’s sporadic and faded. Time for an upgrade. Pay close attention on the first few miles.

Excellent views from the rock outcrop on the West side. 

Moderate? I did this as a two day backpacking trip and I’m sore! Great hike with some good winter views. Total hiking time fully loaded over two days with multiple map checks and stops was 8 hours

Recommend especially during the winter months when the foliage is down. Lots of views of surrounding peaks and views looking down on the James River that would likely be limited when the trees have all their leaves. A number of feeder trails cross the AT here so pay attention at these intersections so you don't end up like yours truly and get off track :)

Moderate is a huge understatement, I did the full hike and it was enjoyable until i hit the 2 mile peak. Virtually straight up hike to the peak but absolutely worth it. The view is amazing and the exercise was great. All in all with a lunch stop and two 15 minute breaks this hike took me roughly 5 1/2 hours. It's important to note that I went at a steady but not too brisk pace, others can probably hike it much faster than i did.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice moderate trail, had a lot of fun with my dog. John's review is a perfect description, with one addition. The marked trailhead parking is nearly a mile from the trailhead. I parked off the side of the road about 20 yards feet further up the road past the trailhead entrance.

Depending on what spot you park at this can be a moderate or a hard hike. If you are doing the full hike and loop it is definitely a hard, but beautiful hike, getting a couple good overlooks prior to the main one. If you drive up the backside there is a small grassy parking spot at the end of a dirt road where you can then turn the hike in to a more moderate 1-2 mile hike.

hiking
Friday, August 11, 2017

hiking
Wednesday, August 02, 2017

moderate?! you gotta be kidding me. this is straight up strenuous.

hiking
Monday, July 24, 2017

The overlook on this trail was one of the most beautiful I have seen in the area. With nearly no one on the trail and nothing man-made in view, it was incredibly peaceful and stunning. However, the trail was more strenuous than moderate. It was very steep in some parts (think: lots of water breaks on the way up and very careful footing on the way down). That didn't stop it from being fun, and if you are up for something challenging, this is the one!

Good solid hike with some nice views. First time on the AT so that was very cool. We started at the Thunder Ridge Wilderness area and finished at the James River. Like 16.9 miles. If you have never had the opportunity to hit any sections of the AT I would highly recommend it. We met a couple from Denmark and a cook from Switzerland. Very cool hearing their stories. Also enjoyed how the folks at the camping areas help each other...We were being offered mac and cheese and hadn't even put our gear down. Lol.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

I'm giving this one 5 stars because it was a good workout and there were quite a few scenic spots along the way. But I hiked this today, July 2 and I would advise against it this time of year. I think this hike is probably a lot nicer in the spring which is why I'm still leaving 5 stars. It's not well trafficked, (I was the only person there today.) and most of the trail near the summit is completely over grown. The only way to tell where the trail is is by looking at the indent in the grass. You can't really see where you're stepping at times and I was really starting to worry about rattlesnakes. There were even a few parts with thick briars directly in the path for large stretches. The overgrowth also makes it so you can't really see anything when you reach the summit. There were luckily still a couple clearings along the way but nothing really near the top. But I just wanted to leave this review to warn people about the overgrowth at this time of year. If you're going to attempt it make sure you're wearing pants and not shorts and pay close attention to where you're walking because it can be very easy to go off trail.

hiking
Monday, May 29, 2017

Hiked this Sunday (5/28/17). Sorry, new to this app and deleted rather than posted my track. I hiked this backwards what I think most my do, saving the summit till later, this may have been a mistake... more on that later. First, I was going to rate this trail more of a 3. Going backwards (the part others said drug on) you can tell it's an old road. I prefer true single track. However, many waterfalls made up for it. I counted 5-6 and I wonder if they are always there... there had been lots of rain in the days prior to my hike, so normally there may be only one. Which leads me to my next point, the main river/creek was very swollen and the crossing was a serious matter. If I'd had a dog or inexperienced hiker with me I would of turned around. As it was I considered turning around. I had to scout around for the safest crossing. I removed shoes socks and rolled up my pants (had to do this twice). Before you blow this off I've done the PCT and this was a serious crossing. The water was cold and the current strong. I'm sure that at other times the crossings are nothing, just be aware it can get intense. I thought hiking it backwards was a good idea... now that I've done it I'm not so sure. I'd have to do it again the other way to figure it out. While, going backwards did knock out the road part first, it did lead me to a decent that was risky business (might have been safer climbing). Part of the problem on this day was it started raining about 1-2 miles before the summit (4-5 miles to go). It's a steep slippery rocky decent. The summit is a highlight that helped bring this trail up to a 4 for me, as it's single track. Even though I couldn't see anything but mist in the distance, the blooming rhododendrons were awesome. Another thing that pulled this up to a four was the solitude, perhaps it was the weather, but I was the only one on trail or at the trailhead (as far as I know). Sorry, I deleted my track, but I came in at 9.5 miles, 2500+ft (if memory serves). It was a good work out, I'd do it again. (For comparison I just gave Tinker Mountain a five even though it was crowded).

hiking
Saturday, April 22, 2017

We hiked this trail on a rainy day, but still had a lot of fun. The first few miles are a pretty good climb to the summit. The last 4 miles did seem to drag on a bit, but overall great hike on a wet morning.

Friday, March 24, 2017

This loop is strenuous, but really great once you catch your breath! The 3 miles up to the summit are steadily uphill. Views are fantastic. Be sure you check the overlook and the view with the turtle shaped rock. Outstanding panoramic views- also pay attention to the radio tower at Apple Orchard Mtn., - it appears to the far left at overlook, and will be right across from you at summit.
Reed Creek is beautiful - you'll cross it several times. Eat lunch there. Enjoy the wild flowers as you hike - lots of blood root and others.

hiking
Saturday, March 11, 2017

This is a real treat. Once you trach the summit, the view is breathtaking.

hiking
Wednesday, February 08, 2017

This hike is totally worth it. It's pretty tuff as most of it is uphill. Loved it though

trail running
Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fantastic trail. I went with my dog at the end of December. The first 3 miles of the trail are very challenging as you gain about 2000 feet. The false summit at 1.5 miles has great views particularly with no leaves on the trees. When you get to the summit you can walk out to some boulders that overlook the surrounding peaks. The terrain is pretty good for trail running throughout but there are a couple of rocky areas. I agree with an earlier post that water is necessary for the dogs for the first 4 miles or so but after that there is plenty of water with Reed Creek and streams that you cross. Highly recommended for great views and varied terrain.

hiking
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Love this trail! Definitely difficult but well worth it. The path is very diverse and saw awesome scenery of the valley, the blue ridge, and mountain streams. Would definitely recommend this trail to someone who doesn't mind hiking long distances and though mixed terrain. At times the path did get a little bit thicker and at one point the underbrush was up to my waist and covered the trail, so be prepared for an adventure!

A scenic, winding portion of the AT. Nice views from the mountain ridges. Trail trends in descent from west to east after first half along the ridge is complete...so then would recommend a west to east route if wishing to avoid extended climbs. An AT hut is about a mile from the river/bridge. The Foot bridge is also a nice place to stop for views.

hiking
Thursday, December 31, 2015

Trail head off a fire trail, approximately 50 yards from a gate on Hunting Creek Rd in a sharp left turn. Trail immediately ascends and follows hunting creek until it break to the right and turns into switchbacks. Tunnels of rhododendron run through the switchbacks before leveling out slightly to the beginning of a tributary of Hunting Creek. The tributary leaches out of the ground with deep holes, swampy areas and exposed roots, so watch your footing! Past the swampy area is mostly level for a short distance before ending at the Appalachian Trail just before the AT crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway to Thunder Ridge. No scenic views, lots of small waterfalls, wildflowers in season, marked with blue blazes.

hiking
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Thoroughly enjoyed this hike. It is long, and it is challenging. We started at the kiosk at the end of Terrapin Lane. We chose to hike to the summit, then descend to Reeds Creek and walk around the southern base of the mountain back to our car. When we were there in late May, the rhododendron were in full riot, and the mountain laurel were just beginning to bloom. There are only a few overlooks, which is a shame. We will return this fall or winter during leaf off, because the views promise to be spectacular. There are significant climbs during the first 2 miles of the trail. The descent from the summit is a bit wicked as well. It took us about 20 minutes to come down 1/2 mile for picking out our footing. But once you get to Camping Gap, it is level enough to make quick time. If you are hiking with dogs, be sure to bring water for them for the first 4 miles. They WILL need it. Once you get to Reeds Creek (around the 5 mile mark) they will have plenty of access to water.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

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