had no idea how tough this Trail was going to be. My wife and I do not hike every day but we're in pretty good shape and this was exactly what we were looking for. highly physically demanding. Bring print plenty of water and food, we took frequent breaks so it took us 7 hours to complete the trail. don't make plans afterwards as you will be exhausted, I promise you

Loved this hike
Saw a small bear

Classic hike, one of the area’s best. High open vistas, deep coves, pristine Appalachian creek, historic structures, physically challenging, pretty much everything you’d want from a hike in this region. Not to be missed!

I've done this trail in the past. It's been awhile. Time to do it again this July. Can't wait!!

Make sure you are in good shape before attempting this hike especially if you have some age on you. it's not the going down but the coming back up that will make you wonder "what in the hell was I thinking". expect to spend at least 5 hours on this hike but it is very rewarding when you complete it. great views getting there along the overlooks on top of the parkway.

Great trail. Ascent up mountain is strenuous. But you can park at the top and still get the good views. At the bottom of the gorge there is a very cool boulder field.

Clockwise route seemed to be the best but was a rough climb back out to the top.

Great trail

on Rock Castle Gorge Loop

hiking
8 months ago

Definitely a tough hike... especially when you go clockwise. If you plan to hike the whole loop, make sure you get your bearings and go counter clockwise. It was a beautiful hike, however, the cow pasture near the two overlooks isn’t super well marked, just a heads up, but the rest of the trail was phenomenal

Excellent hike.

trail running
9 months ago

Great, challenging trail. I recommend running it counter-clockwise. Direction is less important for hiking. The descent when traveling clockwise is extremely steep and technical - more so than the descent when traveling counterclockwise. So you will be able to run more and hike less traveling counterclockwise. There is also a bit of route-finding in the pastures, especially the one closest to the campground. Doable, and easy to find again if you lose it - the trail stays pretty close to the fence line next to the Parkway.

A beautiful hike with lots of different things to see! Loved the huge rocks, old growth forests, the fence stiles were neat, the pastures and scenery were absolutely beautiful. However, this was the wrong hike to choose for your first. We went counter-clockwise as recommended for the easiest trip and it was still very hard. We couldn’t find the entrance and still don’t know where it is. We saw it on the hike but never on the Parkway. We started across the road from the information station. It was very easy hiking for about 5 miles then straight up a mountain for almost 2 miles! Getting to the top of the mountain is an awesome feeling. It is very long and strenuous but we would definitely do it again just not as first time hikers. Definitely recommend to experienced hikers or even first time hikers that are in great shape.

on Rock Castle Gorge Loop

hiking
9 months ago

Love this hike!

hiking
10 months ago

This hike has it all. Strenuous climbs, open pastures, woods, streams, views, and even an original AT shelter. I would suggest starting at the bottom of the gorge and getting the hardest climb out of the way at the beginning.

hiking
11 months ago

I liked it but I'm not sure if I'll do it again.

hiking
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rock Castle Gorge loop trail is 10.8 miles long and strenuous. The hardest part of the trail is the 3 miles between the primitive campground on the valley floor and the BRP campground. I advise taking this into account when planning your hike. The guys who recorded banging this trail out in 4 hours are monsters. It took me 6 and was pretty dog gone tough. I finished going up the steepest section last and it was hard. Best trail in the area imo.

it was extremely hard, but had absolutely beautiful view's.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Steep climb to start! Pasture land to cross (sadly, no bulls or cattle in the field), water to hear roaring and gurgling for a good bit of the descent, and some overlooks to take in along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

hiking
Thursday, February 23, 2017

Beautiful trail with a great personality. You'll see creeks, fields, and amazing views from the overlooks on the parkway! Turned out to actually be 11 miles.

hiking
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Great hike.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Really great trail. Lots of things to see! I hiked this one clockwise. Either way you choose (Clockwise or Counterclockwise) you will end up with a pretty tough incline at the end of your trip.

hiking
Sunday, February 05, 2017

I went end of January on a Saturday morning. The pastures we nice and open and none of the passages were to hard to navigate even with a small dog. There was a little foot traffic to at least give you the sense you weren't alone. Really enjoyed the scenic views! Worth the Hike!

hiking
Monday, November 07, 2016

This is the second time this year I am doing this loop. First time I left my car on the Blue Ridge and went clockwise. Coming back to the car with the long climbing was quite painful... So the second time, I left my car at the Rock Castle Gorge Rd (right after the CC Camp lane), and I did the loop anti-clockwise. Much better for my legs! Once near by the Rocky Knob, I could stop for a while, relax, have a good lunch ...and start the second part of the loop in good shape! Well, this is specially true when you are 60++, Before, you can enjoy it either way!

hiking
Monday, September 26, 2016

The Castle Gorge Trail/Loop was excellent!:)…10.8 miles……..I parked at the Gorge and went counter-clockwise, going up the steep accent first while my legs where fresh and that’s the best way to do it as most of the second half of the trail was going down. I took my time and stopped to eat and enjoy, it took me 9H15M, very nice and beautiful…….I will return and do it again and take even longer to enjoy the endless streams and water-falls. I did see bear poop, so beware and keep your eyes open.

hiking
Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rock castle gorge is a great trail with great views, lots of history, and a fun challenge. You can start at the top and see the grand views first, work your way through cow pastures down to the Gorge. Or you can start at the Gorge, where primitive camp sites are offered, and work your way to the grand views. Either way you will leave feeling very accomplished.

fishing
Friday, March 11, 2016

Trail closed March 2016 due to flood damage

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Loved it. Pretty easy trial, though we needed to have printed directions because we somehow missed the loop and just retraced our steps back down.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

We did the full Rock Castle Gorge loop, starting from the bottom at the trailhead off SR 605. Be sure to do this counter-clockwise. Right after the sharp right not far from the parking lot, the trail gets very steep- about 1100 feet of gain in a little more than a mile (20%). Hiking clockwise you'd get that as a tough descent on tired legs. Once the climbing is out of the way, you'll reach the Rocky Knob area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This area opens up as a meadow, leading to a couple of miles of spectacular views. You could also start the hike here from any of the overlook parking areas. The descent from the ridge is much longer. It follows Rock Castle Creek much of the way, making it an interesting trek through the trees. You'll pass through a couple of boulder fields, too. The trail finishes by following an old fire road, so the hiking is easier.
This trail has it all - climbs, views, creeks. The variety helps the miles pass quickly. It gets my highest compliment: I can't wait to do it again.

on Rock Castle Gorge Loop

hiking
Friday, August 14, 2015

Beautiful views. Steep climb up

Sunday, August 31, 2014

my boyfriend and I hiked from the Rocky knob visitors center. we parked at the upper end if the picnic area. we crossed the parkway and Turned right on the rc trail. it was beautiful views right off the bat. we could see the gorge and where we would be camping. we had no tent just sleeping bags and freeze dried food. and some coffee to make it out the next morning. take a tent with you we slept in weird glowing stuff. the campground is beautiful you can even fish so take a pole. I would recommend parking at the bottom near the primitive campground on the trail. we packed everything for 13 miles and we are both exhausted today. good luck

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