“Enjoy this short route leading to a unique view into Virginia's ancient past.”
— Roanoke Outside
Short but sweet, this is a perfect route for the geologist in your family! A trip to Devil's Marbleyard is a fun and interesting trip, though it can be quite strenuous.
This route contains a steep incline for most of the trip, but it's well worth the time and effort spent getting to the Devil's Marbleyard. The trail is not marked well, but you can follow the blue blazes until the end of the Belfast Trail
. The route features a gentle climb at first, but soon enough the angle steepens. You'll find yourself passing the Devil's Marbleyard just over 1.25 miles into the run. Take your time exploring the area! Tumbled down chunks of marble litter the landscape here.
Where did this all come from, you ask? The answer is found in geology. The Antietam Quartzite found at Devil's Marbleyard (Arnold's Valley) is the result of a rise in sea level relative to the land (transgression), over 500 millions years ago, followed by a time were the area was dominated by a pure quartz beach. The blocks and boulders at the Marbleyard have tube-like structures running parallel to one another. Likely, these are the fossilized remains of cavities where a worm-like creature lived.
If you're up for more, continue to follow the Belfast Trail
as it continues heading northeast and up for another mile.