Hike to Little and Big Rocky Row

James River Foot Bridge

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. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 10.8 Miles
Elevation Gain 2700 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

Leave a Review

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!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Swim at Arnold Valley Pool

466 Saves

Hike Devil's Marbleyard

654 Saves

Hike Apple Orchard Mountain

210 Saves