Spring is here and hiking season is upon us. The trails are fresh and open for visitors all over the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains, and even by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. There are some amazing hikes near us, but one of our favorites has to be Humpback Rocks.
Humpback Rocks is located a few miles south of the Rockfish Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is one of the closest hikes to the inn. There are three parking areas associated with Humpback Rocks: the first is by a visitor’s area with an educational look at colonial farming life, the second is next to the trail head, and the third a picnic area which connects to the Appalachian Trail.
Although only a mile to the summit, this hike is not for the faint of heart. The climb swiftly rises in elevation—800 feet from start to finish, a gradient that scales the mountain via switch-backs and a varied terrain. The view from the top is exceptional. Stand atop Mother Nature’s monoliths and breathe in the best view in the Shenandoah valley. From there, you can return the mile trail you came up on, or veer off on a longer trail which connects to the Humpback Rocks picnic area.
If the steep hike and severe rise in altitude is too sharp for your joints or lungs to handle, here’s an insider’s tip: Go to the picnic area and hop on the southern entrance to the Appalachian Trail. It’s at the end of the picnic area farthest from entrance to the picnic area. Take the trail for .3 easy miles and enjoy a stunning view at the Catoctin Trail Loop. The overlook is situated on giant rocks, similar to Humpback Rocks, but was built up to a more stable rock balcony.