Humpback Rocks – Small Hike, Great Views

Located near the northern terminus of the extraordinary Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks in Virginia is exactly 6 miles from the parkway’s northern starting point. This striking outcrop, named for the way it looks, dominates the mountainside and used to be an important landmark for wagon trains that traveled over the Howardsville Turnpike in the mid-1800s. The main place to start a visit to this area is the Humpback Rock Visitors Center, located at milepost 5.8. However, another parking lot—Humpback Gap—lies 0.2 miles further south and is also a popular starting point for a Humpback Rocks hike.

Humpback Rocks hike, trail signs
Humpback Rocks trail signs

Humpback Rocks Hike, Virginia

From the Humpback Gap parking area, the trail to Humpback Rocks is no longer than 1 mile one-way. However, it’s easy to be mistaken by this seemingly short distance—it is actually one of the shorter hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s not because it’s short that it’s an easy hike, though. The trail is definitely steep, covering an 800-feet elevation gain on the way, which could definitely be regarded as challenging.

Humpback Rocks Hike Virginia: Blue Ridge Parkway seen from Humpback Rocks
Blue Ridge Parkway seen from Humpback Rocks

The trail is superbly well maintained, but people who aren’t used to hiking may have trouble. The steep grade during the entire Humpback Rocks hike, the presence of stairways and the necessary rock scrambling, especially near the end, make this a fun hike that will certainly raise anyone’s heart rate.

Humpback Rocks Hike Virginia: Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains

Although it’s quite short, this Humpback Rocks hike is definitely recommended. The rocky outcrop, a bare collection of protruding ledges, offers views that are nothing short of spectacular. The 360-degree views take in the Shenandoah Valley to the west and stunning Shenandoah National Park to the north.

Humpback Rocks Hike Virginia view
Humpback Rocks

This is a hike that can be done all-year round. Due to its shortness, if you are staying in Virginia, it’s also a rather fantastic destination for a sunset (or sunrise) Humpback Rocks hike.

About Bram


Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Other posts by the Author

Leave a Reply