Visitors to Alleghany County are often encouraged to slow down and enjoy a more leisurely pace. Whether they are floating the New River, shopping the quaint shops of Sparta, or enjoying a round of golf, slowing down allows the senses to acclimate to mountain life. While this can be accomplished in many venues, few places rival a walk in the woods to get one reacquainted with the land. Fortunately, there are several options for walkers, hikers, or trail runners to enjoy nature at its best.
An obvious choice is the many trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Those trails range from a short, easy ¼ mile walk to a beautiful overlook at the Fox Hunter’s Paradise to a more challenging and strenuous hike into Basin Cove. Many fern lined trails parallel the Parkway and are suitable for hikers of all ages. See maps below.
The Mountain to Sea Trail (MST) weaves back and forth across the Parkway from the north before dropping down into Stone Mountain State Park. The 1175 mile long trail begins high in the Smoky Mountain National Park at Clingman’s Dome and winds across North Carolina to Jockey’s Ridge on the outer banks. The Alleghany Sparta Trails Association maintains a large section of the MST that passes through Alleghany County.
One final option is to drop off the mountain to Stone Mountain State Park and hike the Stone Mountain Loop Trail. This strenuous, 4.5 mile hike crosses the summit of Stone Mountain, passes by the historic Hutchinson Homestead and then takes hikers up past a 200 foot waterfall. While geographically this hike is “off the mountain” as locals like to say, over half the trail is in Alleghany County.
So, slow down and step into the Heart of the Blue Ridge Parkway.