Explore Appalachian Trail: Virginia: Best Day Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This month marks the 80th anniversary of the #AppalachianTrail, which passes through 14 states from Maine to Georgia. . With so many access points along its approximate 2,190-mile route, this trail is not only an excellent option for thru-hikers and section-hikers, but also day-hikers and those looking to escape into nature for a few hours. . To honor the Appalachian Trail, we have compiled a list state by state of some of our favorite day hikes along the AT. Check out this list for Virginia and help us celebrate the legacy and natural wonder of this trail!

Appalachian Trail: Virginia: Best Day Hikes Map
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Excellent hike! I was initially intimidated but pleasantly surprised with the level of ease I was able to do this. Straight up, straight down. The weather was lovely (low 80s) and all of the other hikers were very friendly. The overlook is completely worth the hike.

Heavily traveled, iconic photo spot. Parking can be difficult. If you want an easier option, hike up the trail and down the fire road. I have done this on sunset hikes.

Was there today, did the trail clockwise, it starts with a steep climb, had to take several breaks on my way to the summit, but it was ok, and the summit wasn’t that far. The rest of the trail was mostly downhill so it was pretty easy too. It took me around 2,5 hours or so. I expect the trail to be a little harder counter clockwise, will be doing it that way next time. Definitely can recommend it. The summit view is amazing!

The hike is really steep the closer to the top you get. The views are good but not the best. Once you’re at the top it’s better just walk the ridge about an extra mile to the Pearis Ledges were there are some amazing views. There are lots of deer around and I steeped on a black snake stretched across the trail. Coming is pretty difficult because it’s so steep and you practically have to run in some spots.

Great hike! Lots of fun.

We got out by 7am to beat the crowd. Great hike but kinda did it in reverse taking the fire trail up and came back all the way on the AT. The view is worth the hike which I rate as moderate, not hard. Amazing view!

Great view at summit and rewarding for a short hike. Fair amount of traffic.

trail running
8 days ago

Wild horses and cattle

It was awesome view up there. trail was not that hard. you can finish in around 4 hours if you are doing hiking once in a month or 2.

Absolutely breathtaking

Love this Trail. We started out from Whitetop and rode back up from Damascus, having to use horn at times as most people didn't expect any body coming up. The weather called for light rain but the natural forest canopy repelled the few showers and it cleared later in the day Took us about 4.5 hours total riding took and hour off for lunch in Damascus. Damascus may be the place to stay if you want rentals or only have time to ride one way as several vendors offer bike transport to the trail heads to let you ride downhill. Take tools, watch the ruts, and check equipment periodically for loose bolts and such. Had a blast. Must be beautiful in Fall

Coordinates this website gives you (Start/End) are not correct. Look for DQ in Pearisburg (as others mentioned), go behind it, on Jonston Rd, then Cross St. The road goes up for 3/4 of a mile, look for sign "Angel Rest" on the left, the trailhead also on the left. There is no parking lot, park on the side of the road.
Hike continues in pretty dense forest almost all the way up. You will see deer. Steep hike. Got soaking wet with sweat. View is better on 2nd overlook (Willows Valley, I think), 0.6 miles furher on AT.

Nice little hike with my brothers during a family reunion in Salem in June 2015. Great weather and view in addition to a little geocaching.

What a great spot. We sort of “cheated” as we didn’t have a lot of time and simply hiked an out and back up the Appalachian Trail to Cole Mountain and back. Took maybe 25 minutes heading up, 20 back down. For the minimal effort, you can’t beat the views. Flies were pretty bad at the top, but below the tree line were not an issue. The last 1.5 miles driving to the trail is on a gravel road...road wasn’t in bad shape but there were a couple of rough spots to be mindful of. We plan to come back in the fall to hike the entire loop and enjoy the sweeping views, minus the flies!

Fun waterfall trail, heavily trafficked (in June) at the falls but less so towards the AT. The pup loved it too!

This was our first hike in Shenandoah, and it certainly has set the bar high!! We followed the advice of other posts below to ascend on the Salamander Trail which connects to Hawksbill. About a quarter mile from the summit, there is a pile of rocks on your left, we climbed up and saw some amazing views!! Don’t miss it! I took my 8 month old Irish Setter, and he did great. The descent on the Hawksbill gap is somewhat steep, but not anything to worry about. As others mentioned, the parking lot does fill up quickly. We started our hike at 8:00 AM, and there were only a few cars parked. When we returned at 10:00 AM, it was nearly full with people everywhere. Also, there was no line to get into the park, but by time we left there were 10+ vehicles waiting to get in. One thing to note, the description says the entrance fee is $20 - it’s actually $30! Have a great hike!!

Incredible view at the top. Parking lot fills up quickly. Make sure to bring water, theres not any along the trail.

Nice little hike. The toughest part was the first half mile or so until you get to the top of the ridge line. Overlook at Kelly Knob was so-so. The morning we went we were in the clouds so the view was almost completely obstructed. Met three thru-hikers on the way. All-in-all it was a very nice hike.

Fantastic hike and awesome view! Quite heavily trafficked (crowded) on a Friday. Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club member staffed the parking lot with trail info and water.

Did it today visa the Lower Hawsksbill parking lot and Salamander trail. Lots of amazing views! The rocky outcropping at the summit is a fun (optional) scramble. This one seemed to be a popular one for families

The hardest part of the hike is the first mile in a half. Very Rigid and steep. After that it's very moderate and straight forward. The knobs view is slightly obstructed from the overgrown vegetation. Primitive Camping sites we're Ideally located and clean, Beautiful Moutain laurel flowers everywhere and friendly chipmunks scattering about.

Very nice trail, marked well, an easy hike for an avid hiker with slow uphill gain.

Loved it! Spectacular views. I have arthritis in my knees, hips and lower back. It was easier going up than coming down. The slope coming down put a lot of pressure on my hips and back. My 5 year old niece handled it no problem.

This is a great hike for people who want to see wildlife. I started off early morning around 8 and saw 4 deer, a cat, and a black bear with a cub. Be sure to bring protection and know what to do in a bear encounter! I did neither and got pretty shaken up. Didn’t even notice how difficult it was after that.

The views were amazing and I think this hike is definitely worth the trip! Not only were the overlooks pretty but the hike itself was really pretty as well.

I know this is the hike everyone in VA talks about, and rightfully so, but they are far better hikes in Virginia. The view is great, but the reason people love this hike is so they can sit on the edge of the overhanging rock and get a picture, plain and simple. The hike to the overlook is not very strenuous or entertaining. It’s easy to moderate and rather boring. This is a good trail, but not up to the hype that preceded it.

For a hike of similar length, Old Rag Mountain is superior. Fun hike with a mixture of a wooded trail and lots of rock scrambling. Panoramic views.

A shorter hike to mention is Sharp Top Mountain which also has panoramic views and a more strenuous hike than Mcafee at half the distance.

Loved this hike! Several smaller overlooks to stop at before hitting the summit and neat changes in landscape. This might be a new Shenandoah favorite. Took three pups and they all did well.

Great experience for families with elementary and middle school-aged kids.

Beautiful hike but challenging. Loved the view on top but saw two rattlesnakes on the way down that spoiled the day.

After a brief, steep climb, the trail goes up and down for a bit before the real climbing begins. Though not steep, there are enough rocks and roots on the path to keep things interesting. Around mile 4 you will pass some huge boulders. After another half-mile or so you reach the exposed cliffs and the iconic photo spot. Take a lot of pictures, eat lunch, then retrace you steps back to the parking lot. We hiked on a Wednesday and the trail wasn't too crowded (we saw an equal amount of AT hikers and day hikers).

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