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Punchbowl Mountain to James River

Difficult
 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Hike up and down Punchbowl Mountain only to descend toward the James River Footbridge along Rocky Run Row.


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Map Key

10.9

Miles

17.5

KM

Point to Point

3,351' 1,022 m

High

676' 206 m

Low

1,814' 553 m

Up

3,318' 1,011 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

43%

Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek · Views

Overview

This is a not too difficult, one or two day-hike that gives you two great views from Bluff Mountain and Little Rock Row. Lots of campsite locations and a good water source give you everything you need to make this a great hike.

Need to Know

If you aren't planning on doing this as an out-and-back hike, leave a car at the west end and have a friend shuttle you back to the start.

Description

Park right off Blue Ridge Parkway at Punchbowl Mountain Overlook and connect with the AT by crossing the road. You'll start with a decently difficult climb up Bluff Mountain to find a near 360-degree view of the surrounding area. Continue with the descent of the mountain, most of which is flat or slightly declined. You'll meet a good amount of switchbacks as it turns into a significantly heavier decline.

At 9.2 miles, you'll hit Johns Hollow Shelter which is actually a really nice shelter with a ton of tent/hammock space right next to it. Also near the shelter is a running stream and a privy. You can either hike the extra mile to the parking lot or spend the night to turn this into a 2-day trek. Since the shelter was already swarming with boy scouts, my buddy and I decided to hike onwards to see where else we could pitch for the night.

About 0.25 miles past the shelter there is a very nice clearing with a couple fire pits and a bunch of wood ready to burn. Past that about another 0.2 miles is another camp spot right off the trail. Both are right next to a stream providing a good source of water refills.

Overall, this is an easy hike...don't let the almost 10 miles in one day scare you, since most of it is downhill. Bluff Mountain and Little Rocky Row are both truly great viewpoints and worth taking the trip to see.

Contacts

Shared By:

Drew Lensing

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3546

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#106

in Virginia

#3,546

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Photos

The views from Rocky Row are why you make the climb.
Jan 21, 2017 near Glasgow, VA
Looking toward the James River Face Wilderness Area and the James River.
Dec 10, 2018 near Glasgow, VA
Fuller Rocks -  AT - Looking South East
Jan 21, 2020 near Glasgow, VA
The trail can be quite leafy along Rocky Row Run Creek.
Jan 21, 2017 near Glasgow, VA
I am starting to escape the cloud cover on the trail to the Rocky Row.
Jan 21, 2017 near Glasgow, VA

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Nov 5, 2017
Zoe Green