Location: Near Roanoke, Va. Details: Open year-round. Free. Length: 8.3 miles round-trip. Local color: This moderately difficult section of the Appalachian Trail culminates in a spectacular panoramic view of the Catawba Valley, Roanoke Valley and the Tinker Mountains. Consider this measure of its beauty: the Appalachian Trail measures 2,180 miles and goes through 14 states, and this is one of its most-photographed spots. It was even selected as the subject for this year's Appalachian Trail's 75th anniversary poster.