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Best Hiking Near Smith Mountain Lake
Posted by LF Vacations | Tuesday, November 17, 2020

With 500 miles of shoreline and 20,000 acres of water, it's no wonder why Smith Mountain Lake, VA is an outdoor lover's paradise. Fishers and those who love boating rejoice in spending their summers here. But did you know there are also plenty of trails to explore in the area? We hope you enjoy some of our favorite trails with your loved ones next time you're in the area!

Flower lined hiking trail in Virginia

#1 - Turtle Island Trail

As a relatively short hike, this is a great option for those who want to get outside but don't want to spend all day hiking. The views provided by Turtle Island Trail are stunning, and there is a fun strip of land you get to walk on that's surrounded by water. 

#2 - Interpretive Trail Loop

This 3.6 mile hike is best used from March to November and there are pretty views of the lake along the way. You might see some wildlife like deer on your hike, and if it's hot there are some great places to take a dip. 

#3 - McAfee Knob

McAfee Knob in Virginia

  • Location: Catawba, VA
  • Length: 8.1 miles
  • Difficulty: difficult

Isn't it true that the most difficult hikes usually provide the most beautiful sights? At 8.1 miles and 1,800+ ft in elevation gain, McAfee Knob is a commitment and you need to be prepared - but the sights are worth it. This out and back trail offers beautiful wildflowers when the season is right. 

#4 - Chestnut Ridge Trail

This well maintained out and back trail is also a good choice for a short and sweet hike. You'll enjoy great views of the lake and the mountains on your journey. There is relatively little elevation gain so it is rated as easy but remember to watch the weather because it can be a bit muddy if it rains. 

#5 - Striper Cove Trail

This moderate 3.5 mile loop offers some good views of the lake and there are a few benches along the way to rest and take in the views. This (as many trails in the area are) is a pet friendly trail so long as your pop stays on a leash. 

#6 - Sharp Top Trail at Peaks of Otter

Peaks of Otter in Virginia

The Peaks of Otter area offers several trails, including: Sharp Top Trail (1.5m), Elk Run Loop (0.8m), Harkening Hill Loop Trail (3.3m), Johnson Farm Trails, Flat top Trail and Abbott Lake Trail. Sharp Top Trail is the most popular and offers spectacular views of the Peaks of Otter area. 

#7 - Buck Run Tail

This 2.5 mile out and back trail travels along a finger of the lake and is easy to loop into other trails to make for a longer hike should you wish. There are some water views along the way and you might see a few mountain bikers as well. 

#8 - Walton Creek Trail

This fun 2.8 mile loop is good for all skill levels. You'll enjoy wildflower and wildlife viewing along the way, and dogs are welcome to join you so long as they are on a leash. 

Plan Your Smith Mountain Lake Vacation

Chairs on the dock at a Smith Mountain Lake cabin

We've got all the details on planning a refreshing vacation to beautiful Smith Mountain Lake. Get the local scoop on vacationing at this destination, check out our area guide, and find the perfect lake house to rent. We offer lakefront cottages, pet friendly homes, and rentals with swimming pools.

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