A little “peace” of heaven just off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Top 10 Hikes near Fancy Gap

There are many great choices for hiking around Fancy Gap, Virginia. These are our picks for the top 10 hikes in the area. You’ll see beautiful vistas, waterfalls, bold flowing creeks, historical sites, wild ponies and more. Hike hard or look for something a little more laid back. If you like hiking, we hope this list helps you find one of the best hikes near Fancy Gap. Most are less than an hour from Pilot’s Perch Cabin, where you can soak in the hot tub after your hike.

1. Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve

Location: Willis, VA (Between Fancy Gap and Floyd, VA)
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~40 minutes
Distance: 1.1 miles out and back (2.2 miles total)
Skill Level: Moderate
Highlights: 360 views; views of Pilot Mountain and the Peaks of Otter

Notes: Gravel road to the top can be tight; navigate Buffalo Mountain Parking Area when using GPS.

Hiking with Pilot’s Perch

2. Cumberland Knob Recreation Area

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 217.5
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~25 minutes
Distance: 2.5 miles (loop)
Skill Level: Moderate
Highlights: Small waterfall and numerous cascades

Notes: This was the starting point for construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a picnic area with an easier 1 mile hike.
 

Hiking with Pilot’s Perch

3. Devil’s Den Nature Preserve

Location: Fancy Gap

Distance: 2.5 miles (loop)
Skill Level: Moderate
Highlights: Devil’s Den Cave

Notes: It is close to the old Appalachian Trail.

4. Doughton Park

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 238
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~1 hour 10 minutes
Distance: Numerous trails (2-7.5 miles)
Skill Level: Numerous trails (Easy to strenuous)
Highlights: Features stream crossings, historical cabin and homestead. Cross country skiing allowed in the winter.

5. Grayson Highlands State Park

Location: 40 miles west of Galax, VA
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~1 hour 15 minutes
Distance: Numerous trails
Skill Level: Numerous trails (Easy to strenuous)
Highlights: Get up close and personal with “wild” ponies. The Appalachian Trail passes through here. Beautiful view from the park’s balds.

6. New River Trail State Park

Location: 20 miles north of Fancy Gap just off I-77
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~25 minutes
Distance: 57 miles
Skill Level: Easy
Highlights:  It is a 57-mile linear park along an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The trail’s gentle slope makes it great for visitors of all ages to hike, bike and ride horseback. Guided horseback trips, canoe and bike rentals are also available. Popular spot for fishing.

7. Pilot Mountain State Park

Location: between Winston-Salem and Mt. Airy, NC
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~30 minutes
Distance: 57 miles
Skill Level: Numerous trails (Easy to moderate)
Highlights: The summit of Pilot Mountain offers great views of the Sauratown Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains.

Note: It can get very crowded, and parking is limited.

8. Rocky Knob Recreation Area/Rock Castle Gorge

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 169
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~35 minutes
Distance:  Several trails (1-12.5 miles)
Skill Level: Several trails (Easy to strenuous)
Highlights: There are great views up top and a babbling brook down in the gorge, with ruins of old homesteads in between.

Hiking with Pilot’s Perch

9. Stone Mountain State Park

Location: Off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 229
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~50 minutes
Distance:  Several trails (.5-6 miles)
Skill Level: Several trails (Moderate to strenuous)
Highlights: Stone Mountain is a very unique rock formation. There is a 200′ waterfall and a mid-19th century farm. It is a popular destination for trout fishermen.

10. Thurmond Chatham Wildlife Management Area

Location: Off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 229 (close to Stone Mountain)
Travel Time from Fancy Gap: 1 hour 15 minutes
Distance: 5.5 miles (11 miles out and back)
Skill Level: Moderate to difficult (slick rocks and river crossings)
Highlights: There are many river crossings, so prepare to get wet. That along with shade over most of the trail can make this a pleasant summer hike. There is a historic church on the grounds. Features a waterfall and a historic church and cabin.

Note: Tip from a fellow hiker: Check the weather prior to heading out, if the weather turns some crossings could become dangerous if not impassable.

Honorable Mention

Beaver Dam Trail – Easy stroll in Hillsville, VA.

Crystal Springs Recreation Area – Park with lots of hiking and other activities in Wytheville, less than an hour from Fancy Gap.

Hanging Rock State Park – Lots of great hiking less than an hour from Fancy Gap.

Seven Sisters Trail – Strenuous 8.5 mile trail less than an hour from Fancy Gap. Will probably need two cars for this one.

A Little Further Afield

Cascade Falls – 2 1/4 mile hike out and back (4.5 mile total) to a beautiful waterfall. About an hour and 20 minutes from Fancy Gap.

Damascus – Lots of hiking in the area. Check here for options. Damascus is less than an hour and a half from Fancy Gap.

Dragon’s Tooth – Strenuous hike with beautiful views at the end. 2 1/4 mile hike out and back (4.5 mile total). About an hour and a half from Fancy Gap

McAfee Knob – The most photographed place on the Appalachian Trail. 4 miles out and back (for a total of 8 miles). About an hour and 20 minutes from Fancy Gap.

The Great Channels – A maze of slot canyons similar to what is found in the Southwestern US. 3.3 out and back for a total of 6.6. About an hour and 40 minutes from Fancy Gap