What’s the best bike shop in the Blue Ridge? Who are the top raft guides and most inspiring thru-hikers? Where is the most scenic waterfall? What are the toughest events in the region? And where can you get the best local beer and pizza after a day of adventure? Thousands of readers from across the region decided the winners of our seventh annual Best of the Blue Ridge Awards, which include 75 categories, from burgers to biking trails.

Hiking Trail

Greenbrier River Trail

Caldwell—Cass, W.Va.

Paralleling the Greenbrier River for nearly 78 miles, this easily accessible rail-trail provides an intimate look at both the history and natural beauty of West Virginia.

FINALISTS

Cascade Falls, Va.

Art Loeb Trail, N.C.

A.T. Section

McAfee Knob

Catawba, Va.

The iconic rock outcropping along the A.T. at McAfee Knob is engulfed by near-360-degree views of rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. Expect to work hard for those vistas—the trail climbs a butt-busting 1,700 feet in just 4.4 miles.

FINALISTS

Roan Mountains, Tenn.

Dragon’s Tooth, Va.

Swimming Hole

Blue Bend Recreation Area

Monongahela, W.Va.

With three overlooks into the Monongahela National Forest and a cozy overnight shelter, the trail is a gem in its own right, never mind the brisk mountain-fed swimming hole.

FINALISTS

Devil’s Bathtub, Va.

Skinny Dip Falls, N.C.

Running Trail

Mill Mountain

Roanoke, Va.

With over 10 miles of trails just minutes from downtown, Mill Mountain Park makes it easy for Roanoke residents and visitors to squeeze in a quick trail run before, after, or even during work hours. Climbing to the Roanoke Star at 1,847 feet justifies a post-run beverage.

FINALISTS

Jackrabbit Trail, N.C.

Blue Ridge School Trails, Va.

Paddling River

New River

North Carolina—West Virginia

Designated a Wild and Scenic River in 1976, the 320-mile long river starts in North Carolina’s High Country. After long stretches of flatwater in Virginia, it becomes world-class whitewater in West Virginia.

FINALISTS

Nantahala River, N.C.

James River, Va.

Climbing Crag

New River Gorge

Fayetteville, W.Va.

The sheer quantity of bullet-hard sandstone in the New River Gorge makes the area one of the best sport and traditional rock climbing destinations in the world. Many climbers of international renown have journeyed to this quiet pocket of southern West Virginia to test their mettle on the area’s (oft-sandbagged) 1,400+ established routes and boulder problems.

FINALISTS

Seneca Rocks, W.Va.

Looking Glass Rock, N.C.

Campground

Big Meadows

Shenandoah National Park

Post up for the weekend with backdoor access to Shenandoah National Park’s treasured waterfalls and trails. Within minutes of leaving your campsite, you can be at the base of Dark Hollow Falls or hiking along the Appalachian Trail.

FINALISTS

Deep Creek Tube Center & Campground, N.C.

Flag Rock Recreation Area, Va.

Biking Trail

Greenbrier River Trail

Caldwell—Cass, W.Va.

Take a day or a week to pedal this historic rail-trail, which passes over 35 bridges, through two tunnels, and along some of the state’s most remote and vibrant forests.

FINALISTS

Carvins Cove, Va.

Bryce Mountain Bike Park, Va.