Mill Mountain Park – 8-9 miles of trail. If you are a runner, you can link these trails up with the Chestnut ridge loop for nice tough long run. You have to climb at some point if you are coming to Mill Mountain.
Location: Just outside of downtown Roanoke. Look up to the mountain with the big star and you’ve found Mill Mountain.
Hospital: Carilion Memorial Hospital is at the base of the Mountain. Go down the mountain, take a left at Laurel Street, then a left on Belleview Avenue, this will take you to the hospital.
There has been a lot of work done on these trails in the past few years. Nice work Roanoke. Great place to get in a quick workout with some climbing. Remember that the Star Trail and Chestnut Ridge Loop don’t allow bikes. If you’re biking you’ll have to take the newly created Wood Thrush Trail at the top of the gravel road climb to stay legal. You can also park at the Discovery Center at the top of Mill Mountain. If you need a map of the trails they should have some for you there. These trails have been known to hide wild blueberries and raspberries.
Star Trail – (Moderate) This trail is 1.7 miles up and a 3.4 mile out and back. You’ll have a 1.5 mile hike up to the star and overlook. This is the biggest hot spot for visitors wishing to look out over the city of Roanoke. On a clear day it has the best view of the city and surrounding mountains.
Chestnut Ridge Loop – MAP – (Moderate) This is a challenging 5.4 mile Hiker/horse trail that circles the Roanoke Mountain campground. There is approximately 800ft of elevation gain on this loop, most of it coming from 3 different hills that will burn your lungs. A few years ago there was a lot of work done on this trail that improved it tremendously (in the summer be on the lookout for Poison Ivy). I really like this loop for a short workout and will include some of the connecting Mill Mountain trails to increase my mileage. In addition, I will sometimes connect the Chestnut Ridge Loop with the paved 4 mile Roanoke Mountain Loop if I’m looking to get in some hill training. The downhill coming off this mountain has helped get my joints ready for the pounding they would take in some ultra runs.
10k Loop (Running)– See the Mill Mountain Mayhem 10k
16 Mile Loop (Running) – Park at the Star Trail parking lot and do the above 10k loop, then take the Woodthrush trail to the Chestnut Ridge Loop, do the Chestnut Ridge Loop, take the Woodthrush back to the Star Trail, and back to your car.
20 Mile Loop – Do the above, and when you get to where the Chestnut Ridge Loop goes under the Parkway Spur, cross the road to the horse trail that takes you to the Overlook just off the parkway, then run the Roanoke Mountain Loop. It’s an elevation killer but a great hill workout. When done with the Roanoke mountain loop, continue on to the second half of the Chestnut Ridge Loop.