Humpback Rocks

  • Highlights: mountain views, rocky summit, Appalachian Trail
  • Distance:  3.8 out and back
  • Elevation change:  1,120 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: Visitor Center, Blue Ridge Parkway mile 5.8
  • Website: National Park Service
  • Beer Pairings: Pro Re Nata Brewery, Crozet VA Hop Drone IPA & Tapped Out pilsner

The Hike:

This popular hike can be crowded on weekends due to its location close to interstate 64. This is still a great hike with a decent elevation gain over a fairly short distance. The trail is well marked. The trailhead is across the Blue Ridge Parkway begins near the southern part of the visitor center parking area. You will find an information kiosk with a trail map.

The first part of the trail to the Rocks is blue-blazed and has a steep 800’ elevation gain in just over 1 mile. The trail has wooden and rock steps in places. The trail comes to a junction, turn left here (there will be signs) to reach Humpback Rocks. There are some great views of the Shenandoah Valley and Shenandoah National Park and you can scramble up on some of the huge rocks for a better view. 

At this point you can retrace your steps back to your vehicle or for a longer hike, continue back to the trail junction and turn left. A short spur trail (about .15 miles) will lead you to the junction with the Appalachian Trail. Turn left on the white-blazed AT heading north. There will be a series of switchbacks as you first climb a bit and then descend. At about 2.5 miles, the AT will branch off to the right. Stay left on a short spur trail (about ¼ mile) to return to your vehicle.

Make sure to visit the Blue Ridge visitor center and the reconstructed cabins and farming exhibits depicting the life of early settlers in the Shenandoah Valley.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

This hikes close proximity to interstate 64 and the Blue Ridge Parkway makes it crowded and popular, but also makes it easier to find a post-hike beer. Pro Re Nata Brewery in Crozet has a unique outdoor beer garden (with old train box cars), food trucks on the weekends, and some pretty good craft beers. We stopped in a after a weekend hike and had some great food from local food vendors and Pro Re Nata’s beer was the perfect compliment after a long, hot day on the trail. Pete really liked the Tapped Out pilsner, it was crisp and refreshing with a hint of hoppiness from the Hallertau hops. Kathy enjoyed the Hop Drone IPA, dry hopped with Citra hops it comes in at 71 IBUs with a nice finish. 

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.