Backpacking with Brooke: River Walk to Blue Ridge trail at Explore Park

Explore Park offers many trails of all levels of difficulty

ROANOKE, Va. – Explore Park, located about fifteen minutes out of Downtown Roanoke, has a wealth of trails to hike all over its property. We decided to park in Lot D by the river, and do a quick, easy hike along the river, and added in a moderate loop called the Blue Ridge trail.

You’ll start at the yellow gate opening by the parking lot. There’s two, but this one heads downhill. You’ll head right, as the Rock Fish trail will take you down to the River Walk trail

This trail is mostly gravel but has a few grassy areas on the way down. This is also a hot spot for camping, with easy access to the Roanoke River.

Once you get to the bottom of the Rock Fish trail, you’ll merge with the River Walk. This one is marked with blue blazes, and runs along the river.

This section of the trail turned into lush green trees and a dirt path, and some little critters.

After about a quarter of a mile, the trail intersects with the blue ridge trail. It is a little overgrown, but added a nice loop to our hike. It is marked with green blazes.

Keep your eyes peeled for animals, more specifically turtles, hiding in the grass.

The beginning of this trail has a nice steady incline, but it isn’t difficult. Once it starts to level off, the trees are vast and sun pokes through the leaves. It really felt like an enchanted forest.

On the lower half of the trail, there were a few downed trees, but nothing you can’t cross over.

The trail is about a quarter mile, and dumped us back out on the river walk. There were some nice spots on the path to check out the river, but I wanted to dip in the real thing.

We walked down along the sand near the bank, just off of the river walk trail. It was pretty crowded down here so we continued down the bank til we found an empty spot.

And jumped in! It was such a hot day the water felt so good. We walked back up to the parking lot and called it a day. It was the perfect loop to work up a sweat with a nice cool reward.

About the Author:

Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.