McAfee Knob - NPS
Appalachian Trail's most photographed
Great Virginia Hiking Books!

Elk Garden to Buzzard Rock – Konnarock, VA

Topo Hike Trails Map
   All Hikes Map
   Click for location shots
   Click for Parking/Start location
   Hike trail blazed colors
   Other trail

Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.2 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
4 hours with 30 minutes of breaks
1,095 ft
Jefferson National Forest
Topo Hike Trails Map (PDF)
Konnarock, VA Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), Gaia/Trails App (GPX) (What's this?)
3D View of Route

Park on Whitetop Rd VA600 at Elk Garden. 36.64627, -81.58335

By Trail Contributors: Christine and Adam Anderson

This section of the Appalachian Trail gives you some of the best views of the highest peaks in Virginia.  From Buzzard Rock you can see Mt. Rogers and nearby Whitetop Mountain.  The trail is a moderate steady climb through woods and high meadows.  Enjoy it on a clear day, but expect some cooler temperatures at this high elevation.

Start this hike from the Elk Garden parking lot.  The main hike to and from Buzzard Rock is 6.6 miles.  Since it was so close, when we got back to the car, we added another .6 miles to go the opposite way on the Appalachian Trail from the parking lot to enjoy the views from the summit of Elk Garden.

For more detailed information, go to Virginia Trail Guide’s site

  • Mile 0.0 – From the back of the parking lot, head directly into the woods heading south on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail
  • Mile 1.7 – Pass over a small trickle of a stream that crosses over the trail.
  • Mile 2.4 – Pass by several campsites on the left of the trail before crossing over Whitetop Road.  After crossing the road, you walk into an open meadow.  On a clear day, you will have some nice views of miles of farmlands and mountains.
  • Mile 2.5 – A spring is marked on the left side of the trail and is a reliable water source.  Shortly after the spring, the trail dips down into the woods and starts to ascend again.
  • Mile 3.2 – The trail emerges out of the woods into a large open bald [BR7] on the top of the mountain.  Expansive views are all around.
  • Flash_FP1
  • Flash_FP2
  • Flash_FP3
  • Flash_FP4
  • Flash_FP5
Early August
Panoramas - Mid November
Elk Garden
Elk Garden to Buzzard Rock Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Zachary Robbins Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 11, 2018
I did this hike with a variation, I took the old AT up to the road to summit Whitetop Mountain then took the road back down to the regular AT crossing. I think this might be an even better route, since the AT has a half-mile through the forest before it emerges at Buzzard Rock. The road to the summit is spectacular. It tightly switchbacks for hundreds of feet through grassy balds. If you do this mini-loop you'll get non-stop views when you reach Buzzard Rock and turn around. Either way this section of the AT is beautiful and underused. The only people I saw during the entire hike were cars climbing up the road, and of course cars at Elk Garden. If you think Grayson Highlands is too crowded and don't want to pay the entrance fee, hike here.

about us | contact us | terms of use | © 2000 - 2024