Hiking around Blacksburg
One of the main things Virginia Tech is known for is all the great hiking spots close by. The Appalachian Trail, which includes places like Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee’s Knob, Tinker Cliffs, and Hay Rock, is only 30 minutes away. In addition to this small area, there’s also several other hikes in pretty much any direction. Pandapas Pond is pretty close to VT and happens to have a nice lake and plenty of trails. It’s mainly used for mountain biking, so be aware if you decide to go during a busy time. Unfortunately there are really only 2 ways to access Pandapas Pond: an entrance off 460 or the “Gateway Trail” (search google maps close to VT) which is surprisingly difficult, especially if you don’t have a fantastic mountain bike.
Starting at Virginia Tech traveling south is the Huckleberry Trail - a paved 6 mile path going all the way to the Christiansburg Rec Center, along with an access path to west of VT around Foxridge. This is a very common path since it goes right by a Wal-Mart, the movies, and a couple other popular places. If you decide to go at a busy time (mostly weekends) make sure to stay towards the right side, as cyclists frequently use the trail as well. Aside from Huckleberry and other small parks/trails, further south you’ll find Rock Castle Gorge. This is a nice loop trail that follows the Blue Ridge Mountains with great views of the surrounding areas as well. It’s not too far of a drive either, being about 30 miles southwest from Christiansburg.
Before going on any of these trips, make sure you prepare everything and have a plan. Hiking in the summer lets you shed more weight in terms of clothing, but hiking in the winter creates an amazing experience, especially on the mountain tops when it snows. If you need gear for a trip, Venture Out is a good place to rent backpacks and tents, while you’ll have to drive about 10 minutes south to find Wal-Mart or other outdoor stores for specialized gear.