Let’s be honest, as far as nightlife goes, the small town of Blacksburg does not have much to offer compared to other booming urban college towns.
But what Blacksburg lacks in nightlife, it abounds all the more in a rich assortment of natural reserves, which very few college towns can claim.
One major benefit of the New River Valley’s landscape is the availability of great hiking trails.
Virginia Tech is fortunate enough to be only 20 minutes away from the Appalachian Trail, which connects Georgia to Maine, through a towering mountain chain.
This convenient accessibility has provided Tech students with many nearby hiking “hot spots.” Venture Out, a Tech organization dedicated to providing students with fun, safe outdoor activities, has compiled a list of these popular hikes.
The two top-rated hiking trails on the list are Cascades, which has one flat two-mile trail and Barney’s Wall, a more scenic three-mile trail.
These paths straddle a winding stream and peak at an immense 60-foot waterfall, which pools into a pond at the bottom, providing tired hikers with a spot for a nice, refreshing swim.
David Goodman, a Venture Out coordinator, said the most scenic hike, in his opinion, is the Cascades.
“The beauty of it is you can go there year-round — in the winter it is beautiful when there is snow on the ground,” Goodman said.
The hiking trail rated third is Kelly’s Knob. This trail starts out very steep but then levels off for the final portion leading to the knob, which is an exposed, rocky area.
This hike has a great view at the end and a camping area available for those who wish to get the full nature experience.
Other hikes on the list include War Spur, Wind Rock, Dragon’s Tooth and McAfee’s Knob, which was named the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail — Goodman showed no hesitation saying this hike has the best views, especially in fall foliage starts coming
“It is amazing,” he said.
All the trails listed are less than an hour away from campus, and the majority of them are closer to 20 minutes away.
With the hikes being so close, Goodman, who has a strong passion for outdoor activities, said he wants to see more people utilize these opportunities.
“These trails are easily accessible — well worth the reward of putting forth the effort of going,” he said.
With the availability of trails we have, there is something out there for everyone.”
Regardless of a hike’s proximity to Tech, Goodman said climbers should prepare for an excursion, whether short or long, properly.
He suggested bringing a rain coat, first aid kit and ample amouts of water. Goodman also recommended telling a person where and when you plan to hike for safety reasons.
Venture Out offers several hikes per semester for students who are interested in exploring the nearby hikes available.
Its office is located in 123 Squires Student Center. For more information about hiking and its activities, visit their Facebook page via