Carvins Cove Natural Reserve

Carvins Cove: Hours of Operation | Maps | Fees

Carvins Cove Mtn BikerThe park and all trails within the park are open year around from 6:00am to 11:00pm
*Boat dock hours may differ from actual park hours.

An access pass is required and can be purchased at the boat dock  for a fee of $2 per day or $20 annually (cash or check only, no credit cards). Trailside access passes can be purchased at the Bennett Springs and Timberview parking lots. Cash or check are the only payment options.

For a download of the entire Carvins Cove trail map, click here  For boating fee and rental information, click here.

Swimming is not permitted at Carvins Cove.


About Carvins Cove

The 12,463-acre Carvins Cove Natural Reserve (the Cove) is the second-largest municipally owned and managed park in the United States, and the largest east of the Mississippi River. Located just seven miles north of the City of Roanoke, the Cove contains more than 11,000 acres of both hardwood and mixed pine-hardwood forests, a 630-acre reservoir, plus more than 45 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

As a vital piece of Western Virginia’s green infrastructure, the Cove is connected to national, state, and local trail systems. Four miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) are located on city-owned land (through an easement held by the National Park Service), and 11 additional miles are contiguous to Cove property. Carvins CoveThe Cove is also in the viewshed of the AT for 15 miles, with critical viewpoints at McAfee’s Knob (the second most-photographed spot on the AT), Hay Rock, Angel’s Gap, and Tinker Mountain.

Aside from the wonderful hiking opportunities, Carvins Cove has grown to be one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in the east half of the United States. When accessing from the Bennett Springs parking area, there are nearly 50 miles of mountain biking trails including cross country single track, free ride downhill trails and extensive fire roads. Combine this with the array of fishing and boating opportunities, it’s easy to see why Carvins Cove is one of the most significant outdoor recreational destinations in the Eastern United States.

It is the intention of Roanoke Parks and Recreation to sustainably manage this unique park while also sensitively developing facilities that enhance its role as a nationally significant outdoor recreation destination.

Things you need to know:

  • The Cove is only minutes from I-81, and less than eight miles from downtown Roanoke. The address is 9644 Reservoir Road, Roanoke VA, 24019.
  • There are two entrances: the Boat Dock from Route 11 and Bennett Springs from Route 311. Most of the singletrack trails are more easily accessed via the Bennett Springs parking area.
  • The Appalachian Trail follows one of the Cove’s northwest ridgelines.
  • The 800 acre lake at the Cove’s center offers fishing and boating with small engines.
  • The boat dock provides picnic tables, pay phones, restrooms, boat rentals, security personnel, and parking.
  • Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian trail riders are welcome.
  • Swimming and camping are not permitted.
  • A day or annual pass may be purchased at any of the three entrances to the Cove. Upon entering Reservoir Road, one may purchase their passes from the security office near the boat dock. From either the Bennett Springs or the Timberview Road parking areas passes are easily obtained via the trail lock-box and pass self service system. Fees are $2 per day or an annual pass for $20 (cash or check only, no credit cards).
  • To reserve the picnic shelter and learn more about certain restrictions concerning use of the reservoir, contact the Boat Dock offices at 540-362-1757