We took advantage of the beautiful, sunny weekend to take a nice, long walk at Smart View Recreation Area on Sunday. It’s located near Milepost 155 off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here’s a great post about the area.
The loop trail is about 2.6 miles and loops through a hardwood-pine mix forest and over a small creek. In the middle of the loop is a large picnic area.
It had been many years since we last visited Smart View, so everything felt new and fresh. Though it had been in the 60s for a couple of days, the shade from the trees had kept the snow from melting. This made several places slick.
Sidney looked a little unsure about the log bridge posted above, but she didn’t hesitate too long.
This stone bridge, further down the trail, is wider and made for easier crossing.
The first section of the trail is fairly moderate with some steep hills. In many places the trail is narrow and we had to walk in single file. On the left were steep drops into the hollow below. There were many great views, easily seen through the bare tree limbs.
The last mile was fairly flat and passed close by the parking lot before circling back around by the road.
This is Trail Cabin, built in the late 1800s. The trail passes behind it. This part of the trail I do remember from several years ago. It’s a popular pull-off where people like to snap photos of the cabin. I remember walking out of the woods and seeing a crowd of people in the parking lot above. It was humorous to see the reactions the people had to us wandering out of the woods. I’m sure we weren’t the wildlife they were expecting to see!
Though it was a nice day, not too many people were out and about on the Parkway Sunday. Because of the snow, the Parkway is closed to visitors. Locals, like us, know the access roads and still visit. On our way back home, we had to get off the Parkway at Highway 8 near Floyd because the remaining snow across the road made it seem impassable. The bicyclist in front of us, however, apparently thought he could do it. Brave man, biking up a steep hill caked in snow and ice.