5 Reasons Why McAfee Knob Should Be Your First Hike In The Blue Ridge Mountains

It should be your first and won't be your last.

By: Morgan Rogers
April 15, 2016

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While McAfee’s Knob is far from my first hike in the Blue Ridge, I did have the pleasure of hiking it for the first time with a friend visiting from southern Florida. I had no idea how to prepare her beyond packing plenty of water, putting her into the most supported pair of tennis shoes she owned, and hoping for the best. The hike was around 8 miles round trip, features moderate, steady elevation and a well maintained trail. I immediately fell in love with this trail. After years of hiking in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, I have found my favorite.

1. Steady and Moderate Elevation

For a first time hiker, or even an experienced hiker, the elevation gain never drastically increases for extended periods of time throughout the trail. For those who have hiked before, this should be pretty relaxing. For those who have never hiked in their lives, like my SoFlo friend, this can prove to be a relatively challenging, but doable, hike.

Hike McAfee Knob | Photo: Christin Healey

2. A Well Maintained Trail

Unlike some other trails in the region, due to the high traffic on the trail up to McAfee Knob was clear of debris and unnecessary obstacles. Often times on other, less popular trails, I have had to hop over the occasional fallen tree or ditch, but this trail was well kept and clear the whole way.

3. Amazing Views

If your unwitting friend begins to become discouraged a couple miles in, have no fear, your next water break could provide unparalleled views of the surrounding ridge lines and valleys. Nothing keeps the exhausted, beginner hiker motivated like the promise of an even better view at the top.

Hike McAfee Knob | Photo: Christin Healey

4. Photo Opportunities

On a lot of hikes, often the greatest reward after completion is the realization that you actually made it. Reflecting back and saying you did it. And while yes, this is an amazing hike that builds confidence to go on to even more difficult ones in the area, one of the biggest pay offs is that amazing view at the top! What better way to remember the Blue Ridge than getting a kick ass picture on the Knob overlooking the ridge lines that seem to stretch on forever.

5. A Multitude of Hikes Nearby

If you’re anything like me, the end is only the beginning. Nothing convinced the Blue Ridge newcomer to do more hikes in the area like the views we had at the top. While the parkway involves awesome overlooks you can drive up to, nothing compares to the views you have to work for. Looking out from the top you can see Tinker Cliffs and the Appalachian Trail stretching out enticingly in front of you.

Hike McAfee Knob | Photo: Christin Healey

Cover photo: Christin Healey

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.