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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

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  • Rocky Knob & Mabry Mill, MP 169, 176.2
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  • 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.
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  • Tips for planning your scenic drive or vacation to see the fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Hiking Trails
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  • Blooms & Wildlife Watching
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  • 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.
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