We actually camped at Smith Mountain Lake for this trip, and after a chilly low 50s morning with higher winds, we got up at 5:30am and started the hike. While it was dark, we sneaked out of the camp to try not to wake up anyone. It had a feel of some sort of end-times apocalypse time, which was an added bonus. 🙂
Park map here.
The early part of the trail (off of Beechwood Trail near the camp), was done in complete darkness. Thankfully we had lights and the blazes on the trees were reflective. There were several creeks that we passed, going up and down hills. This first part was very strenuous and be careful of your ankles here. This was probably the hardest trail for us to do so far in the entire park.
Once we got to the cove sections, the sun was rising and the animals started to come out. We found a bench and managed to watch a deer forage around for quiet some time.
We followed through to the end of Chestnut Ridge Hill and then walked back to the campground via the road and Turkey Foot Trail. Overall, it was 5.6 miles of hiking around and we were done before noon. Man, we had the best food afterwards. 🙂