Hanging Rock Overlook

  • Highlights: Fantastic views
  • Distance: .9 miles out and back
  • Elevation Change 157 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with some rocky sections
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trailhead Parking: Hanging Rock Overlook Trailhead, Potts Mountain Road, forest road # 
  • Website: AllTrails  
  • Beer Pairings: Solstice Farm Brewery—Tinker Cliffs Pale Ale & Dragons Tooth Black IPA

Trail Map:

The Hike:

This easy hike has some fantastic views. Located in the Shawvers Run Wildness in Jefferson National Forest, this hike is a hidden gem. It’s popular with locals but not well known to most hikers. Part of the reason could be the 3-mile drive on the forest road leading to the trailhead. 

Potts Mountain Road is not for the fainthearted. A high clearance vehicle is ideal. In muddy conditions, 4 wheel drive may be necessary. Our Subaru Outback made it through easily; however, most of the road was dry. The road is narrow, with deep ruts in places. Two vehicles would have difficulty passing each other. Don’t attempt this road with a 2 wheel drive vehicle in muddy conditions.

This hike often gets confused with Hanging Rock in nearby West Virginia. In fact, there are several other Hanging Rock trails in Virginia.

The trailhead parking area is on the left about 3 miles in from route 311. A trailhead kiosk describes the area and has a map of the trail. The trail is not  well marked, but the path is fairly obvious. 

From the rear of the parking area, follow the unmarked trail as it winds through wildflowers and wild azaleas. The trail becomes rocky just before the overlook. Hangin Rock Overlook emerges from the forest with some amazing views.

West Virginia lies directly in front of you. To your left is the ridge line where you drove on Potts Mountain Road to get to the trailhead. The overlook was windy when we visited. The clouds came and went rapidly providing a mix of limited visibility and then a few minutes later clear views with just a few clouds.

This hike must have the best “great views to hiking effort” ratio. The drive to the trailhead is more challenging than this hike. Take in the stunning views and enjoy a snack. Retrace your steps back to the parking area and hope you don’t encounter another vehicle on the drive out.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Solstice Farm Brewery is located about 30 miles from the trailhead. Hikes in wilderness areas do tend to be in the middle of nowhere. Owners Anna and Ed are hikers who grow hops and brew beer. They have indoor and outdoor seating, are dog friendly, and food trucks visit most weekends.

We decided to try a flight to taste a variety of beers and we can honestly say we liked them all. Kathy enjoyed a cold pint of Tinker Cliffs Pale Ale (4.9% ABV). It was nicely hopped and reminded us of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. High praise as Sierra Nevada is one of our favorite breweries. Pete enjoyed Dragon’s Tooth (5.7% ABV) a black IPA. This beer has the dark color and toasted malts of a stout with the hoppiness of an IPA.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.