Fairy Stone State Park

June 29, 2009 at 5:30 am 7 comments

For my 34th Birthday last March, Ryan Somma and I took the two dogs to Fairy Stone State Park. We stayed in a cozy lake-side cabin for two nights, attending the planting of a blight resistant American Chestnut tree and managed to squeeze in three separate hikes during our short stay.

The Cabin
The cabins at Fairystone are dog-friendly, are well furnished, have full kitchens and most importantly, include a fireplace. We stayed in Cabin 4, near the lake. Mid March is splendid time to be at Fairy Stone State Park. During the day, it is a comfortable temperature for outings and at night it is cold enough to really appreciate that aforementioned fireplace. Since it was the middle of the week, only a handful of the other cabins were occupied. Ryan and I practically had the whole park to ourselves! Did we pay a premium for that seclusion? No! We got off-season rates!

Fairystone State Park - Reflections in Lake at Dusk
A Deserted Cabin Right on the Lake

Fairystone State Park - View From Cabin at Dawn
Dawn View From Cabin

And FYI- Don’t worry about late check in. We arrived late on a Tuesday night. The park rangers left everything we needed to get situated at the park office.

Hike #1 – Little Mountain Falls Trail
Wednesday March 18th, we woke up at 5:30 AM to squeeze in a hike before the American Chestnut Planting at Philpott Lake. Starting at the Lakeshore Trail, we hiked 0.25 miles on Turkey Ridge to the Orange-Blazed Little Mountain Falls Trail. That made a 3.40 mile loop back to Turkey Ridge and we had another 0.33 miles back to the car. The Fairy Stone State Park Stuart’s Knob and Little Mountain Trail Systems Guide had the Little Mountain Falls Trail classified as “Strenuous”. It wasn’t. We found it to be quite flat and easy.

But beautiful! The trail took us by the Little Mountain Falls. We were accompanied by the morning mist which opened up just as we approached the first of two scenic overlooks.

Fairystone State Park - Little Mountain Falls Trail - Mossy Log and Falls
Little Mountain Falls

Fairystone State Park - Little Mountain Falls Trail - Moss and Sunlight
Sun Peeking Through

Fairystone State Park - Little Mountain Falls Trail - Jimmie on Trail By Falls
Jimmie on a Supposed Strenuous Part

Fairystone State Park - Little Mountain Falls Trail - Henry in Creek and Rhodo
Henry in a Creek

Fairystone State Park - Little Mountain Falls Trail - Trail
Forest with Morning Mist

Birthday Nap!
After our Little Mountain Falls hike, we showered and headed out to the American Chestnut Planting at Philpott Lake. When we returned, I partook in another birthday tradition. The birthday nap. It was wonderful.

Fairystone State Park - Henry and Ryan Rest
Yay! Birthday Nap!

Hike #2 – Stuart’s Knob Trail System
After the birthday nap, we headed out again! This time we went across the lake to the Stuart Knob Trail System. This was more like hiking! The hills were steeper than the “strenuous” trail and our heart rated definitely increased.

There are a number of trails to choose from. We hiked the Iron Mine Trail to check out the historic mining sites. Then we took the Upper Stuart’s Knob and Lower Stuart’s Knob Trails to the top to take in a view of Bull Mountain. Bull Mountain was beautiful– but more stunning was the view of Fairystone Lake on the way up.

Stuarts Knob -  Beach View
View of the Fairy Stone Lake Beach

Stuarts Knob - Henry and Jimmie Explore Old Iron Mine Site
Henry and Jimmie Explore Old Iron Mine Site

Stuarts Knob -  Bull Mountain Far
View of Bull Mountain

Hike #3 – Fairy Stone Wildlife Management Farm
At the top of Stuart’s Knob, we read a sign advertising more hiking at the Fairy Stone Wildlife Management Farm. We still had some daylight left, so we stopped and walked on the white and red nature trails. It’s quite beautiful and very diverse! It took us through marshlands full of water fowl and spring peepers and then we traveled through a forest where kind souls had labeled the different species of tree (I got to learn Autumn Olive and Sourwood!). Finally as darkness set in (a little too quickly for my comfort), we ran across a surprise field of daffodils.

Fairystone Wildlife Management Farm - Reflections in Marsh
Marsh at Fairystone Wildlife Management Farm

Fairystone Wildlife Management Farm - Sycamore Balls
Sycamore Silhouette

Fairystone Wildlife Management Farm - Sourwood
Vicky Meet Sourwood. Sourwood Meet Vicky

Fairystone Wildlife Management Farm - Daffodils and Blurry Dogs
Surprise Daffodils

Fauna
Although our cabin log had numerous reports of a three-legged squirrel, we did not get to see that little guy. But we did get to see a Red Eft on the Little Mountain Falls Trail. We got to see both bats and a heron at dusk. Finally, we were serenaded quite loudly by Spring Peepers.

Fairystone State Park - Little Mountain Falls Trail - Red Eft 1
Red Eft

Oddities
The park is known for its “fairystones”, its cross shaped rocks. Supposedly they were created when local fairies heard about Jesus’ death. All the fairies were so sad, they started to cry and all their tears formed little cross rocks. Ryan and I were both under the impression that all the stones had already been scavenged away by tourists, so we didn’t bother to go “Fairystone Hunting”. It wasn’t until we read the cabin log that we discovered we were the only morons who did not find a fairystone. Luckily all the local stores just so happen to sell fairystones for the unlucky, the lazy, or in our case, the oblivious.


Fairystones (Photo by pcopros)

Ryan and I may not have found any fairystones, but we did spot what I contend is a more unique oddity. We found this tree at the Fairystone Wildlife Management Farm. There are thousands and thousands of Fairystones in the area, but I venture to bet there are very few trees like this period.

Fairystone Wildlife Management Farm - Ladder Tree Both Sides
A Ladder Tree

Fairystone, Destination For Romance
With the beautiful scenery, all the available activities and that captivating fireplace, I would definitely give Fairy Stone State Park a high recommendation, particularly to couples looking for a getaway. If you doubt how romantic the park could be, just flip through one of the cabin logs. In our cabin alone, there were a number of couples who came to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, two sets of first time parents-to-be out for one last offspring-free adventure and there were at least three couples who got engaged during their stay!

Hubba hubba.

Fairystone State Park

Trail Map

Directions from Roanoke, Virginia

Take Route 581 to Route 220 South

Take Route 57 West

Turn on Fairystone Lake Drive (Route 346 North)

Entry filed under: Birthday, Fairy Stone State Park, Hiking. Tags: .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. anne  |  June 29, 2009 at 5:55 am

    Looks like fun. The closest fairy rock looks like the ribbons we are wearing. Next time you will know to look for fairy rocks.

    Reply
  • 2. scienceguy288  |  June 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Very interesting area. I have never heard of these fairy rocks. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  • 3. Stephanie  |  July 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for the lovely description. We have rented a cabin for our extended family next week and your blog has more of the kind of info that I was looking for than anything else I have come across. Beautiful pictures!

    Reply
  • 4. TGAW  |  July 6, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    @Stephanie – Glad it was helpful. Hope you have a great trip next week. If you take any pictures, I would love to see them!

    Reply
  • 5. Hope  |  March 17, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    My boyfriend and I are actually going this weekend for two nights…about the same time of year you guys went last year. Two questions….bring any bedding? What about bringing firewood?
    I’m psyched!

    Reply
  • 6. Vicky  |  March 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    @Hope– Oh you are going to have a great time! Our cabin had linens and we bought firewood at the visitor station at the entrance!!!!

    Reply
  • […] ) I would have great days and I would cherish my annual birthday hike, but then in 2009, suddenly I had a boyfriend to hike with me and that was quite nice. Birthday Hike 2010, that boyfriend and I practiced our first wedding dance […]

    Reply

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