Situated in the heart of Appalachia, Blacksburg, Virginia is nestled between the Alleghenies and the Blue Ridge. The town’s unique location provides outdoors enthusiasts countless options for recreation throughout every season. Let us help you experience a weekend in Blacksburg like a local. Day 1 Take a Hike Huckleberry Trail The Huckleberry Trail is a paved 5.75-mi walking, running and biking path spanning from the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library in downtown Blacksburg to the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg. This route began in 1902 as a means of coal transportation for the Virginia Anthracite Coal and Rail Company. Two years later the company made a contract with Virginia Tech to become a major route for passenger trains as well. In 1966 the train route was transformed into a nature trail and walking path. The trail currently has three “pocket parks” located along the stretch and is soon expanding to five. One “pocket park” is called the “Coal Miner’s Heritage Park” which is dedicated to the trails original use for coal transportation. This section of the park is filled with old coal mining equipment and a bridge that crosses over an active Norfolk Southern rail line. The trail provides easy and accessible recreation as well as many free parking lots located along the trail. This allows an eco-friendly and sustainable way to commute into downtown Blacksburg for many locals and students of Virginia Tech. Cascades (The Upper/Lower Trail) Want a more scenic and secluded hike? Nearby in Pembroke, VA is the location of a beautiful 66-foot waterfall. This scenic four-mile loop provides you with aerial views of Little Stony Creek ultimately leading you to the waterfall. The trail was mindfully and artfully constructed in the 1960’s with four bridges and countless stone steps and walkways. The Upper and Lower Trail share the first quarter mile before splitting. You can chose to take one trail there and back or switch once you reach the waterfall. The Upper Trail is ideal for hikers with children. The path is wide and smooth allowing for a fast hike but does not run along side Little Stony Creek thus being less scenic. The Lower Trail is considerably rockier which makes it more slippery after a recent rain. For a more detailed description of the trail and a video of the waterfall click here or here. Also, keep in mind you need to bring three dollars for parking! Dragons Tooth Is that still not scenic enough for you? Then try this one. Dragons Tooth is located on top of Cove Mountain, is a section of the Appalachian Trail, and is included in the Virginia Triple Crown. The trail name comes from the several rock spires at the top, the tallest “tooth” being 35 feet high. This 4.7-mile hike provides breathtaking panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It takes around 6 hours to complete this trail due to its rocky terrain so be prepared to get your hands dirty! Literally. Be prepared to use your hands to climb to the top. Check it out for yourself; here’s the map. Photo Courtesy of Hobos in Love Other Options: Crimpers If it’s raining during your visit don’t let it stop you from enjoying Blacksburg. Come hang at Crimpers Climbing Gym. With several types of climbing styles Crimpers will be sure to make your experience diverse and challenging. They also offer classes to help you further your skills whether you are just a beginner or an expert. Pandapas Pond Located on the outside of Blacksburg is a one-mile wheelchair accessible path surrounding an 8-acre pond. This area is great for laid back fishing with little ones and enjoying an easy stroll. Keep your eyes out for dragonflies, turtles, songbirds, and waterfowls in the surrounding wetlands. Also feel free to bring your pets including horses to Pandapas Pond but keep in mind to use the upper access to enter the 17-mile Poverty Creek Trail System. Food Gillie’s Restaurant Enjoy the best brunch that Blacksburg has to offer at Gillie’s Restaurant. Open on the weekends from 8am-2pm. With many Vegan and Gluten Free options there’s something on the menu for everyone at this inspired vegetarian cuisine and seafood restaurant. Coming to Blacksburg on a weekday? Don’t worry Gillie’s serves three meals a day Monday-Friday! Lefty’s Main Street Grille Refuel after a day of adventure at Lefty’s Main Street Grille. This cozy restaurant will have you coming back to Blacksburg time and time again. With a menu of interesting flavors and beautiful presentations your taste buds will never be let down. Lodging Boy Scout Connector Trail Only a quarter-mile into the Dragon’s Tooth trail you will find plenty of camping spots at the intersection of the Boy Scout Connector Trail. This camping spot will also have a water source if the creek is running. For greater detail on this camping area read this. Day 2 The New River Junction Ready for a dunk in the river after all that hiking? Grab your swimsuit and a tube for a relaxing mile float down the New River. The New River is the oldest river in North America and the second oldest river in the world behind the Nile. You can rent tubes at the river and partake in a free shuttle for unlimited floats down. The Junction also offers areas to enjoy a picnic and places to camp. You could spend one whole day just at the river! For tubing rates and camping information click here. Also keep in mind that the New River is a great location for fly-fishing. With a wide variety of fish in the river you never know what you might catch! Food Sharkey’s Wing and Rib Joint You don’t have to do all the work on vacation, so let Sharkey’s Wing and Rib Joint take care dinner for you! Forget the charcoal grill find all of your favorite summer meals on the menu. Plus, the burger selection will blow your mind. Don’t be afraid to try something new! Lodging: Mountain Lake Just 16 miles from Blacksburg, tucked away on a 2,600 acre forest preserve, is Mountain Lake Lodge, the perfect outdoor retreat. With two separate lodges, several cabins and cottages, you can’t go wrong. Better yet, if you want to relive the 80’s and pretend you were in the movie Dirty Dancing, this lodge is calling your name. They also have a whole weekend event in August surrounding the movie! The lodge also offer 22 miles of hiking and biking trails, and river access for fly fishing, rafting, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Night Life The Lyric The Lyric was built in 1929 and operated in the 1930’s. Undergoing restoration in 1994 and reopening in 1999 the theatre now operates as a non-profit movie cinema and community center. The theatre offers an entertainment experience that cannot be compared. Throughout the year, The Lyric offers independent and foreign films, music, theatre, and other events. Additionally, The Lyric also offers educational programs, including conferences and academic lectures, as well as, theatre and video camps. Check out what’s going on this week at the Lyric on their homepage. VA Tech When in Blacksburg, do as the Hokies do. Try to catch a home football game at Lane Stadium or a basketball game in Cassell Coliseum. This year’s first home football game is on Sept. 7 vs. Ohio State. Upcoming Events: Steppin’ Out The 35th annual Steppin’ Out music and arts festival is Aug 7-8 in downtown Blacksburg. With events starting at 10am on both days there will be plenty going on to keep you busy. Featuring more than 250 artists and crafts from around the United States surely you’ll find some knick-knacks and treasures that you (don’t) need along with some really unique gifts. Shops in downtown Blacksburg also hold their final clearance sales during the span of this festival. Admission and parking is free, can it get any better? Blues, Brews & BBQ On Aug 29 from 11-5 at the St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall Museum, located in the North End Center. Eight bands and performers will play traditional Blues music while you walk around and enjoy beer and food. Another awesome festival to check out in Blacksburg and once again admission is free! But please don’t forget to bring money for a donation.