Virginia Nature October 16, 2019
This Mountain Lover’s Road Trip Through Virginia Will Take You On A High-Altitude Adventure
Did you know that Virginia is home to eight different mountain ranges? Experience some of the best of Virginia’s mountain scenery when you embark on this road trip that meanders through higher-altitude attractions. Over the course of 200 miles, you’ll experience remarkable overlooks, feast on local fare, hike through gorgeous terrain, and top it all off with a local brew or drink of your choice.
This road trip is to inspire or rekindle your love of the mountains. Whether you happen to live in the region or are curious to explore the rolling hills of Shenandoah, you’ll find this trip to be a memorable one. So fill up your tank, gather your friends and family, and prepare to experience the mountains of Virginia like never before. Let’s get started!
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1. Bread Craft (Roanoke, Virginia)
What better way to start your epic mountain adventure than with a hearty breakfast? Bread Craft is a local Roanoke bakery that opens at 7:00 a.m., so you can get an early start. Load up on freshly-baked danishes, croissants, quiche, breakfast sandwiches, and maybe even something extra to enjoy later in the day. We've heard this spot makes an excellent cup of French press coffee, too.
2. Dragon's Tooth Trail (Catawba)
Dragon's Tooth Trail offers one of the most dramatic views on Virginia's portion of the Appalachian Trail. Completing the trail requires an elevation gain of 1,227 feet, but rest assured the views will be well worth your efforts. The trek is rated as difficult, although the trail itself is well-marked and maintained. Just be sure to bring the appropriate footwear (and a camera for the view from the top -- it's magical!)
3. Swinging Bridge Restaurant (Paint Bank)
Hiking Dragon's Tooth is bound to work up an appetite, and fortunately, Dragon's Tooth Trail offers just what you're looking for in a delicious home-cooked lunch. Feast on burgers, homemade biscuits, and other specials that this one-of-a-kind restaurant has to offer. And you might have guessed by the name, but the establishment features an actual swinging bridge inside. How amazing is that?
4. Humpback Bridge (Covington)
The next stop on our mountain road trip through Virginia is one of the most unique landmarks in the state: Humpback Bridge. The original structure was built in the 1820s but faced flooding and damage throughout the decades following. It wasn't until 1950 that the bridge was restored to its unique humpback shape, i.e., higher in the middle than the two ends. Stretching 100 feet, this iconic bridge is equal parts scenic and historic. Visitors are welcome to walk through and take pictures and even have a picnic nearby.
5. Lexington Coffee Roasters (Lexington)
Next up is a much-needed pick-me-up courtesy of Lexington Coffee Roasters. This relatively new coffee shop carries beans from around the world. Whether you're looking for a cold brew, hot coffee, espresso, a snack, or perhaps something non-caffeinated, you'll find it here. The shop also features delicious made-to-order sandwiches and bagels.
6. Blue Ridge Parkway
It's hard to imagine a mountain road trip without at least a little time on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Luckily, shortly after leaving Lexington, you can link up with the Parkway and continue northward. No matter the time of year, this route is positively breathtaking. Along the way, you'll find ample opportunities to pull off and admire the scenery and learn more about the landscape.
7. Humpback Rocks (Nellysford)
One spot of interest along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Humpback Rocks, a large greenstone outcropping near the peak of Humpback Mountain (Mile Post 6). You can either admire the view from the road or embark on a short-yet-steep 1-mile hike upwards that takes your right to the outcropping. If you can muster the energy for the hike, your effort will be rewarded with a sweeping view of the mountains.
8. Blue Mountain Brewery (Afton)
Finally, we arrive at the last stop of the day: Blue Mountain Brewery. With beautiful views of the mountains and locally-sourced brew and foods, this spot is the perfect way to end a mountain-themed day. On the menu, you'll find everything from seasonal salads to burgers, fish tacos, and more. Plus, just about anything you order can be paired with a delicious craft beer. It's the perfect time to reflect on your day spent exploring the mountains of Virginia. Cheers!
What are your thoughts on this mountain road trip through Virginia? Who would you bring along with you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Address: 24 Church Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24011, USA Address: Appalachian Trail, Catawba, VA 24070, USA Address: 16071 Paint Bank Rd, Paint Bank, VA 24131, USA Address: Humpback Bridge, Midland Trail, Covington, VA 24426, USA Address: 2345 Lee Hwy, Lexington, VA 24450, USA Address: Humpback Rock, Virginia 22920, USA Address: Blue Mountain Brewery, 9519 Critzer Shop Rd, Afton, VA 22920, USA