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Backpacking with Brooke: Poor Mountain Hike

This is a must-see vista just a half hour from downtown Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. – Poor Mountain Hike is a must-see in the Roanoke Valley. With nearly four miles of trails, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday.

You’ll park off of Twelve O’clock Knob Road in the lot of the Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve. It has a 10 car limit, so if the lot is full, you’ll have to wait.

The trail head will explain the options for hikes and you’ll walk a few tenths of a mile to the main fork. The information board outlines which routes you can take.

Make sure you brush off your feet so you don’t spread invasive species to the trail! We went with the entire four mile loop and took it counter clockwise, so we started to the right.

This hike is marked with blue blazes. We went at the perfect time, a little chilly, but spring has sprung on the mountain.

After about a third of a mile you will come upon the Overlook View, take the stairs up and there’s a little bench you can sit on and take in the landscape.

The downside to going counter-clockwise on the trail is you hit the view first. But later when you’re about three miles in, you won’t question it. Now, you’ll start the 1.2 mile descent to the bottom.

I really liked this part of the hike because it was lush and green, with the sound of a stream trickling the whole way down.

The bottom of the mountain has a nice stream running through and then you’ll take the Piratebush Loop 1.1 miles to the top. This part of the trail is a little steep and traverses back and forth a few times as you ascend. However, there is a nice view again on the way up.

Finally, the trail will flatten out as it rounds the top of the mountain. Once it levels out, you’ll have about a third of a mile to go and you’ll end up at the trail head where you started.


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