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Humpback Rocks - Waynesboro, VA

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
4.0 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
2.5 hours with 1/2 hour for lunch
1,240 ft
George Washington National Forest
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Park at the Humpback Rocks parking area mile post 6.
NOTE: The Google directions above may direct you to the Blue Ridge Parkway from the east on Old Howardsville Turnpike. This is not a navigable road. You need to access the BRP from I64. 37.96846, -78.89656

Humpback Rocks is a very popular hike due to its proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and
I-64 near Afton Mountain. Most people do it as a 1.0 mile up and back. We decided to add a few miles for the return trip by following the Appalachian Trail North and a couple of un-named blue-blazed trails.

The 1.0 miles to the Rocks is very tough, gaining about 800'. The views at the Rocks are great looking west onto the Shenandoah Valley and north to Shenandoah National Park.

We parked at the Humpback Rocks parking area (MP6 on the Blue Ridge Parkway). The blue-blazed trail begins to the right of the kiosk . The trail wastes no time ascending with park benches scattered every so often if you need to take a break. Don't be fooled by the 1.0 mile to the top, if you are not used to hiking you will find muscles sore that you forgot you had!!

There will be an intersection on your left in 0.5 miles, ignore it and stay straight on the blue blazed trail. For the next 0.4 miles the trail is very rocky but there are both wooden steps and rock steps for some of the more difficult parts. If it has rained be prepared that the trail can be a little muddy and in some places becomes a temporary stream. At the next intersection bear left on the spur trail to the Rocks and some incredible views. There are multiple places to take photos, just be careful especially if wet. We were a little disappointed in the amount of graffiti at the Rocks but try to ignore it and concentrate on the views.

Return to the intersection with the 'Rocks' sign, ignore references to the A.T. as those are old signs when it ran close to the Rocks before it was re-routed years ago. At the 'Rocks' intersection, go straight on the blue blazed trail towards Humpback Picnic Area and reach the A.T. in less than 0.10 miles.

Turn left onto the white-blazed A.T. North (*for additional views see A.T. South Out and Back directions below). This begins a 2.7 mile gradual descent for most of the trail back to the Parking area. We saw lots of wildlife: eastern newt, deer and tons of chipmunks - they are too fast to get a decent photo. The mountain laurel and rhododendrons were blooming all over this section of the trail. Returning this way made for a very pleasant stroll and we ran in to only a couple of hikers. The next intersection is in 2.7 miles. Bear to the left, onto a blue-blazed trail to return to the Humpback Rocks Parking area.

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*A.T. South Out and Back for Additional Views

If you prefer seeing more great views without the crowds take the A.T. South instead of North at the Intersection mentioned in the previous paragraph. If you take in all 3 additional views in this out and back you will add about 4 miles to your trip. In 0.4 miles from the intersection you will come to an unmarked spur trail to take you out to the first view. These rocks are very similar to Humpback Rocks but not as massive. You will see these rocks on your left as you are on the trail and at the top of the hill you will come to the spur trail. Continue south on the A.T. for 0.7 miles to reach the second view on your left looking out to Rockfish Valley on the east and Shenandoah Valley on the west. The last view will be 0.9 miles beyond the second view. About 30 yards before the last view you will pass a great campsite with room for about 6 tents. We actually did this as a short overnight backpack and spent the night at this campsite taking in one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen in Virginia. You will have an almost 180 degree view of Rockfish Valley, Wintergreen Resort, and finally the Shenandoah Valley. This is your turn around point. Note: If you do camp here, bring plenty of water as there are no water sources on this section of the A.T.

Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Humpback Rocks hike:

Hiker Reviews For The Humpback Rocks Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Humpback Rocks hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Bob W Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Excellent hike- my wife and I (both 48 years old) thoroughly enjoyed this outing. Took short breaks as needed- which was more often than I thought, but we never felt over matched by the incline. But it was steep and slippery in many spots. Starting out early was the key to making this so good, because it meant that we were able to enjoy the summit for about 20 minutes with very little crowd (only one or two other couples) - so plenty of space to hang out and enjoy the breeze in a very peaceful environment. Judging by the number of people coming up the trail as we were going down, and the crowded parking lot upon our return I don't imagine those people got the same serenity we did at the top. Saw more people than I thought I would carrying small children on their way up- they did not look to be enjoying it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 5, 2018
This hike appears to be popular. For a Friday afternoon, the lot was full and there were all levels of hikers on the trail.

Short but strenuous out-and-back up to Humpback Rocks. Great views while you're there. On this day the mountains were partly cloud covered, which made for misty stretches along the trail and views above the clouds at the rocks!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 27, 2017
LOST CAMERA-Fuji underwater camera lost by my son about halfway up,dark grey and bright lime green. If you find it Id be very grateful for a call at 540-223-1981. Oh, and other than that it was a very good hike.

By: Courtney Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 26, 2017
This is a great hike! It's well worth the trip but I might have lost my class ring in the parking lot! It's a small silver UVA ring with BA and 18 on the sides and the 2018 Jefferson logo on the inside. Please let me know if you find it by contacting me at cnc8bc@virginia.edu! Willing to offer a reward!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 14, 2017
We arrived at the parking area around noon and it was just about full. This is a very popular hike and of course it is spring break for kids so the solitude was pretty much at the bottom of the scale. But, everyone was talkative and friendly at the summit and folks were taking pictures for other people and everyone was enjoying the view and the cool weather. I would highly suggest taking sunscreen along because there is almost no shade at the summit. This was our second time doing this hike and again opted to take the AT for the way back to the parking lot. This is where the solitude climbs to the top of the scale as most folks return the way they came. It was amazingly quiet on the AT and we only passed a couple of other hikers. We did get to meet a couple of AT thru-hikers and spoke to them for a few minutes as they are making their way to Maine from Georgia. If you want solitude - take the AT portion for sure......and your toes won't be crammed into the front of your shoes going back down the steep trail. The trees are just starting to bud at this elevation so the view was quite different than we saw it in June 2016.

    View all 52 reviews for the Humpback Rocks hike
Late May
Mid October
Video - Courtesy of Mike Holloway
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