Carvins Cove & Hay Rock

  • Highlights: Great views, Hay Rock, Appalachian Trail
  • Distance: 7.9 miles out and back
  • Elevation Change 1,430 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with numerous rocky sections
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate/strenuous (elevation gain and rocky sections especially on the ridge)
  • Trailhead Parking: Tinker Mountain Rd. and US 220, Daleville VA; there is a parking area here for about 20 vehicles located next to an Exxon gas station.
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Olde Salem Brewery—Grandma’s Hands Stout & Township Rebellion IPA

The Hike:

This hike on the Appalachian Trail has great views of Carvins Cove Reservoir and and Hay Rock. The trail is well marked and well maintained thanks to the volunteers with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

A short .2 mile unmarked trail leads from the parking area to the AT. This trail is located behind a guardrail across Tinker Mountain Road from the parking area. The trail junction with the AT has a kiosk with a trail map. Turn left at the kiosk and follow the white-blazed AT southbound.

The AT begins a steady climb for the next 2 miles crossing over railroad tracks and beneath high-voltage power transmission lines. Switchbacks and steps make the climb easier. The first overlook is just past a steep section with steps leading to views to the north and south, directly beneath the power lines. Continue on the AT along the ridge for better views.

In a few hundred yards, the first overlook of the Carvins Cove Reservoir and surrounding mountains appears on the left. The AT becomes very rocky as you continue southbound. Several overlooks provide great views to the west. Carvins Cove spreads out below and the mountains (Tinker, Catawba, and others) rise above.

Reach the mammoth Hay Rock at 4 miles. The AT passes beside this enormous rock formation for nearly 50 yards. Carvins Cove is hidden by trees so the only view here is of Hay Rock itself. Retrace your steps on the AT heading north to the trail kiosk. Turn right and follow the short spur trail back to the parking area and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Olde Salem Brewery in nearby Salem is about 15 minutes from the trailhead. They have indoor and outdoor seating, dogs are welcome outside, and a variety of food trucks visit on weekends.

Grandma’s Hands (5.8% ABV • 27 IBU) is a smooth, oatmeal stout brewed with crystal, pale chocolate, and black malts. The resulting flavor profile of chocolate, cocoa powder, and caramel is just like Grandma’s cookies. Kathy enjoyed a cold glass of Township Rebellion (6.5% ABV • 55 IBU). This New England style IPA is brewed with a healthy dose of Galaxy, Mosaic, and Citra hops.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.