Hike to Tinker Cliffs

Virginia Tinker Cliff Parking lot

Added by Hailey Carter

Enjoy stunning views of the Virginia Mountains. Tinker Cliff is a less-traveled hike with many wild flowers and picture opportunities for a photographer.

Looking for a day trip? Look no further than Tinker Cliffs, tucked away in Virginia. This trail provides a workout that is loaded with flowers, bridges, rocks, and views that will leave you inspired to explore more!

There are no restrooms located at the parking lot or along the trail. Make sure you stop at the gas station as you turn onto Route 311, this will be your last public restroom. The trail from the parking lot to the Appalachian Trail is the yellow blazed Andy Layne Trail. This trail will last for 3 miles until it connects to the Appalachian Trail. Make sure you stay on the yellow blazed Andy Layne Trail for the entire trek. This particular trail does go through private property, including some fenced in fields (which have wooden swing gates and passages for hikers to pass through.)

Pace yourself, this hike is long and strenuous. There are many switchbacks along this trail and there are a few very steep hills. Soak in the beauty of the wildflowers and keep your eyes peeled for deer and bear. You will gain a mere 900+ feet before you reach the Appalachian Trail.

Once you find yourself coming upon the white blazed Appalachian Trail, turn right. Another .9 and you will be looking down into Catawba Valley from Tinker Cliffs! Just retrace your steps back to the parking lot to end your day on the mountain. Make sure you allow plenty of time to hike this trail. 6 hours will give you enough time to pace yourself, take pictures, and eat lunch at the Cliffs!

Directions: Take Virginia 311 from I-81 at Salem, go 8 miles west to Catawba, turn right on 779 at Catawba, then travel 8.3 miles to trailhead, located on the right just past a bridge and turn in the road.

Pack List

  • Trail shoes
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • First Aid Kit
  • Jacket (can be windy and chilly up top)
  • Walking sticks or grab one of the wooden sticks left by previous hikers at the parking lot kiosk, it will become extremely helpful later in the hike
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Fitness, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1900 Feet



Easy Parking

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4 months ago


It was an okay hike, pretty difficult, especially in one specific area. The view was less than expected. The giant factory kind of ruined it but it's a beautiful area!

4 months ago

6 months ago

Tougher But Better

Definitely a harder hike than Macafee's knob, but much more rewarding. The views are incredible. Absolutely recommended, the best lookout spot hike in the area. Make sure to leave early so that you have plenty of daylight on the way down. The path gets steep and rocky.

6 months ago

6 months ago

Tough but gorgeous!

Tinker Cliffs is one of the more difficult hikes in the region. The trail is very steep in quite a few places and the elevation gain is pretty consistent. That being said, the views are second to none in the area. If you are looking for a trail more challenging than McAfee's or Dragon's Tooth but still with breathtaking views, you have found your hike.

6 months ago

11 months ago

Great hike!

This is definitely a great hike, but difficult! The views are equal to, if not better than, McAfee Knob (in my opinion), with far less people on the trail. There are many outcrops with views along Tinker Mountain, you can spread out and not have to worry about being in anybody's way or taking up too much space. All in all its a must-do hike, just be prepared for the steep elevation gain.

11 months ago

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