Best trails in Salem, Virginia

3,265 Reviews
Looking for a great trail near Salem, Virginia? AllTrails has 16 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails around Natural Bridge State Park or Smith Mountain Lake State Park, we've got you covered. You'll also find some great local park options, like Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve or Falls Ridge Nature Preserve. Ready for some activity? There are 7 moderate trails in Salem ranging from 3.1 to 15.8 miles and from 1,112 to 2,880 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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Map of trails in Salem, Virginia
Top trails (16)
#1 - McAfee Knob via Appalachian Trail
Salem, Virginia
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(2135)
Length: 7.8 mi • Est. 4 h 7 m
This is a slow and steady climb to the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail. Base elevation is the elevation given at the parking area, 2,000'. The peak at McAfee Knob is 3,171', giving it some of the best views in the state. Please leave no trace and be mindful of trash! This trail sees a large number of traffic and has been having problems with rising trash, illegal camping and misuse of the area. The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club maintains this section of trail and volunteers regularly pack out trash and maintain campsites to keep it beautiful. Park rules and regulations are enforced: -Maximum group size, day hikes: 25 -Maximum group size, backpacking/camping: 10 -No alcohol -Dogs must be kept on leash at all times -No camping or campfires outside of 7 designated areas (north of VA 624/Newport Rd, the only legal campsites are Johns Spring Shelter, Catawba Shelter and campsites, Pig Farm campsite, Campbell Shelter and Lambert’s Meadow Shelter and campsites) -No camping or campfires on McAfee Knob or Tinker CliffsShow more
#2 - Virginia's Triple Crown Loop
Jefferson National Forest
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(185)
Length: 35.1 mi • Est. Multi-day
The Virginia Triple Crown is comprised of what many consider to be the state’s three best hiking destinations: McAfee Knob, Tinker Cliffs and Dragon’s Tooth. All are conveniently located within a few miles of each other just outside of Roanoke.  McAfee Knob affords a 270-degree view of the Catawba Valley far below and has been called the most photographed spot along the Appalachian Trail. Just a few miles north on the AT is Tinker Cliffs, another prominent outcropping of rock offering a view of the same valley and distant mountain ranges.  A few miles southwest just inside the boundaries of Jefferson National Forest resides Dragon’s Tooth, a unique geologic feature consisting of spires projecting up to 35 feet from the surrounding rock. Any of these is a worthy destination for a challenging day hike. You might be able to hit 2 of 3 on an extended day hike, but taking in all three requires an overnight stay.  The more common routes are either shuttle hikes or require lots of backtracking. This is a 3-day, 35-mile loop that circumnavigates the entire valley, hits all three viewpoints, and minimizes backtracking.  In this route, you’ll hike the AT for several miles, camp at an AT shelter, cross the valley, return on the western side of the valley via the North Mountain ridge, cross the valley again, and rejoin the AT to return to your car at the Catawba Mountain parking area on Route 311.  As designed, this 35-mile loop is broken roughly into thirds. There are several parking areas, shelters and backcountry camping spots along the way, so you could divvy it up differently to suit your needs.  This trek is not recommended for beginners as this route involves lots of climbing, rock scrambles, blustery ridges and a whole day without water sources (you’ll have to carry lots of water up North Mountain for Day 2).  Please leave no trace and be mindful of trash. This trail sees a large number of traffic and has been having problems with rising trash, illegal camping and misuse of the area. The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club maintains this section of trail and volunteers regularly pack out trash and maintain campsites to keep it beautiful. Park rules and regulations are enforced: Maximum group size, day hikes: 25 Maximum group size, backpacking/camping: 10 No alcohol Dogs must be kept on leash at all times No camping or campfires outside of 7 designated areas ( north of Va 624/Newport Rd, the only legal campsites are Johns Spring Shelter, Catawba Shelter and campsites, Pig Farm campsite, Campbell Shelter and Lambert’s Meadow Shelter and campsites) No camping or campfires on McAfee Knob or Tinker CliffsShow more
#3 - Catawba Mountain via Appalachian Trail
Salem, Virginia
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(324)
Length: 3.9 mi • Est. 1 h 34 m
#4 - Sawtooth Ridge via Appalachian Trail
Salem, Virginia
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(138)
Length: 2.0 mi • Est. 1 h 5 m
#5 - Four Gorge Trail
Carvins Cove Natural Reserve
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(72)
Length: 6.8 mi • Est. 2 h 45 m
#6 - Tower Overlook
Havens State Wildlife Management Area
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(27)
Length: 9.2 mi • Est. 5 h 21 m
#7 - Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail
Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray Star(105)
Length: 3.8 mi • Est. 1 h 36 m
This rail-to-trail follows a creek and ends at the Hanging Rock Battlefield monument. Access is from a parking lot on Kessler Mill Road and the path is crushed cinders. Accessibility: This asphalt, concrete, and packed gravel trail is estimated to typically be at least 5 feet wide. The slope is very steep in one section and estimated to range from -17% (downhill) to 17% (uphill) grade. The very steep section is located at about the 1.2 mile mark when heading south. The area is marked with a waypoint as trail goers using mobility equipment to navigate may need extra assistance for this section. There may be 1 ADA-compliant car parking spot with an access aisles at the very small paved trailhead lot.Show more
#8 - Four Gorges to Lakeside to The Gauntlet to Hi-Dee-Hoe Loop
Carvins Cove Natural Reserve
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(9)
Length: 12.1 mi • Est. 6 h 13 m
#9 - Hinchee Park Trail
Salem, Virginia
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(62)
Length: 4.9 mi • Est. 2 h 36 m
#10 - Carvins Cove: Hi-Dee Ho to the Gauntlet and the Horse Pen Loop
Carvins Cove Natural Reserve
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(14)
Length: 15.8 mi • Est. 8 h 36 m
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