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Catawba Mountain via Appalachian Trail

Salem, Virginia

Catawba Mountain via Appalachian Trail is a 6.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Salem, Virginia that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.2 miles Elevation Gain: 669 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips


bird watching


27 days ago

The trail is fairly easy. 3.6 miles in. A little rocky. The view is the gem. Pack a headlamp and stay for the sunset.

28 days ago

Thanks to whomever maintains this trail bc it was neat as a pin even though it was super crowded. Glad I finally got to see it! People listening to loud music coming from their phones are a nuisance & are depriving themselves and everyone around them if one of the best parts of the outdoors.

29 days ago

Fantastic trail. Pro tip. When returning; use the fire road if you are not a hiking purist!

Nice trail, go out the fire road and back on the AT.

1 month ago

2 months ago

Great day for a hike! The trail is well traveled and in good shape. water was flowing from heavy rains, but the trail was mostly dry. Take it slowly and the reward will be one of the most memorable moments of your life. But...take a jacket and gloves for the knob as it is windy and cold at the top! What a wonderful way to spend the day.

2 months ago

no shade
3 months ago

A nice group hike in balmy 50 degree weather. A relatively difficult hike for novice hikers, but overall everyone had a good time

I would not classify this trail as easy, more of a moderate hike. Perhaps compared to the AT in general but not in comparison to other day hikes.

Amazing views!! I jogged it (partly on the fire road) and it took under two hours but this would be a pretty hefty hike. Worth every minute though.

Absolutely beautiful this time of year!

Via fire route- would call it a strenuous walk this way. Perfect if you’re a little out of shape like myself !

If you do the trail suggests here on the app you only get to the halfway point of McKafee’s Knob. Wish I had know that or else i would have gone earlier in the morning. Where this hike ends is in the middle of the woods no view but geat for a brisk workout.

Nice trail, bring extra clothes for when you reach the top( brrrr ). Also check the weather before you go, very foggy this morning poor visibility at the overlook

4 months ago

Awesome hike! Slightly rocky, but well kept

Classic hike, definitely can be packed if the weather is nice as it is a popular one. Great one for dogs and if you take the fire road it’s a good option for someone who needs something a little easier. When you go, make sure to visit The Homeplace after for a meal; be ready to wait for an hour or so

4 months ago

Nice easy day hike in the fall. Elevation gain largely spread out across the trail with a slight increase the last mile.

8 months ago

Nice trail. We took fire road back, and we made great timing. I would say this trail is moderate, and the payout is worth every step. Beautiful!

Beautiful. Took the Fire Road

Wed Jan 02 2019

No wonder this is the most photographed place on the Appalachian Trail! The view from the top is amazing. The hike was moderate in difficulty. Took the fire road back. Lots of resting spots with more amazing scenery.

Fri Apr 13 2018

Fri Nov 03 2017

Fun trail! Easier for the NOT so fit.

Thu Oct 26 2017

I took the Catawba Mountain Trail/Fire Road back down to the parking lot on Rt. 311 after hiking up the AT for the spectacular views at McAfee Knob. There weren’t many views on the way down, but I still enjoyed the return trip. The trail was also a little easier. The combination made for a very memorable hike!

Wed May 29 2013

Hiked to McAfee's Knob and farther which was a breathtaking view. Absolutely loved it, I would love to go again sometime!

road biking
Sun Jul 01 2012


Thu Jan 19 2012

Great hike to McAfee's knob, I've done it several times.

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