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Humpback Rocks, MP 5.8

At the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is perhaps the best representation of the varied combination of natural and cultural resources anywhere along the Parkway corridor.

History

The prominent rock outcrop was a landmark guiding wagon trains over the Howardsville Turnpike in the 1840s. A portion of the historic trace still exists. This was a major route across the narrow Blue Ridge until railroads came through the mountain gaps. The view from “the rocks” is spectacular any time of the year.

Located at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is an area rich in history, scenic beauty, and abundant hiking trails. Early European settlers forged a living from the native materials that flourished in the Appalachian Mountains. Hickory, chestnut, and oak trees provided nuts for food, logs for building, and tannin for curing hides, while rocks were put to use as foundations and chimneys for the houses, and in stone fences to control wandering livestock. Many self-sufficient farms sprang up in the Humpback Mountain area.

Outdoor Farm Museum

Adjacent to Humpback Rocks Visitor Center, an outdoor farm museum is surrounded by nearly 3,000 acres of predominantly forested lands. Early Parkway designers collected buildings from nearby and assembled them here in an arrangement that allows for an easy stroll along the pathway.

The farm museum consists of a single-room log cabin and a series of outbuildings that represent elements of regional architecture of the late nineteenth century. Costumed interpreters provide demonstrations, including weaving, basket making and gardening. Interpretation focuses on and emphasizes the generalized life styles of subsistence farmers.

Activities

  • Hiking trails:  Mountain Farm Trail (easy .25 mi.), a section of the Appalachian Trail (strenuous 2 mi.), Catoctin Loop Trail (moderate .3 mi.), Greenstone Trail (moderate .2 mi.)
  • 91-site picnic area at Milepost 8.5 - open seasonally
  • Interpretive programs available seasonally from costumed interpreters - check NPS calendar
  • Visitor Center here features exhibits and a gift shop - open seasonally
  • Humpback Rocks Mountain Farm buildings representing mountain farms of the nineteenth century, open for self-guided tour year round - see area map

Humpback Rocks Visitor Center phone: (540) 943-4716

Handicap Accessibility

- visitor center is wheelchair accessible 

- information is wheelchair accessible 

- restrooms are wheelchair accessible 

- exhibits are wheelchair accessible 

- interpretive programs are accessible with assistance 

- picnic area (Milepost 8.5) is NOT handicap accessible

Highlights & Happenings

  • Peaks of Otter, MP 86
  • With stunning views, natural beauty, and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest, it’s no wonder the Peaks of Otter area has attracted people to the region for more than 8,000 years.
  • James River & Otter Creek, MP 60-63.8
  • At the lowest elevation along the Parkway, visitors can hike, camp, fish, have a picnic, and see restored Battery Creek Lock from the Kanawha Canal.
  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, camping and the Mount Pisgah Inn make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain and thousands of surrounding acres was originally purchased by indust
  • Blue Ridge Music Center
  • The Blue Ridge Music Center is a state-of-the-art performing arts facility built to preserve and promote the historic music of Virginia and the Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge region has produced more old-time and bluegrass musicians per capita than any o
  • Rocky Knob & Mabry Mill, MP 169, 176.2
  • These Parkway treasures offer many opportunities for visitors including hiking, camping, picnicking, and one of the most-photographed structures along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Waterrock Knob, MP 451.2
  • An ideal spot for watching sunrise and sunsets across the rugged mountains, Waterrock Knob Visitor Center sits at almost 6,000 feet elevation. Exhibits, book sales, and a trail leading to the summit of Waterrock Knob await visitors. The last hik
  • Folk Art Center, Milepost 382
  • Open year round, the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians.
  • Parkway Road Conditions
  • An open Parkway is a safe Parkway. Be sure to check road conditions online or by phone before you travel and during your visit.
  • Camping
  • Camping is one way visitors traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway can spend the night under the stars in one of America’s most beautiful natural settings.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner
  • The 67th edition of the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner is your ultimate source for planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • Blooms & Wildlife Watching
  • Don't forget your cameras and binoculars when visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway! Learn when and where to see blooms along your journey.
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