Written By: Jacen Hamilton
As cooler weather moves through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, outdoor adventurers congregate to enjoy a myriad of outdoor recreation opportunities within a stone’s throw of Liberty University. It is no secret that Liberty students enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, and many other outdoor activities as leaves begin to detach from tree branches throughout the mountains. Likewise, Liberty students thrive (and often times, survive) on an assortment of coffee products throughout the greater Lynchburg area.
What do coffee and hiking have to do with one another? I think that these two experiences, though very different, often prove to be mellow, smooth and warming. They also both work together to bring community and encourage relationships. I have shared memorable experiences and conversations over a cup of coffee and on trails.
So, for the first time, I have paired my experiences hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains with my Lynchburg coffee preferences to produce the official “Coffee Hikes” lineup.
Best Overall: Third Wave Coffee / Spy Rock
Coming in at the top spot, Third Wave Coffee located in Forest, VA boasts unbelievably rich coffee alongside a welcoming atmosphere. Third Wave’s top-notch customer service paired with an intense care for the art of coffee making brands this shop as the best coffee in Lynchburg. A large inventory of Third Wave’s premium coffee is ethically sourced from high altitude locations throughout the world. Likewise, Spy Rock provides hikers a 3,980ft elevation pinnacle in addition to a full 360° panoramic view at the top. The 3-mile hike to the top of Spy Rock is a great workout and provides the hiker a sense of accomplishment when reaching the top. In my book, Third Wave and Spy Rock take the best overall spots in the “Coffee Hikes” lineup.
Best on-the-go: Joe Beans / Cole-Cold Mountain
If you need great coffee on the go, Joe Beans is your spot. Joe Beans has a variety of pop-up locations throughout Lynchburg (Wards Road & Timberlake are the two locations I frequent the most). Joe Beans thrives on quality coffee (I also enjoy their muffins) at an affordable price. Additionally, Joe Beans relies heavily on convenience to attract regular customers. Similarly, Cole Mountain has become an intensely popular hike within the past four years, largely in part to its convenient, yet quality atmosphere. Cole Mountain is roughly a one hour drive from Liberty, leading many students to explore the Cole Mountain area on a regular basis.
Over-Hyped: Bean Tree Café / Sharp Top
Bean Tree is extremely well known for their delicious lavender lemonade, a crowd favorite. However, it seems that Bean Tree has had a hard time standing out from other local coffee shops like Dublin 3 Coffeehouse or The Muse Coffee Company in the minds of many Lynchburg residents. Similarly, Sharp Top Mountain is an extremely popular destination for many in the Lynchburg area. Sharp Top has a beautiful view, but high foot traffic often deters many hikers from visiting Sharp Top on a regular basis. The website www.notsharptop.com provides a variety of great hikes in the area… minus Sharp Top.
Under-Hyped: Biscuitville / Devil’s Marble Yard
9/10 people I meet on a regular basis in the Lynchburg area have never tried Biscuitville coffee. Many have never even heard of Biscuitville. If I am in the mood for a fantastic bacon, egg & cheese biscuit and quality cup of dark coffee, Biscuitville is my choice. Do yourself a favor and grab some Biscuitville on your way over to Devil’s Marble Yard. Devil’s Marble Yard is one of the most unique hikes in the area due to the massive amount of boulders along the 1.5 mile hike. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy Devil’s Marble Yard for the mixture of scaling large rocks and enjoying a satisfying view from the top of the rock pile.
Newbies: Golf Park Coffee Co. / Moormans River
Golf Park Coffee Co. is no stranger to Lynchburg, frequenting Liberty University events like Outdoor Rec Fest and Block Party. However, Golf Park just opened their first in-store location off Bedford Avenue. This makes Golf Park the “newbie” when it comes to new coffee shops in the Lynchburg area. Golf Park serves their signature coffee combined with a reputation for unbeatable customer service (check out their Instagram for more info). Similarly, Moormans River hike is one of the prettiest hikes within a two hour drive of the Lynchburg area. Though Moormans River is not necessarily a new hike, it is a hidden gem as many Liberty students are unaware of the hike. Simply park at the Sugar Hollow Dam and Reservoir to begin the hike alongside Moormans River.
As the fall semester continues, I encourage you to make an intentional effort to go on at least one hike this year! Grab some friends, enjoy a cup of coffee together, and get outside. As always, please practice Leave No Trace Principles as you enjoy the outdoors this semester! For any questions about hikes in the Lynchburg area, please see the Outdoor Recreation DIY page or call us at Hydaway during operating hours.