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Virginia Hiking Trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway

 Downloadable Hiking Maps are available HERE and HERE

Milepost

 Milepost numbers increase as you go South on the Parkway.

Mileage*

Difficulty

5.9

Mountain Farm Trail (self-guiding, from Humpback Visitor Center to pioneer farmstead)  

0.25

Easy 

6

Appalachian Trail (Humpback Gap parking area to Humpback Mtn., elev. - 3650 feet) 

2

Strenuous 

8.4

Catoctin Loop Trail (leg stretcher)  

0.3

Moderate

8.8

Greenstone Trail (self-guiding; Greenstone geology formation; oak hickory forest)  

0.2

Moderate

17.6

the Priest (view)

0.1

Easy

18.5

White Rock Falls Trail Connection

2.9

Moderate

20

White Rock Falls Trail (follows stream to small falls)

0.9

Moderate

26.3

Big Spy Mountain (view into Shenandoah Valley; good for sky watching)

0.1

 Moderate

34.4

Yankee Horse (to logging RR exhibit & small waterfall)

0.2

Moderate

38.8

Boston Knob (leg stretcher)

0.1

Easy

47.5

Indian Gap (to Indian Rocks; good seasonal rhododendron display)

0.3

Moderate

55.2

White Oak Flats (leg stretcher)

0.1

Easy

60.8

Otter Creek Trail (begin at Otter Creek Campground)  

3.5

Moderate

63.1

Otter Lake Trail (around Otter Lake)  

0.8

Moderate

63.6

James River Trail (Self-guiding to canal locks) 

0.2

Easy

63.6

Trail of Trees Trail (self-guiding to James River Overlook)  

0.5

Moderate

74.7

Thunder Ridge Trail (leg stretcher loop to view of Arnold Valley)

0.1

Easy

78.4

Apple Orchard Falls Trail (Sunset Field Overlook to view of Apple Orchard Falls; National Recreation Trail)

1.2

 Strenuous

79.7

Onion Mountain Loop Trail (leg stretcher through Appalachian deciduous forest with rhododendron display)

0.1

 Easy

83.1

Fallingwater Cascades Trail National Recreation Trail; loop to view of cascades) 

1.6

 Moderate

83.5

Flat Top Trail (leads to highest of three prominent peaks in area)  

4.4

Moderate

 

• Cross Rock Trail (spur off Flat Top Trail; unique geological features)  

0.1

Moderate

85.7

Abbott Lake Trail (loop around Abbott Lake)  

1

Easy

85.9

Elk Run Trail (self-guiding loop nature trail from Visitor Center)  

0.8

Easy

85.9

Johnson Farm Loop Trail (loop to restored mountain farm)  

2.1

Moderate

85.9

Harkening Hill Trail (elevation -3300 feet; begin at Peaks Visitor Center)  

3.3

 Moderate

 

• Balance Rock (spur trail off Harkening Hill Trail; unique geological formations)  

0.1

 Moderate

86

Sharp Top Trail (from camp store to summit of Sharp Top Mtn.; elevation - 3875 feet; 360 degree panoramic view)  

1.5

Strenuous

91

Appalachian Trail (VA 695 to Sharp Top Mtn. Overlook)

1.9

Moderate

92.5

Appalachian Trail (Sharp Top Mtn. Overlook to Harvey's Knob Overlook)

2.9

Moderate

95.4

Appalachian Trail (Harvey's Knob Overlook to Motvale Overlook)

0.6

Moderate

95.9

Appalachian Trail (Montvale Overlook to Taylor's Mountain Overlook)

1

Moderate

96

Spec Mine Trail (USFS Trail begins near Montvale Overlook, to State Rt. 645 in Botetourt County)

2.8

Strenuous 

97

Appalachian Trail (Taylor's Mtn. Overlook to Blackhorse Gap)

0.8

Moderate

110.6

Stewarts Knob Trail (view) 

0.05

Easy

114.9

Roanoke River Trail (self-guiding river loop)  

0.35

Easy

120.4

Roanoke Mountain Summit Trail (view)  

0.11

Moderate

120.5

Chestnut Ridge Trail (adjacent to Roanoke Mtn. campground)  

1.75

Moderate

121.4

Roanoke Valley Horse Trail (begins US Hwy 220, parallels Parkway to Milepost 110.6)  

18.5

 Moderate

123.2

Buck Mountain Trail (to summit view)

0.53

Moderate

154.5

Smart View Loop Trail (around picnic area)

2.6

Moderate

167.1

Rock Castle Gorge Trail (loop from campground along ridge over Rocky Knob and into gorge for 7-mile return to campground)  

10.8

Strenuous

167.1

Hardwood Cove Self-Guiding Nature Trail (part of Rock Castle Loop)  

0.8

Moderate

169

Black Ridge Trail (Rocky Knob Visitor Center to Black Ridge to Grassy Knoll and back to Visitor Center)  

3.1

Moderate

169

Rocky Knob Picnic Loop Trail (leg stretcher around picnic area) 

1

Easy

176.2

Mountain Industry Trail (Mabry Mill)

0.5

Easy

179.2

Round Meadow Creek Loop Trail (walk through a stream bottom forest)

0.5

Moderate

*Mileage indicated length of trail one-way unless otherwise noted

Highlights & Happenings

  • Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384
  • Visitors traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway can now make one stop to learn about the entire 469 miles and 73-year history of the Parkway. The Parkway Visitor Center opened in 2008 and unveiled innovative, high-tech interactive exhibits. The LEED-certif
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • Renew your senses amid this landscape of open meadows. Doughton Park is one of the best places along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and grey foxes, and bobcats.  Flowers burst on the scene in late spring and crea
  • 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. Visitors can tour a collection of nineteenth century far
  • 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.
  • Fall Color - Tips for Leaf Season
  • Tips for planning your scenic drive or vacation to see the fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • 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.
  • 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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