Claytor Lake State Park

Claytor Lake :  If the bottom of clear, cold, deep, 21-mile-long Claytor Lake was visible, visitors would get a glimpse of one link on the chain of history connecting early settlement along the frontier area known as southwest Virginia. The 4,475-acre impoundment of the New River lies south of Radford and east of Pulaski in Pulaski County, an easy jump from Interstate 81.
The nearby interstate and US 11 follow closely the old Wilderness Road, a footpath and wagon trail for settlers traveling south down the Shenandoah and Roanoke valleys from Pennsylvania. Thousands of years before European pioneers started streaming down the valley in the mid-1700s, the road was a well-traveled hunting and raiding route used by southern Cherokee and Catawba tribes, as well as members of the northern Iroquois Confederacy of Five Nations. A mystic German sect called the Ephrata Brethren (later to be known as Dunkards) decided the land now covered by Claytor Lake was the place they wanted to stop.


When the New River was dammed to form Claytor Lake for the generating of electric power in 1939, the community known as Dunkard’s Bottom was swallowed by the rising waters.Many of our ancestors had property and lived in the area now covered by the lake. As the New River was there and a great source of water and food. The main office at the Claytor Lake State Park was the home built by our cousin Haven Howe. The home has a central staircase exactly like the one here at Rockwood Manor but in minature and the flooring is also duplicate to our ash and walnut flooring.The historic Howe House has interactive exhibits describing the ecology of the lake and the surrounding areas.  


Claytor Lake State Park is ideal for swimming, camping, hiking and picnicking, Claytor Lake is known for sport fishing and boating. The park has a full-service marina with docking slips, supplies, fuel, boat rentals and refreshments.  Three lodges and 13 cabins overlook the 4,500-acre lake, offering visitors a scenic retreat.  Guests can also rent bikes and enjoy a universally accessible fishing pier, picnic shelters, a seasonal snack bar and playgrounds. There are also two gift shops. Popular activities at Claytor Lake include powerboating, sailing and various watersports.Fishing has also become a major attraction at Claytor Lake. The most plentiful fish in the lake are bluegill. Catfish are also popular in Claytor Lake, some of them getting quite large (well over 50 lb (22 kg)). The main sporting varieties are largemouth bass,. Large and small mouth bass fishing tournaments are a regular seasonal event at Claytor Lake with weights of 15 to 20 lb (7 to 9 kg) per fisherman being an average winning catch. Striped bass fishing occurs year round with various techniques. The average "striper"  is about 8 lb but catches close to 30 lb  have been reported.

New River Trail State Park :

One of our favorite places to visit is only 35 minutes from Rockwood Manor. This park has so much to offer including hiking, biking and bike rental, kayak and canoes, horse back rides. My Grand mother Mary Lou Bell was working here at the entrance to the park in a girls home when my Grandfather John A Blakemore came a courting arriving by train.They were soon married and my mother Sarah Kent was one of their children.
New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The park parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles and passes through four counties and the city of Galax. The trail’s gentle slope makes it great for visitors of all ages to hike, bike and ride horseback. Several places in the park provide horse, canoe and bike rentals, boat launches and gift shops. Fishing is popular, and primitive camping sites dot the trail. The park hosts a horse arena, and guided horseback trips are available. There are access points to the trail at Allisonia, Chestnut Yard, Cliffview, Dannelly Park (near Galax), Draper, Dora Junction (near Pulaski), Foster Falls, Fries, Galax, Gambetta, Hiwassee and Ivanhoe. Horse trailer parking is available at Allisonia, Austinville, Cliffview, Dora Junction, Draper, Fries, Ivanhoe and Foster Falls.

  • Two tunnels: 135 feet and 193 feet long
  • Three major bridges: Hiwassee – 951 feet; Ivanhoe – 670 feet; Fries Junction – 1,089 feet
  • Nearly 30 smaller bridges and trestles
  • A historic shot tower used more than 200 years ago to make ammunition

The Appalachian Trail

Visit Roanoke AT Hikes : The Appalachian Trail is accessable nearby and is one of the longest and most popular trails in the world. So many hikers have attempted its entire length and more have taken short sections of the often difficult but well marked trail.
There are several key lookouts within a days visit. 

Golfing in the New River Valley

Auburn Hills Golf Club of Riner Virginia is only a 25 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. They offer Membership, Booka Tee Time, Free Round Of Golf, Tournaments & Outings, Leagues, Golf Lessons, Practice Facilities, a Pro Shop, a fantastic 2015 Outdoor Pool Season, and it’s all in the scenic shadows of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. 1581 Turnberry Lane, Riner, VA 24149
(540) 381-4995

Blacksburg Country Club is only a 39 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. The club  offers Membership, and there are many activities that target couples and young families, including a swim season that is monitored by lifeguard staff on duty. Enjoy the tennis courts, heated swimming pool, practice range, golf courses, and a calendar of social events.Play golf at your convenience. Many skill levels on the golf courses are offered. 1064 Clubhouse Road, Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 552-9165

Draper Valley Golf Club in Draper Virginia, is just a 19 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. This highly rated country club approach to public golf offers a pro shop, practice, snack bar and dining facilities, golf courses, lessons, tee times, and tournaments. 2800 Big Valley Road, Draper, VA 24324
(540) 980-4653

Pete Dye River Course Of Virginia Tech, located in Radford Virginia,  is only a 19 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. Their USGA Slope Ratings vary between 55 and 155. Enjoy membership, golf instruction, junior golf, golf packages, and Bull & Bones at The River for upscale dining and sports pub. 8400 River Course Drive, Radford, VA 24141
(540) 633-6732

Pulaski Country Club is only an 11 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. They offer membership, tournaments, leagues, a Pro Shop, swimming pool, tennis, a restaurant, and a Friday Night Buffet. 4360 Country Club Drive, Pulaski, VA 24301
(540) 980-5851

Blacksburg Municipal Golf Course-The Hill is a 35 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. They offer a 2015 Golf Program, golf instruction, a 2015 Junior Academy for boys and girls, The Hill Golf Club, outings,Tee Time,  a 2015 Tournament Schedule, and a Pro Shop. 800 Graves Avenue, Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 961-1137

Castle Rock Golf & Recreation in Pembroke Virginia, is a 36 minute drive from Rockwood Manor.  They offer a free round of golf, membership, tournaments, tee time, a pro shop, practice facilities, an 18 hole golf course that’s open year around, a clubhouse activity room, and course specials. 900 Castle Rock Drive, Pembroke, VA 24136
(540) 626-7276

Virginia Tech Golf Course in Blacksburg Virginia, is a 33 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. They offer full club repair services, locker rentals, membership, leagues for student/faculty/staff, ladies leagues during the summer, a pro shop, golf lessons, golf courses, Located conveniently one mile from Virginia Tech Campus on Duck Pond Drive. 1 Duck Pond Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-6435

The Meadows Golf and Swim Club in Christiansburg Virginia is a 27 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. This club offers membership, swimming pool and pool events, bar & grill, tee times, instruction, mountain side track with rolling terrain and spectacular mountain views along the way, special events and golfing packages.1111 Round Meadow Drive, Christiansburg, VA 24073
(540) 382-3732 

Great Oaks Country Club in Floyd Virginia, is a 48 minute drive from Rockwood Manor. They feature fun for the family. They offer membership, tennis, swimming, golf for all ages and levels, tee time reservations, a caddy program, dining, events, pool and holiday parties, child care, wine tasting, junior golf and tennis, men’s and ladies leagues, and a swim team. They anticipate your arrival. RR 221 
Floyd, VA  24091
United States
P: (540) 745-2189 
F: (540) 745-5412


New River Trail State Park
This 57 mile long, 40 foot wide trail was once a rail bed. It parallels 38 miles of the New River which is one of the oldest rivers that flow north. It has been designated an official National Recreational Trail by the U. S.Department of the Interior.
There are two tunnels (one is 135 feet long and one 193 feet long),three major bridges (951 feet at Hiwassee, 670 feet at Ivanhoe and 1,089 at Fries Junction), almost 30 smaller bridges and trestles, and a shot tower
that was used more than 200 years ago to make ammunition.
For more information please go to:

Stony Creek Ride
This ride may be as short or as long as you would like (up to 70 miles)


Lower Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls are amazingly beautiful year around but the fall leaf and rhododendron flowering seasons are spectacular! When there is snow on the ground and the sides of the gorge are covered with ice the view will
amaze anyone. The more challenging two mile lower trail to the falls follows Little Stony Creek which allows hikers to view many cascades and pools. By returning on the two mile upper trail hikers receive a more
panoramic view of the valley. Both trails start and end at the same place so the choice of trails is up to you. Over the two miles you will change elevation from 2200 feet to 2900 feet but the 69 foot waterfalls are worth the effort.

Difficulty: Less than moderate
There is a $3 parking fee.
Upper Cascades and Barney’s Wall

You may want to extend your excursion from the Lower Cascades to include the Upper Cascades and Barney’s Wall. Please allow at least five hours for this hike with the 8.4 mile length and 1600 foot elevation change. The views are astonishing and well worth the extra miles.

Difficulty: Moderate
There is a $3 parking fee.

Huckleberry Trail
The Huckleberry Trail is a 5.762 miles rail trail in Montgomery County, Virginia, connecting Blacksburg and Christiansburg. The trail features a 12 feet wide trail with an asphalt surface at the middle, and unpaved shoulders.

Difficulty: Easy

Angels Rest is a challenging climb from the Town of Pearisburg to the Angels Rest lookout just off the Appalachian Trail. The out and back trail covers 4.6 miles and 1,550 feet of elevation change. The view is
spectacular from the top.

Difficulty: More than moderate

Kelly’s Knob
Another spot on the Appalachian Trail is Kelly’s Knob. This is a 6.5 mile out and back which runs along a ridge between John’s Creek and Clover Hollow Mountains. It offers a striking view from the 50 foot cliffs.
The trails are well traveled as students from Virginia Tech have been known to frequent them in the afternoons. From the beginning to the highest point you will climb just under 1800 feet in a little over three miles.

Difficulty: Moderate

Bald Knob
Even though this trail is less than 1.25 miles, it follows a somewhat steep (in parts) Jeep trail. Bald Knob is a rock outcropping that has a panoramic view to the east, south, and west. There are many
opportunities to view butterflies and wildflowers. The elevation is 4,365 feet.

There is a parking fee of $5 which will also allow you to walk around the grounds at the Mountain Lake Hotel (the site for the filming of Dirty Dancing )

Spearhead Trails


Spearhead Trails is the exciting new trail destination in Southwest Virginia A region already known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, traditional American music and cultural heritage crafts, Southwest Virginia now offers family-friendly ATV trails and will soon offer equestrian systems. Our first ATV trail system, “Mountain View” is NOW OPEN near the town of St. Paul. Spearhead Trails is expected to be a world-class riding destination with over 500 miles of ATV and Equestrian trails for every skill level by the end of 2016. Come enjoy the scenic beauty of Southwest Virginia and a
riding experience like nothing else

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