Hike McAfee Knob

8.8 Miles Round Trip - 1740 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

McAfee's Knob Trailhead - Search Nearby - 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!).


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking


8.8 Miles
1740 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

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Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Photo Opp!

This is the most photographed spot on the A.T. And it's no wonder why. Yes, it's a long hike but not overly strenuous, and oh so worth it once you get to the top!

Matt Huber

over 3 years ago

Excellent Views, Lots Of People

Nice little hike, 8 miles round trip. Exactly as described. Expect to pass 5-10 groups on the trail on the weekends with 10 more groups hanging out up top. People are considerate with regards to moving out of people's picture shots.

Michael Basham

over 3 years ago

Must Hike In Va

If you're a local or just passing through, McAfee Knob is one the best best and top rated hikes in Va. Which, as other reviewers have said leads to a crowded overlook. That being said, everyone has always been nice and respectful of pictures opportunities and space. It's a long hike. I wouldn't call it a strenuous hike, but the distance alone makes it feel like one. An absolute must hike destination.