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Parkway Ridge Region Daytrip: Humpback Rocks

Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 5.8 – 9.3: Humpback Rocks

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

History of Humpback Rocks

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.

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.

Humpback Rock Features

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.

Hiking

A few of the popular hiking trails at Humpback Rocks: 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.)

More Activities

  • 91-site picnic area at Milepost 8.5 – open seasonally
  • Interpretive programs available seasonally from costumed interpreters
  • Visitor Center with exhibits and a gift shop – open seasonally
  • Humpback Rocks Mountain Farm buildings represent mountain farms of the nineteenth century, open for self-guided tours year round – see area map

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

Contact Humpback Rocks Visitor Center: 540-943-4716