Monday, May 7, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway, VA - Humpback Rocks and Humpback Mountain

Humpback Rocks - Blue Ridge Parkway

My GPS had a very hard time with this.  If you see signs for the Blue Ridge Parkway but your GPS tells you to go a different way, ignore your GPS and follow the signs to the Blue Ridge Parkway, mile marker 6.  My GPS tried to take me around the back way to the Old Howardsville Turnpike which is not drivable and becomes part of the Appalachian Trail at the other end - there is no way to get to the parking lot that way even if you could drive on it.
GPS Coordinates 37.968531, -78.896580

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Humpback Rocks parking lot - pretty busy even on a drizzly, foggy Monday,

Humpback Rocks Trails - National Park Service
The map does not show the summit of Humpback Mountain.  It would be towards the bottom on the Appalachian Trail, near where the map says 2.9 to the right of the 8 mile marker.

HIKE DISTANCE:  6.15 miles

Humpback Rocks -
Humpback Mountain -

APPALACHIAN TRAIL SECTION HIKING: - AT section miles 838.3 to 842.1

Start on the blue-blazed trail to the right of the kiosk.
Benches for resting along the steep incline.
Steps start out like this...
... then switchback up the rest of the way on rocks.
At the intersection, turn left to Humpback Rocks.  After returning from the Rocks, head in the direction of the Humpback Picnic Area which leads to the Appalachian Trail in a short distance.
On this particular day the mountain was in a cloud so not much in the way of views.
Just a little bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway down below.
The cloud whited out just about everything.
Foggy and drizzly on the Appalachian Trail.
Met Appalachian Trail thru-hiker "The Dude" from Florida on the trail.
No views from the summit of Humpback Mountain on this particular day either.
But lots of gorgeous spring flowers along the way.
The return route on the Appalachian Trail northbound is smooth and descends gently.
After the hike it is worth heading over to the Visitor Center for a short stroll through a restored historic farm.
Continuing on our trip south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we got below the clouds and found some sunshine and views.
View along the Blue Ridge Parkway from under the clouds.

[0.00]    Parking at Blue Ridge Parkway mile post 6; start on blue trail to right of kiosk
[0.50]    Keep right on blue when an unmarked trail forks to the left
[0.60]    Wooden steps then rock steps switchback up
[0.85]    At intersection turn left following sign to Humpback Rocks; retrace
[1.00]    Back at intersection, keep straight on blue heading towards Appalachian Trail
[1.15]    Straight on the AT southbound when AT northbound goes left
[1.40]    Unmarked side trail on left to view; retrace
[1.45]    Continue southbound on AT
[2.10]    View to left over Rockfish Valley and Shenandoah Valley; retrace
[3.15]    Straight on AT northbound when blue trail goes left
[5.45]    At clearing Old Howardsville Turnpike joins in from right
[5.90]    Keep left at fork towards Humpback Rocks parking when AT goes right
[6.15]    Back at parking


  1. So glad you're both home safe & sound and full of adventures to write about. After reading your 1st two installments, I can't wait for more!

    Must admit, though, I read Shawnee's blog first. (My priorities tend to lean towards four-leggers anyway.) ;)

    Cabins look fantastic. Checked their website, too. Makes me want to book for the fall.

    Was thinking about you both having to hike w/the same rainy weather down there last week that we had up here. But I figured that wouldn't daunt either of you. And I see it didn't. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Thanks, Linda!

      Whew, finally done with my blogging marathon! I had quite an aggressive hiking schedule planned - 10 hikes in 10 days - we only missed one hike due to the weather so the final tally was 75 miles of hiking over 9 days. Fun!