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An old paved road that loops past the riverfront and allows access to multiple other trails in Explore Park.


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Map Key

1.0

Miles

1.6

KM

Point to Point

1,109' 338 m

High

846' 258 m

Low

132' 40 m

Up

289' 88 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek

Family Friendly At the end, you can choose to hike back along the road to the parking lot where you started (Lot A) or head up through the Historic Area (accessible from Lot D, where you end) for other activities.

Park open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Need to Know

If you're interested in exploring the Historic Area more, many of the trails in the park have SOME access - but Old Salem Turnpike loops around it. You can access that area either by hiking up through Lot D (where you end if you come from Lot A) or at any of the points where the Historic trails meet Old Salem Turnpike. They're clearly marked, just look for a historic building set off to the side, with a path leading to it.

Description

Old Salem Turnpike has the benefit of having been paved at one time - it's packed gravel now, but still a stable surface on a wide trail. To get back to your starting point, you can choose to hike along the road between Lot D (where you end) and Lot A (where you start), or you can travel through the historic area back to where it intersects OST near the trailhead.

In late May, the trail was shaded and cool. Be aware of the slope! You'll start out hiking downhill and end heading uphill. There's plenty of room to pull off the trail if you need a breather, but if you take your time, it shouldn't be too taxing for anyone who is comfortable in the woods. If you choose to start at Lot D, the last hill up to Lot A from where it breaks off the overlapping River Walk Trail does certainly feel steeper going up than it did coming down. Having taken this one both ways, I think I prefer A to D.

As you come around about a quarter of the way into the trail, you'll see yellow blazes heading off to Palmer's Pond Trail. If you're on Old Salem Turnpike to enjoy the leisurely stroll on a wide, mostly paved surface, be advised that Palmer's Pond, while rewarding, is completely different: it's a connector to Deer Run Trail, and both are much more rugged. Palmer's Pond can get steep and has some narrow dirt switchbacks and tall steps. If you're unsure of your footing, I suggest following Old Salem Turnpike. You'll get to enjoy the waterfront views after the downward climb, when it parallels the Roanoke River along the River Walk Trail. This section is relatively stable and flat, and makes for a quick, pleasant outing.

While you're here, listen for the train on the other side of the river!

Flora & Fauna

I was lucky enough on my outing in late May to see a wild turkey right around the first turn in the bend down the path - she hopped up over some fallen logs and darted into the brush. If you listen, you'll definitely hear squirrels in the trees, and probably see them on the trail. The train doesn't quite count as an animal, but I personally enjoyed hearing it across the river.

This trail isn't bad for bugs, as it is quite well-maintained. There could be some gnats down along the river depending on the time of day you go.

Contacts

Local Club: Roanoke Outside

Land Manager: Roanoke Parks and Recreation

Shared By:

Helen White

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2

in Explore Park

#4276

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#2

in Explore Park

#103

in Virginia

#4,276

Overall
2 Views Last Month
155 Since May 29, 2018
Intermediate Intermediate

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