Hike to Little and Big Rocky Row

James River Foot Bridge - Search Nearby - Added by Elyse Clark

This hike along the Appalachian Trail leads to two beautiful rocky outcrops with stunning views of the James River. 

Starting at the James River Footbridge, which is the longest foot traffic only bridge on the entire Appalachian Trail. Head north on the Appalachian Trail.  You will quickly cross over Rt. 501. 

After a mile of hiking through the woods skirting the Rocky Row Run stream, you will cross over Forest Road 812. There is an intersection with the spur trail to John's Hollow Shelter 1.8 miles into the hike. 

After 2.9 miles you will start to switchback up the mountain with 21 switchbacks in a row. This part is quite difficult, but after 1.1 miles of these switchbacks you will emerge onto the rocky outcrops of Little Rocky Row. This is a good place to stop for lunch. 

The best views of the James River are from this viewpoint. Therefore, if you want to turn your hike into an ~8.0 mile hike you can turn around at this point. 

To continue onto Big Rocky Row, keep heading north on the Appalachian Trail for another 1.4 miles. Keep in mind that you will gain over 550 feet in elevation on this portion of the trail. Big Rocky Row has similar views to Little Rocky Row, but is worth the effort if you have time. 

Once finished exploring Big Rocky Row, head back south on the Appalachian Trail for 5.4 miles to return to your car. 

Distance

10.8 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

2700 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Nearby Lodging

Natural Bridge / Lexington KOA

Natural Bridge, Virginia

Charlottesville KOA

Charlottesville, Virginia

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. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Gorgeous Hike

I don't want to say this is a hidden gem because it's actually on the well-travel Appalachian Trail, but I am so surprised more people don't do this hike regularly. The hike along the river at the beginning was so peaceful and easy, if nothing else you could go and swim! The uphill switchbacks (20+ switchbacks to be precise) were hard but the view at the top is worth it. Seeing the James River wind through the Blue Ridge Mountains is a gorgeous sight. Highly recommend this hike!

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