Hike McAfee Knob



8.8 miles

Elevation Gain

1740 ft

Route Type


Added by Christin Healey

McAfee's Knob offers up classic Blue Ridge views with great photography opportunities at the summit. This is also a great intro to hiking on the AT.

From the parking lot on RT311: Cross the road and pick up the white blazed AT headed north. In about .4 miles you will reach an information kiosk where you will continue on the AT. About half way through the hike you will pass Johns Spring Shelter first, then Catawba Mountain Shelter where there is a spring with a white pipe for the constant (and only) water source on the hike. About 1 mile from the summit, you will cross over an old fire road and the AT will bear to the left for the summit -- all of the trail has clear signage and white blazes.

This is a steady climb to the summit, with an elevation gain of 1740ft over the 4.4 miles to the top from the parking lot at RT311, so it's a great workout. The hike is through the woods until you reach the summit, where you will have some of the best views of the Southern Shenandoah Valley as well as the photogenic rock overlook. For your return, simply retrace your steps for a total 8.8 mile hike. OR, if you are photographing at sunset, you may opt to take the fire road back to RT311, shaving 1/2 mile off the trip, and making the return in the dark through the woods much easier (I highly recommend doing this or camping if you want a sunset or sunrise summit!).

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Known for

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking



Leave a Review

about 1 month ago

Great photo op!

This is a classic hike in this area, and it’s right on the AT. Highly recommend. Took us about 3 hours of hiking time out and back, plus time at the top to take a break and enjoy the view. Very popular. The trail is in amazing shape. Arrived around 8:45 am on a Saturday morning and the parking lot was already full, so plan accordingly. You can park along the shoulder of a back road about 50 yards down from the lot.


10 months ago

The perfect Virginia hike

McAfee Knob is the perfect hike to see all that the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer. Plentiful camping makes for a great backpacking trip.

Easy classic!

Absolute hit and a favorite among family and friends. The views are incredible and (although everyone takes the same photo) the photo opportunities are prime. I've even seen a couple proposals up here!

almost 2 years ago

Best hike

Favorite hike in the Lynchburg area. It is awesome for sunrise hikes

about 3 years ago

Not as difficult as people say!

Don't let the 8.8 miles keep you away from this hike - it's really not as bad as it seems! The first three miles are a breeze. The last 1.2 miles are a little harder but nothing extremely challenging. Very photogenic area, good hammocking spots at the top as well. Highly recommend going sunrise or early. This is one of the most popular hikes in the state so it gets busy really fast. PARKING - is another reason to get there early. THE LOT HAS LIMITED SPACE AND FILLS QUICKLY.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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