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Hiker Comments for the Humpback Rocks Hike - 1 to 54 of 54   
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By: Davey James Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 25, 2019
For August, today was a beautiful day. Therefore, there were a great deal of people on the trail. I'm not sure if it's always this crowded but today it was highly populated. The trail is well maintained. It is challenging for the first couple of miles - as it goes pretty much straight up! I brought my dog with me (there were several dogs out today.) I didn't get to enjoy the views from Humpback rock because there were just too many people cluttered there and it's not ideal for dogs. So, I decided to hike towards the AT for some additional exercise and serenity. This was my favorite part of the hike because there is less traffic. Overall, a nice hike - but, I won't do this one again with my dog.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 5, 2019
Started my solo hike up Humpback Mountain around the Parking area after checking in with the Rangers at the Visitors Center at 9:30am on a Monday, and I was one of the first cars in the lot. Ranger report: Black bears and some rattlers have been seen on the local trails, but all I saw were a garter snake, a gray squirrel, and a chipmunk... and a ton of butterflies and centipedes. The first mile to the Rocks was very nice, though as advertised, very steep. Recent rain led to a few muddy spots, slick spots, and a hint of standing water. Great scents kicked up by the rain and humidity, though... really felt like I was outdoors. I'm slow, so I was passed by about 20 folks on my way up, and only a few passed me headed back down before I got to the top, so the Rocks were crowded. I didn't linger at the Rocks, but the photo op is not to be missed. The left turn off to the Rocks was clearly marked. I then continued up (following markers to the Appalachian Trail), and followed signs toward the Summit. Note that the tree blazes change from blue (Rocks trail) to white (Appalachian Trail). Continued up for about another mile. Still definitely upward, but I'd guess about half as steep as the trail to the Rocks.

There was no clear indication that I saw that I'd come to the summit, so I just kept on for a bit. Some landmarks were (1) when I crossed through a stone wall, that was where I believe the first "summit" is. Then you go down into a gulley and back up to what I thought of as a second "summit." Finally, there was a second gulley and another upward motion which led to a beautiful viewpoint. I couldn't find any higher points that that, so I'm going to call that the Summit. All in all, I measured that to be about 1.8 - 2.0 miles past the Rocks. Trip back was easier, but I'm glad I had trekking poles to deal with the slippery rocks and muddy trail.

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 I’d 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! 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.

By: Bill Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 10, 2017
Humpback Rocks was an easy and quick way to take in great views of the Shenandoah valley. The trip up was a little steeper and tougher than imagined, but took less than one hour to get to the top. There were plenty of people on the trail because it was spring break, but it didn't detract from the views or finding space on the rocks to sit for awhile. Coming back down, we took the easier and more gradual decent following the AT north. It was a much easier decent, but it was much, much longer than just going down the initial way up. Took about 1.5-2 hours at a good pace. The trails were well marked and we had no issues finding which way to go or the proper route to the parking area.

By: Shawn R. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 20, 2016
We completed this hike on a cold and windy Sunday with temperatures hovering around freezing with the hopes of hiking on a day with few hikers. Even on this blustery day, the parking lot was nearly full and people were everywhere up and down the trail. For this reason, I highly recommend taking the AT back to the parking area for a much peaceful and gradual return to the lot. The view was spectacular, but with so many people on the Rocks it was difficult to get situated. Overall, a good hike if you are looking for something short and not too far off the beaten path, but if you are looking for a nice hike in solitude, avoid Humpback Rocks. There are plenty of other great hikes in the area which are free of college students and others who are unwilling to drive or hike an extra mile or two.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 15, 2016
We started our overnight hike by taking the steep one mile climb to the Humpback Rocks. It was very busy (tis the season) but enjoyable none the less. The views were great on this blue bird day. We then took the AT north, but instead of veering left on the blue blaze trail back to the parking lot, we continued on the AT. Ran into many thru-hikers headed south (I'll bring more M&M's to give away next time!) We stopped at the beautiful Glass Hollow overlook before continuing on to the Paul C. Wolfe shelter. There were no fewer than 20 people in and around the shelter. Thru-hikers, high school students, you name it. What an awesome group of people! We thoroughly enjoyed our time and Mill Creek was such a GEM. Flowing strong with mini waterfalls everywhere. This shelter area is first class. It is large and well made. There are bear poles and even a privy.

We hiked back to the parking area via the Albright trail, which will warm your bones on a cool morning :) Our total milage was around 11.5 (8 miles on day 1).

We ran into several fine folks with the ODATC, who maintain this area. Many thanks for the work these guys do! This entire loop was well marked and maintained.

Many thanks also to HikingUpward. This is such a great resource. I recommend it to people frequently.

By: N:) Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
A friend and I hiked there in a hot day before the rain on the way back to DC from Montebello via Blue Ridge Pkwy and Skyline Dr. We saw the sign for the loop and wanted to hike but could not find the loop trail. So pay attention when you park there as there are 3 trail heads from the parking lot at MP6, the middle one is the 4 miles loop. When you look at the picture of the parking at this website, the trailhead is on the left side of the black car, not the trail you'd see in the picture. You will see picnic table on the left with Gas Grill only sign, then, the middle trailhead for this loop hike and the trail board with map (on the right of the black car in the picture) to the short but quite steep and rocky 0.8 mile/~800' out and back to the humpback rocks. We didn't plan to hike there so we did not have this hikingupward's map with us but the trail is well marked with blue blaze. We were planning to hike White Rock a few miles south but we met two nice guys from Forest Services and they recommended this hike for better views. There are a few benches along the first quarter of the trail and also 43 steps midway. Awesome views at the vista. PS. we also saw the old trail blocked with ropes in two occasions, one after you pass the benches and one near the vista so the actual hike may be different when you get there.

By: Mona Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 29, 2016
Directions on the Hiking Upward site were spot-on to do the loop. It is definitely an incline the first mile to the top, but as it says, there are benches to rest and the view at the top is great. It was drizzling on our way up, so the rocks at the top are slippery when raining, but as long as you are careful...

We did the loop heading North on the AT and then splitting back off on the blue trail towards the parking slop. This was a much nicer descent on the knees and hardly anyone else on this part of the trail. It looks like all the flowers are about to pop at any minute and we were just seeing a few of the early ones. It was very green - all the greens of the crayola box. It was raining the entire hike, but the trees gave us great coverage and it was quite pleasant. We saw an orange newt, which was fun.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 24, 2016
We had great weather for this hike - sunny and in the 60s. Challenging hike - seemed like more than a mile since it was pretty steep. Definitely worth it for the views at the top. Also very scenic drive to get there, lots of places to pull off the highway and check out the views there. It's very well-marked and easy to find, and there's an interesting set of 19th Century farm buildings near the visitor center.

By: CvilleHiker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 9, 2016
Short and steep, the closest amazing views to Charlottesville. Instead of thinking of it as "crowded", enjoy the convivial atmosphere as everyone lounges around the rocks at the top. If it's wet, make sure you've got adequate footwear to climb out on the actual rocks. It was a bit icy on this day - easily 20 degrees colder than the valley. The large paved lot is convenient. Other than the views, the hike is pretty boring, so I'd skip it on an overcast day.

By: Greengal Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 5, 2016
Out for the day to get some exercise and see some scenery. Initially we were going to hike this backwards, starting at the Appalachian Trail and then coming down the steep way. Glad we didnt as the hike up the steep park was slippery as it was, and we saw several hikers slip on the way down on the snow and ice. Nab the geocache that was out there but left footprints in the snow. The weather was great and I am glad we took the loop so we could spend more time out there.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 12, 2015
The day was perfect for hiking, blue skies and 70 degrees. This hike is rated a 3/5 for solitude but I would judge it to be more or less a 1.5-2. There were a ton of people when we got to the trail head... the hike is easily accessible and in close proximity to UVA so there were a lot of college hikers. The review is right when it warns of the trail taking off into a steep, steady, one-mile uphill climb. It will definitely get your heart pumping! The views were great but the rocks were covered with people, we only had a few moments where we got to sit alone and enjoy our lunch before other people surrounded us. We decided to hike south on the AT after visiting the summit and that part of our hike was very secluded, we only saw 2 other people. To see my pictures and read more about my hike visit

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 15, 2015
Hiked this trail on a sunny very breezy Sunday. Still some icy spots but nothing to slow you down. All in all a pretty day to hike with a few wet spots.

By: Ken D Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, February 12, 2015
I hiked the extended AT South trail, followed the AT North on the return trip until it joined the Albright Loop Trail, and then climbed Dobie Mountain to return to the parking lot. The total distance was a shade shy of 12 miles. The trail up to Humpback Rocks had 3 portions that were covered with several inches of ice. The first two are pretty easily bypassed but even the detours have sections of ice. The last section required a climb up off trail and then a cut back to the left to rejoin the trail a few yards later. Wintergreen's ski slopes provided a nice contrast to the winter grey and the viewpoint right on the AT is a great place to stop and grab a bite. The walk back along the AT is much easier then the walk south, but if you do the Dobie Mountain climb it will hit you with a 500' vertical gain before dropping back to the parking lot. A really good hike...saw nobody all day.

By: Alec Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 7, 2015
I've hiked this trail before but never have hiked the loop until today. This combines a north bound portion of the A.T and the humpback rock trail, i also combined this with a the south bound portion of the a.t as a out and back. The first mile is always a bit difficult but i like doing this hike. Only saw 3 people total and a few birds probably due to the fact that it's been in the low 20's all day, this made the hike more challenging, which is what i was looking for.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 27, 2014
A friend of mine and I got to the Parking lot about 8:45am and there was only a couple of other cars. Couldn't have been a nicer day in the mid 70's and Beautiful sunshine. We started immediately and as others have noted it is quite a leg-stretcher to the Rocks. I noticed it in my breathing almost immediately :) We made it to the Rocks in about 45 minutes and there was about 4 others enjoying the tremendous views.( My advice is to beat the crowds just make sure you start before 9am.) We also had a great conversation with a Thru-hiker who had started in Maine back at the end of June. We didn't see any Trash and the Graffiti is unfortunate but not overbearing. We started back down and took the AT North route. This part is very level and quite enjoyable. Didn't see much wildlife besides a very small Garter Snake. At the last Intersection we decided to add on a few miles by not going directly back to the Parking lot. Instead, followed the AT North and once we reached the Albright Trail we just headed South from there back to the Parking Lot. This added about an extra 2 miles on making our total hike a little over 6. It took us about 4 hours but that was at a leisurely pace while talking to others on the Trail. An excellent hike and day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 31, 2014
My wife and I hiked this one backwards around both big loops and the AT and then up to the rocks. Getting there wasnt bad at all. All trails were blazed and clear. Once we got to the rocks it got bad. It was packed with people. Graffiti and trash on the rocks. I picked up as much trash as I could but I would say this one is a lost cause. The state needs to fix this! The hike down to the parking lot was pretty much straight down. Switchbacks would make this a lot more enjoyable. Needless to say, I won't hike this one again.

By: Patti Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 29, 2014
My husband, two teenagers and I hiked to Humpback Rocks in the early afternoon on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, so we had the trail mostly to ourselves. Believe the reviews when they say it is tough going on the way up - and there is not much to look at - it is all work! It was a beautiful day, not too hot and the views were just amazing. We were on our way to Blacksburg, so we did the straight up, straight down version. People do tend to linger at the rocks for quite a while after working so hard to get there, so there were more people at the top than I expected based on who we saw on the trail. Some graffiti, unfortunately, but no trash.

Overall, a great workout with an appropriate reward and the added benefit of being convenient to the highway!

By: Lindsay Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 2, 2014
For a bit of background, I try to hike every weekend and am in pretty good shape overall. We recreational hike and only do day hikes. Humpback Rocks is a good hike as long as you come for the views and only the views. The hike itself can be pretty brutal if you're not used to hiking. It's a straight shot that makes you feel like you're being herded as fast as possible up the mountain. (Noting here that I typically just do the 1.0 mile up and back, not the loop as described here.) It gets the heart pumping, but it's pretty boring. The "rock scramble" is really just trail that's been battered down to the rocks and gets frustrating because it bottlenecks frequently. It's crowded and many of the people aren't used to hiking etiquette. Be prepared to have to jockey around slower people, hustle around hikers who let their dogs run loose (and perhaps their children as well...there were a few times I had to stop myself from trying to pull a child back from the ledge because their parents weren't watching them), trash and noise pollution. Basically, if you're looking for solitude, this is not the hike for you.

However, the only reason it gets 2 stars is that view. It really does take your breath away (if you're lucky enough to get a spot on the rocks to enjoy it...). I would say do Humpback once, but once is really enough.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Humpback Rocks is by far my favorite hike so far in Virginia, I have done it a half dozen times during the past month. Did it the first time on 7/5/14 in the direction everyone does, up the very steep ascent from the parking lot. It is tough but manageable if you are in decent shape. The views at the top are spectacular but depend on the weather of course. If it is windy it can feel a little sketchy stepping close to the edge. Trek poles are recommended.

The best part of this hike in my opinion is the portion that 90% of people never both to travel, which is the 2.5 miles of the AT looping out from the lookout point and traversing down across the mountain side. Hiking down this portion of the AT is an absolute pleasure as it is all slightly downhill until the last 0.3 miles back up to the parking lot. Very easy and scenic. I have seen black bears on two different hikes along this portion of the trail. If you are looking for a good workout I suggest heading the opposite direction from the start at the parking lot, and heading UP this portion of the AT. It is a tremendous 1 hour plus cardio workout, with the perfect amount of short flat runs to catch your breath and take water. The PERFECT moderately difficult hike if you don't have a lot of time. The only drawback to going in this opposite direction is that the steep descent back down the rocks and gravel main trail can be hard on your feet/ankles/knees. Again, trek poles are your friends!

Expect to see a lot of people no matter what day or time you go. On the 4th holiday weekend there were literally 30+ people at the top and HUNDREDS of people along the main climb. We had to park way back at the entrance from the main road. Road access and parking are both free, and Humpback Rocks is only about 30 minutes from Staunton, just 5 miles south of exit 99 from Rt.64. Very Convenient!

By: Armando Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 23, 2014
Nice hike, a bit more challenging than might at first appear so bring sturdy shoes and grab a walking stick along the way.  The elevation gain comes all at once at the beginning so drink water before you head up and don't rush it or your legs and lungs will feel it.  The rocks can be a bit tricky and the fall would not be fun, so try to keep three points of contact at all times.  Taking a loop down the  AT North is the way to go if you want to make the time getting there worth it.  Catch the trail at the intersection of the Humpback Picnic Area trail and the AT North trail (there is a wooden marker that will make it easy).  Follow the white rectangles on the trees, and stop from time to time to enjoy the sounds of the forest (too many people just march through and don't enjoy the solitude, its not a race, its nature).  The trail is fairly well traveled but loose rocks and tree roots can catch you by surprise (another reason to bring sturdy shoes).  I only gave it three stars because other than the view from the rocks there is not much else to see, but it is a nice, doable hike (2-2.5 hours).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Two of my friends and I did the AT south and back extension, which brought the total to around 8 miles.  Probably more like 9 for us, since we took a couple of side trails along the way.

This hike has some good challenges, starting with the relentless climb to the top of Humpback.  No time to warm up - get out of the car and start walking uphill.  The rocky portion of the trail to the summit had several spots that were muddy and watery due to rain the day before.  Views were awesome!  It was crowded on the rocks, but once you get onto the AT the crowds go away quickly.  We enjoyed all three overlooks on the extended portion and stopped for lunch on the third.  There were several people there, but we had some nice conversation and then had the spot to ourselves for a bit after they left.  We then hiked north back to the Rocks trail intersection, where the sign told us it was 2.7 miles back to the parking area.  That 2.7 seemed like 7.2!  There are lots of switchbacks and downhills.  My feet and legs were burning and over it.

This hike took us about 6.5 hours, including time spent at overlooks and for lunch.  We saw three deer, many birds, and one footlong garter snake.

By: GreyGhost Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 19, 2014
What an amazing hike.  We drove up from Richmond for the day after hearing about this hike from some friends.  We parked at the Humpback rocks visitor center/farm as both parking lots were very crowded.  It was a good warm up before hitting the trail.  The first .5 miles were basically a steep gravel path.  Lots of benches to stop and rest along the way.  After that, it gets fun.   Lots of rocks and rock steps for the way to the top.  It was a bit wet/muddy, but not bad at all.  Once you get to the top, it is a bit intimidating at first, but totally breathtaking.  We ate lunch at the lower part of the rock with the best view I think I have ever had.  After that, we took the 2.7 mile section of the AT back to the parking lot, and it was a breeze.  Met some Thru hikers, saw some deer, and got tons of great pictures.  We enjoyed the hike back as much as the rocks.  Definitely put this hike on your list and bring plenty of water.  The only thing that detracted was the amount of people there, but after seeing the view, I can understand why.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 13, 2014
We came in south of a Humpback Mt and parked at the campground MP 8.5. Plenty of parking and made the hike 5-6 miles to the a Rocks and back. Great views of Wintergreen Resort and the valley. Blue spur trail out of campground, left NB on AT and out to rocks. Warning. No bathrooms until May! Even the Visitor Center closed. Stop at rest area on 64 or drop into Waynesboro OR women beware. We hiked this with 5 kids but they exited out to the Visitor Center and I went back to grab a car. Lovely day. No solitude up here during prime times but one on the neat hikes in this area of the state.

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 14, 2013
I hiked this today with my daughter. We started in fog and mist and that's the way we found the views...but in this case there was a sort of "cool" about standing on top of the rocks in the clouds. We could see enough to note that the trees at the top of the hill were beginning to turn and the splashes of yellow coming through the fog was kind of neat. We had lunch on the rocks and turned south on the AT to see if we could get lucky with some views. We didn't, but it was a nice walk with a couple of uphills that had us breathing hard. We turned around about 1.5 miles after resting for a few minutes on a set of rocks that overlooked Rockfish gap. The sun was beginning to break through and we could see several trees with bright red berries just off the rocks. We came down the AT the whole way and from the Humpback Rocks trail split it was gentle until a slight, unwelcome, uphill section that ended at the parking lot. There was a huge tree that had dropped across the trail along this stretch but it was suspended over the trail and you can easily walk underneath it. Great picture moment.

By: Ashley Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 7, 2013
I was looking for a dog-friendly hike, and also one that seemed at least semi-frequently traveled, as I was going alone. Very easy to find. Got there at 8-8:15am, only 2 other cars in the parking lot (for a Saturday I expected it to be busier). Only passed by 2 groups on their way down as I was going up. It is accurate that the trail wastes no time in elevation gain, however it was still a relatively quick traverse. The rock and wooden steps made it easy for my dog, too (who is a mini-dachshund). The only difficult part was climbing on the rocks for the view, and actually seemed easy for my dog but slightly difficult for me to manage a leash and use both hands to get on top of the rocks. Clear cool morning and beautiful views! We spent 15 mins or so before continuing on the trail, alone at the summit the whole time. We did the hike as listed without adding extra mileage, going N on the AT instead of S, and it was actually so quiet I almost just did an out-and-back at that point, (being alone I wanted to know there were others at least somewhat close by.) Anyway, decided to follow the trail as listed. I could hear that the final 3mi or so completing the circuit was alive with wildlife, although all I visualized were chipmunks and squirrels. Peaceful and quiet except for nature, and only ran into one other pair of hikers on the AT. When we got back to the parking lot about 2.5 hrs after beginning the hike, it was full, so I would recommend starting early if you prefer to be alone at the top. Overall, this hike was exactly what I was looking for on this particular day - not too strenuous, dog-friendly, on the shorter side distance-wise, optional turnaround points, quiet if you go at the right time, and great views. And... even got to stop by some of my favorite wineries off of 151 on my way back northeast!

By: Lisa Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
I used to go to Humpback with my father all the time as a child, but today was the first time I've been up there in several years. I had the day off and the weather was nice, so I arranged to get there around 2pm, hoping to avoid the usual crowds. I'm in reasonably good shape, but I had forgotten how steep the ascent is. I never got to the point of gasping for breath, but I had to stop for a minute several times on the way up. I'm sure my calves will be feeling that ascent tomorrow. For the first time that I can remember, I had the summit all to myself. The views were beautiful, as always, and I lounged around the summit for a half hour before heading back down.

I was going to take the 2.7 mile descent route, but about 1/4 mile into it, I ran into a bear. It appeared to not notice me, but it must have just been ignoring me, because a) I was close enough to hit it with a rock, b) I hadn't been moving quietly, and c) even I could smell the Bodo's sandwich in my pack leftover from lunch. I realized (with a shudder) that I had left my usual canister of bear spray at home, so I backed quietly up the trail and took the steep, rocky route that I had come up on back to the parking lot. I'm a C'ville native who's hiked throughout Shenandoah all my life, and that's the closest I've ever been to a fully grown black bear. It was both scary and exhilarating.

I'll take the longer descent next time I'm on Humpback, but that trip will also involve a can of bear spray and a stout hiking stick.

By: Steve Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 25, 2013
I first hiked to Humpback 40 years ago and went up there many times while a student at UVa.  Recently I moved back to VA and drove up to the Parkway to see the sunset for the first time in many years on August 25, 2013. I had no intention of hiking the trail, but once I got there the temptation was too great and I started up the hill thinking I could make it before the sun was gone.  WRONG!  Little did I know that the trail had been changed since I was last there so I did not know which way to go when I reached the split half way up. I knew the trail to the right was not the way I had gone in the past so I went straight ahead up the very steep, rocky path that I later learned is the new "shortcut".  As the light faded I realized that the unmarked shortcut would be hard to follow back down in the dark so I gave up and turned back.  Now that I see there is a new trail I will go back this evening for the moon, Venus, Saturn sunset.      

By: Sydney Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 21, 2013
The view from the rocks is amazing & great opportunity to take panoramic shots with your camera or phone.  The blue trail up is tough for the first half - my asthma had kicked in. Coming back to the parking lot after the rock, we tried the route indicated on this webpage on the AT & it takes much longer than you might think.  Because no one is on the trail we felt the panic set in knowing we had walked more than 2.7 miles and still no sign of a parking lot.  Luckily we ran into some AT hikers.  They showed us their map & assured us we were close to the parking lot.  So if you take the Appalachian Trail back, be prepared for a very long walk but it's serene & chance to fill water bottle with cool & clean spring water.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 12, 2012
I chose this for my first solo hike. Usually I'm with a buddy or group but I'm the only one who had Monday off. I took the AT North loop mentioned above, which is a great option. Even though it was a Monday I saw about 5 other groups on the way to the rocks, but after getting on the AT I didn't see a soul. It was too cloudy for a view, but it was still lovely out and I found it to be quite peaceful hiking alone. The whole thing took me exactly 2.5 hours, and I only stopped at the rocks for about ten minutes since there wasn't a view. I was trekking at a decent pace (I even ran part of the AT), so I started to get a little worried that I'd taken a wrong turn when it took longer than expected, but just when I started getting nervous I got to the intersection leading me back to the parking lot. I recommend this hike to anyone regardless of experience/skill, but it is definitely a good idea to do on a weekday if you can! Next time I plan on trying the AT South route.

By: Hokie Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 30, 2012
It's fall so it's hiking time (ok I hike in the summer/winter/spring but I LOVE fall hiking).

First off- note that the parking lot you want is not the Humpback Rocks visitor center- but the parking lot immediately after (heading southbound) on the left side.  However, it's just a short walk from the visitor center lot to the trail head- and is actually nice to get the legs a little loose before hitting the trail. 

This is definitely a great hike under the condition that you get there early.  We parked and started our hike around 815/830 in the morning and made it to the top in about 25/30 minutes.  We were lucky when we got there- as it was my friend and I and only two others on the top- nice and quiet- you could hear the wind blowing, the occasional car on Blue Ridge Parkway below. That said- when we finished the hike, the parking lots were PACKED- this was around 1115/1130.  I'd guess if you get there much later than 845/9- you're going to have plenty of company on the top- and if you're like my friend and I who enjoy it being quiet to let you think and really enjoy the peace- you're going to find that more on your hike down than at the top.

The hike down was equally great.  While the first part going up was definitely strenuous since you hit the trail climbing steep- the down was relaxing.  However- we noted that a sign on the trail indicated that from the intersection with the AT to the parking lot (via the AT)- it was only 1.2 miles- it is definitely longer (and we expected this since we had our sheet from HU- it was just a little confusing).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 30, 2012
We arrived here around 11:15 perhaps, on a nice Sunday in late September.  The lot was nearly full already we lucked out and got a spot(there was a ranger directing cars where to park)  I knew it would be crowded, but the next 2 days weather forecast was not as good while I was in town so we had to do it on Sunday.

The hike up is a haul, I think it took us 45 minutes.  We saw all kinds of people from college students to people in tennis shoes.  The hike up was basically a hiking highway and lots of people.  The top was pretty crowded and it was not the most enjoyable of lunches at a summit due to this.  Lots of annoying people on cell phones and the like.  One hot shot was heating up hot chocolate on a backpacking stove.  The views are pretty good.  After lunch we really wanted to get away from the gobs of people so we set out to the AT junction and headed South.  What a relief, we didn't see another soul until halfway down to the parking lot 90 minutes later.  Heading South we could not find the first lookout described in the hike.  We did find the second, which was a nice view.  Neither one was marked but the second one was pretty obvious, right on the trail essentially.  Here we turned back and continued North on the AT the 2.7 miles or whatever from the junction, downhill.  We saw a couple people towards the bottom.  The spur trail to the parking lot was marked with a sign, you can't miss it.

Dressed in hiking boots and day packs we kind of stood out from everyone else, most people take this as a quick trip out of the car to the top then back down and that's it, and are in sneakers(or worse) and carry nothing.  If you really wanted to avoid people you could go up the longer AT from the parking lot and only deal with the crowds up top.

By: John Raymer Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Amazing hike.  It isn't long but it does it get a little steep at times.  It is a little bit of a work but mind you I'm a nearly 40 year old man who sits a lot.  Regardless of how much of a work out it is for you, it is well worth the climb.  The day I went the weather was perfect and the views were spectacular.  The graffiti on the rocks is a bit disturbing (idiots) but the view is so great you almost miss the graffiti all together.  The trail is very popular and you will most definitely not be alone.  However, I was fortunate to have about a minute and a half at the top all alone and I enjoyed every second.  The description of the trail mentions that at .5 miles there is a trail the goes off to the left.  I had forgotten that and so did many others.  There was much discussion on the trail if you stay to the right or go to the left.  Always remember this, when in doubt follow the blazes!  The Humpback trail is blue blazed.  Just follow the blue blaze and you'll be fine.  This is a great, short hike and if you have the chance do it.  If you don't have the chance, make time to do it. 

By: Kate Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 24, 2012
3 of my girlfriends and I did this today and really enjoyed ourselves.  As others have said, the mile climb is definitely strenuous.  It's very steep.  I'm just getting back into hiking and am in mediocre shape.  I had to take a few breaks on the way up.  The views made the climb so worthwhile.  It was gorgeous up there!  We started at 8:30am and passed 2 groups of hikers coming back down as we were going up.  We had the top to ourselves and laid around, talked and took photos for about 20 minutes.  Then we went down the way  they recommend on this site -- we did the 2.7 mile AT (white blazes) for a gradual decent and then to the parking lot (the loop).  One thing that wasn't mentioned below is the "gradual decline" on the AT turns back into a "gradual INCLINE" for about 0.3 - 0.4 miles-ish .  Not too difficult but our legs were a bit tired at that point and we were wondering if we were on the right trail.  We only passed one hiker on this part.  When we got back to the parking lot, there were a lot of people there getting ready to go up.  I plan to attack Old Rag in October and this was a good warm-up.  :)

By: Ryan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2012
We hiked up to the rocks here, and then hiked to the Glass Hollow Overlook on Dobie Mountain - a great combination since this hike is pretty strenuous, and the hike to Glass Hollow Overlook is pretty easy. The rocks were crowded, so it was also nice that we were alone on the Dobie trail. We will definitely be doing this combo again.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 17, 2011
We parked at the Humpback Rocks parking area arriving at 9:20 AM. Not a single car in the parking lot was a good sign being we hiked this trail on a Saturday. The hike up was challenging a little with snow lightly covering the ground. We did read that the road will be closing for winter months going to the trail but was open when we went even with snow on the ground. The view at the top was awesome but the graffiti was all over the rocks. Also a few trees were down fallen over the path so you will need to hike around them. The Hike down from the rocks was a long hike downhill with no real views vistas or wildlife. We did run into a deer that stood still long enough to get a few good pictures. When we arrived back to the trail 2 hours later there was about 4 more cars in the lot.

By: Jami and Nick Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 26, 2011
We really enjoyed this hike. We went the full loop. The hike up to the top was strenuous but the view was worth it. There were a lot of people there doing the hike up to the top and back but the AT was pretty secluded.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 30, 2011
My wife (58) and I (60) and daughter (26) drove from Richmond today to take a short hike and take in some fall color.  We got to Afton Mt. and the Parkway was closed because of a recent 4 or so inches of snow.  We took a side road toward Humpback Mt and parked at a gate about 2+ miles from the Visitor Center and Humpback Rock parking lot.  The ground was covered with several inches of snow and ice, but after seeing a picture of one of the views from the Rocks, we decided to make the climb.  Slipping and sliding we got to the rocks in about 90 minutes (with the help of some make-shift climbing sticks).  The first third was relatively easy (except for the snow), the last third was very rocky and steep, and the snow made it treacherous. Thank God, no falls or accidents of any kind. WOW!  It was definitely worth the climb.  What a view in every direction?!  We spent about 45 minutes taking pictures, talking and soaking in God's beautiful creation.  We descended without incident in a pretty good clip (40 minutes) back to the Rocks parking lot.  This was a great hike, and we really didn't even know where we were going there.  It just happened.  We plan to go again and make the climb with more of our family WITHOUT the snow.  We recommend this climb for anybody who is in pretty good shape, sure footed, got a stick, AND want some unforgettable views!!! All total we hiked nearly 6 miles from where we parked.  It was great!

By: Rob H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 11, 2011

This was our first family hike in 2011.   We departed our Richmond area home early June 11th in order to avoid not only the heat, but also the crowds.

After a quick stop at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center (Mile Post (MP) 5.9 of the Blue Ridge Parkway) to use the rest room facilities and put on hiking boots, we headed over to the Humpback Gap parking lot at MP 6.   The trail up to Humpback Rocks is located at the south side of parking lot. (There are other trails you can access from the north and east facing sides of parking lot.)

The trail up to Humpback Rocks is only about a mile long, but it's quite steep and will certainly challenge the average hiker.

The trail was easy to follow and there is a nice section of wooden steps along the way.

Once we reached the rocks we had some great views of the valley below as well as the Shenandoah National Park to the north. We spent about a half hour taking in the views and rock hopping.

As we descended back down the way we came up, we noticed quite a few more people on the trail coming up.  We arrived back at the parking lot at about 10:00 am and noticed that it was just about full of cars.  We then headed back to the Visitors Center to change shirts and socks.  Even though it was relatively early in the day, we were all drenched in sweat.

Overall, this was a nice short hike.  Even though the hike is short, it's a good workout due to the elevation gain.  In two weeks my two kids and I will be in New Hampshire hiking the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail up Mt. Washington.  This was a good hike for them to find out what hiking 1 mile uphill feels like.  When I asked my daughter how far she thought we hiked, she guessed that it must have been 10 miles!

Check out my blog to see photos:


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 18, 2011
Hiked Humpback with my husband and 7 year-old daughter today. We're not used to this level of hiking, but all agreed that we'll do it again soon. The first half is graveled but steep, the second half is a rock scramble, but do-able for my 7 year-old. After the big storms this weekend, it was wet and slippery, but we still made it to the top and back down without injury. It took us about 2 hours total.

By: Bent Pole Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 13, 2011
We combined the larger loop with the Albright trail on Dobie Mountain.  A word to the wise... the Humpback Rocks Parking Area is not the same place as the Humpback Rocks Visitor's Center Parking area.  We (and another pair of hikers we encountered) were very confused when trying to find the Albright Loop trailhead from the wrong parking lot.  Beautiful hike though!  Lots of people there, so go early if you want to find a nice spot at the rocks to lie down or picnic.

By: Ghostrider Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I'm writing this just as a word of advice: if you plan on hiking this anytime in the next month or so you might want to avoid the 1.0 recommended shorter steep route up to the rocks. There are several sections of a couple hundred yards that are completely impassable because of ice. I'm talking IMPASSABLE. We hit it on the way back from an extended hike to the airplane crash south of the rocks off the AT and we ended up bushwacking off the side of the trail. It may take longer, but the 2.8 mile eastern route up is your best bet.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 25, 2010
This thing was a beast! I'm used to the flat and ravine trails east of I-95. Humpback is a completely different world from my beloved York River State Park! The view from the top was nothing short of stunning! The trail was very well marked. This was my first mountain hike. It will not be my last.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 8, 2010
Nice day hike with great views in Central Virginia. Getting to the trailhead off of the Blue Ridge Parkway was easy. The day I hiked to the rocks and to Humpback Mountain and back was cold and windy with some ice on certain shady parts of the trail heading up to Humpback Rocks. This is a good late fall or winter hike with the leaves off the trees that allows for additonal views of the valley as you hike along the ridge line to Humpback Mountain. Overall - good hike if you can avoid the crowds on Humpback Rocks.

By: Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 19, 2010
I hiked on a beautiful Monday morning. Low 90s and very few clouds in the sky. I saw only one other group on the trail, so the solitude was nice. As others have mentioned, the trail takes no time in getting steep. Overall though, not exceptionally tough if you're somewhat in-shape. I had a lot of fun navigating the steep rocks near the top of the hill that lead up to the vista. I especially recommend this hike if you're looking for a quick get-away from the real world.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 18, 2010
We decided to get in a short hike before we left Charlottesville, where we'd spent the weekend. The drive out to the parkway was enjoyable. We parked at the Humpback Gap overlook and started up the trail. This hike was short but no joke! The trail up to the rocks was very steep, and gained about 800 feet in elevation. It was a tough trail upward! Coming down was easy but you have to watch your footing. The views at the top were gorgeous. You can see the Shenandoah Valley to the west and Shenandoah National park to the north. There were plenty of places to take pictures. The hike was pretty crowded - lots of boy scouts and even some dogs, but we didn't mind it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 11, 2009
A nice hike on a beautiful day! We did the climb to the rocks and lingered there for the view and the solitude early in the morning. We then hiked North on the AT and continued past the cutover to Humpback parking to the Glass Hollow Overlook about 150 off the trail (it is marked with a small sign). After lunch at the overlook we continued North to the intersection of Jack Albright Loop Trail and took that as a loop back to the parking area which added about 2 miles to the original hike. The Glass Hollow Overlook is a great view and and great place for rest or camping except for lack of water nearby. The added distance is just a nice hike in the woods with a gradual climb for the first 3/4 mile.

By: Ken Knott Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 22, 2009
Very enjoyable hike. Pretty busy for a Monday. Everyone I could tell just did the hike to the rocks and back rather than the loop as suggested. The view is pretty remarkable. I wish there was some way the graffiti could be removed from the rocks. It is pretty tragic that people would desecrate natures treasures like this. As for the hike itself.... The first mile is pretty brutal. Kicked my butt anyway... However the rest of the loop on the AT and back to the parking lot is a relative cakewalk after that. Very enjoyable and lots of solitude. Alas it looks like the hiking stick is no longer there. Hopefully someone will report its discovery soon.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 7, 2009
we started early to avoid the crowds, even then several people were already on the trail. The hike up is quite steep but with many places to rest and wonderful view once you get to the top. Taking the AT back is a great suggestion we only passed two other people. We did see a newt, several deer, and loads of chipmunks.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 6, 2009
What a great hike. The morning I went it was very misty and cool. The clouds were clinging to the mountains, thick and unyielding to the wind. It was really fun to watch the clouds at the Rocks. The wind would blow and a big cloud would stay firm in it's position, but the fringes of the cloud would get pushed and stretched out with the wind  until they finally dissipated into the air. Then, a few seconds later, I would see and feel a fine mist sweep right over the Rocks.

I arrived to the parking area around 6:00AM, there was only one other car there at the time. The path up was steep and it was slippery as well. Little rivulets of rain water we're carving a path down, often right in the middle of the trail. There are a few benches on the way up provided for those who need to rest a spell. Bring plenty of water, especially when hiking during the hotter parts of the day. It will be needed!

I saw a lot of deer, one of them actually let me walk up and take a picture with him. There were also a lot of squirrels and chipmunks jumping around.

Once I got to the top I was pleased to find an impressive set of rocks jutting out westward through the mist. The rising sun provided enough heat to move the cloud coverage for a better view of the valley - what a spectacular sight. Looking down the cliff was a thrill. There was a lot of graffiti at the Rocks.

It is totally worthwhile to hike the rest of the loop that is shown on the HikingUpward. I met two people the entire time out, a man from the valley on his morning hike and one was a thru-hiker making her way to Maine with her canine friend. This is definitely a hike to bring a friend on, you will want to share the views.

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