Hike Grassy Hill in Rocky Mount

If you like post-hike options – food, beer, music, etc. – then you’ll want to check out Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve in Rocky Mount, VA.

This lesser-known hike offers lots of options! Whether you’re looking for something short and quick or want to get more of those steps in, Grassy Hill checks the boxes.

Wooded area with mossy stones and leaf-covered ground.

Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve courtesy of Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

About Grassy Hill

The Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve is a 1,295-acres site owned and managed by Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR). The trails are characterized by rocky slopes, a variety of hardwood species, and open grassy spaces (hence the name). There are over six miles of trails total in the preserve, and you can choose your own out-and-back adventure depending on the distance you want to hike. This area is reserved solely for hiking, nature study, and photography; horseback riding, off-road vehicles, and bikes are prohibited. You can, however, bring your pooch as long as you keep them on a leash and clean up after them.

Please adhere to all Leave No Trace Principles and remember to pack out your trash and leave all plants, animals, and minerals undisturbed. Note that from time to time part or all of the preserve may be periodically closed for resource protection, deer management or prescribed burning activities. Please call before making travel plans.

Hiking Distances

Option 1: You can tackle all 6.6 miles by following all of the trails (Slope, East Loop, Connector, and West Loop).  You can find a map at this website).Grassy Hill Trail Map

Option 2: You can hit the Slope Trail and the East Loop Trail only for 4.2 miles.

Option 3: You can tackle just the Slope Trail for 3 miles.


Visitors can park in the Franklin County YMCA parking lot located on Technology Drive. You’ll cross the street to the Slope Trail trailhead and signage should lead you on your way!

And while you’re in Franklin County

Speaking of options, there’s a lot to do when you’re in Franklin County! Our go-to après adventure spot in Franklin County is Rocky Mount Burger Co. We highly recommend the hot chili pepper burger, and if you’re feeling a beer, they have a good selection on tap. Other great spots are Twin Creeks Distillery for cocktails with locally made moonshine, Olde Town Social House for artistically curated wines, and The Alley Cat and/or The Harvester for live music.

Looking for more Franklin County hot spots? Waid Park is a local gem with more trails to explore (biking and hiking) and a killer disc golf course.

Drone image of the entrance sign to Waid Park Disc Golf Course

Waid Park Disc Golf

And if you’re a real go-getter, you can even plan all of these activities around a show at The Harvester Performance Center, an incredible music venue that consistently lands nationally-touring acts. I’ve never seen a bad show there.

So hit up Grassy Hill, grab a bite, maybe play a round of disc golf, and let me know what you think! And sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter for more outside news and tips on enjoying all the region has to offer. LOTS of options.