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McAfee Knob

 4.6 (34)
Trail Mapped Wrong?


7.4 Miles 11.9 Kilometers


1,374' 419 m


-1,372' -418 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (13°)

3,164' 964 m


1,998' 609 m



All Clear 1 day ago
Dry History

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The Knob has a panorama of the Catawba Valley, North Mountain, Tinker Cliffs, and Roanoke Valley.

Donovan Fitzgerald

Overview [Suggest Changes]

This route takes you to what is widely considered one of the most iconic locations on the AT in Virginia.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife [Add/Remove]

Description [Suggest Changes]

The journey begins north of the the parking lot where the AT crosses the VA-311. You have two options to ascend to the Knob. This mapped trail takes you up the AT on singletrack. The trail starts out by following the eastern side of the ridge as it moves up in elevation. Within the 1st .25 mile the trail meets a fork whereas if you take a left you'll end up on the McAfee Fire Road and a right takes you down a little bit and continues on the AT. The AT meanders up the ridge as it passes two shelters, the first being the Johns Spring Shelter and the second being the Catawba Mountain Shelter.

Around the 2.4 mile the AT crosses the McAfee Fire Road and people taking either route will follow the AT the rest of the way to the Knob. The rest of the way the AT moves over to the western side of the ridge and begins to provide views in the direction of Catawba. You'll pass under transmission lines and head into a section of trail that is lined with large boulders.

You'll reach the knob around the 3.8 mile point and the views and rock formations are amazing. Due to the sites popularity, you're not likely to get to enjoy this location in solitude, but at least someone can take some epic pictures of you and whomever you bring.

After taking some time to allow your legs to rehab, you return the way you came until you reach the point where the AT crosses the Fire Road. A right on the McAfee Fire Road keeps you on the top of the ridge as it returns you in the direction of the parking lot. Along the Fire Road you'll be treated with fantastic views towards both Salem and Catawba. As you proceed down the road, you'll come to a park sign on the right hand side. Just past this sign on the left you'll find the connection to the AT and the final section that leads to the parking lot. Please be careful crossing VA-311. There are curves leading to the crossing point and the drivers do not have a lot of time to see pedestrians.


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Your Check-Ins


Jun 16, 2018
Eric York
First time there. Great hike. Great view. 7.6mi
May 30, 2018
Mary Schaeffer
Apr 8, 2018
Brian Meier
Beautiful day with snow on the way up that melted on the way down. 7.4mi
Apr 5, 2018
Jessica White
Bundle up. It can get windy and chilly. Fire road is nice and flat for smooth walking.
Apr 2, 2018
Damion West
Mar 31, 2018
halfway to philly. stopped off for a trail run 8mi
Mar 17, 2018
Monica Tretola
Mar 16, 2018
Jesse Dailey
Awesome, a bit windy in March though. 8.8mi — 5h 00m

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Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 33 votes


  4.6 from 33 votes
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in Virginia


249 Views Last Month
2,330 Since Feb 1, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Pete Eshelman
Roanoke, VA
Pete Eshelman   Roanoke, VA
After your hike eat at the famous Home Place (family style) and/or grab a beer at Parkway Brewing. Apr 27, 2017
Hey I’m heading to the knob this weekend... where’s a good place to camp overnight in a tent? Where I can get a map and plot? Apr 10, 2018

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