Approximately 3.5-mile one-way hike through Roaring Branch Cove, a scenic area of old-growth forest above southwest Virginia's Powell ... more »River. Although this trail is commonly referred to as the Roaring Branch Trail by locals, it is formally the eastern end of the Stone Mountain Trail, a much longer path connecting the Powell River with Cave Spring Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest. The most popular portion of this trail - a moderate dayhike from the Powell River through old-growth forests to High Butte Overlook - is mapped here.
The Roaring Branch Trail provides some of southwest Virginia's most scenic streamside scenery, as well as some of the only old-growth forest in this portion of the state. Centuries-old hemlocks line the middle portions of this hike, and the climb to High Butte provides a fascinating example of forest transitions in the southern Appalachians as one moves from moist, sheltered coves to drier ridgetops. The view from High Butte Overlook, near the turnaround point for this hike, provides a sweeping vista of the Powell River Valley. less «