ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. — If you are both a hiker and a plant lover, one trail marries them. The Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve in Roanoke County features a series of trails and also contains the world's largest population of a globally rare plant.
Most hikes begin at the trail access on 12 o'clock Knob Road about 4 miles west of the Roanoke city limits. The Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve covers 925 acres and has a series of interconnecting trails. On one recent Sunday afternoon Maurice Turner of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club led a group of 17 people on a loop hike. He describes the trail system this way, "It consists of three trails. The Overlook Trail which was a trail built by the midweek group; a bunch of retired people. And then you have the Canyon Trail and we just came up on the Cascade Trail and the Piratebrush Loop which will take us back to the access trail back to the parking lot."