• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    800 Feet

Easy Parking
Forest
Romantic
Scenic

Humpback Rocks is one of the most popular hikes in the area with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park.

This little hike is one of the most popular in the area, and for good reason! It's a short and steep one mile to the top, but the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park to the east, are some of the best around. It's somewhat of a tradition for students from the University of Virginia to hike up here for sunrise, but to live like a local, take a picnic and a beer from one of the many local breweries nearby and watch the sunset over the mountains. It isn't a top pick for solitude on the weekends, but on a weeknight you may find you are the only one around. You can also camp right below the summit for easy access to sunrise and sunset. Note: The Blue Ridge Parkway closes in the winter, but you can park your car where the road closes and walk to the summit, making the hike a more fun and challenging 11 miles roundtrip.

Start at the Humpback Rocks parking area right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The easiest way to get to this spot from Charlottesville is to take 64W and get off at exit 99 following the signs to the Parkway. From the beginning of the parkway the trailhead is another 5 miles. The trail is well marked, and it's one very steep mile to the summit. Even though it's short, it takes most people about 45 minutes to get to the top. Once you have taken in the views, you can go easy on your knees and take the longer way down, which also gives you great views to the east at times. This trail is well marked and an easy day trip from Charlottesville and Waynesboro. It is also in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but you do not need to enter Shenandoah National Park to get there.

Pack List

  • Water 
  • Hiking shoes 
  • Backpack 
  • Snack
  • Camera
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Reviews

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Very steep hike but well worth it. Fun trail on your way up. If you want to opt out of the steep hike you can choose to take an easier trail but it's a little more than double the time. This is a very popular hike so leave early to avoid it being crowded!

20 days ago
20 days ago

Like everyone else has stated, it is an uphill hike. It's not long, though. I went early in the morning and it was nice, but as the day went on, it started to get fairly crowded. This hike reminds me a lot of one of the hikes at home in Georgia - Pine Mountain Trails.

4 months ago
4 months ago

This is a perfect place for a First hike. It gets crowded so make sure you arrive early. If the parking lot by the trail fills up you can park just down the road at the guest center and hike from there. It only adds a couple extra minutes to the hike.

6 months ago
6 months ago

Did the hike to Humpback Rocks with my girlfriend and chocolate lab then looped onto the AT back to the parking area. When we first arrived the parking was full but we managed a spot in the grass. It took us about 3 hours to make the leisure loop. The rocks become very slick if it is damp or has rained recently. Hike gets heavy traffic as the day goes on. Great hike to do before heading to the nearby breweries!

12 months ago
12 months ago

It really is a straight shot uphill but so worth the hike. There are benches along the side of the trail for you to pause and catch your breath if you need. At the summit you'll be welcomed by expansive views of the Shenandoah Valley and the mountains to the north. It's a great sunset and sunrise spot as well. Be mindful that this hike is easily accessible so it is very crowded on weekends and when the weather gets nicer!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Yes it's steep, but it's also short. My six year old did it with no problem. Super cool summit with awesome sunset views. Depending on how late you stay, it can get very dark in the way down as it's wooded the whole way, so be sure to bring a headlamp. Great little hike!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

The hike is fairly well-known and can get quite crowded, but the views are simply stunning! The trail is very steep the whole way up to the summit, but the trail is short enough that you'll be at the summit before you get too tired. This is the perfect spot to view a sunset from.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

You earn the view by making it up the trail, especially when the trail is covered in ice and your dog is not excited about all of the other dogs hiking! Beautiful views, and you can also add on the 3.5mi portion of the AT for a nice loop trail. Very busy on a nice day, but in the moment, you feel all alone up there!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

This hike can be done in more than one way. From the lot there is a route that will take approx 1 mile but is up hill the whole time. There is another route that will take approx 4.5 miles and does end at the Humpback overlook. Then one only has to take the direct route back to the lot and it is all down hill.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Hiked up to the summit of Humpback today just as the sun was setting over the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. It was totally worth my second attempt of the day after turning around earlier while looking for the near-by Ravens Roost overlook. Glad I did. The hike from the parking lot was only 0.8 miles but it was a little tougher than I was expecting. It didn't stop me and shouldn't scare you, either. Great scenery from the rocks. Add it to your list and enjoy.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Christin Healey Explorer

Explorer, adventure seeker, lover of life and all things creative.

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