McAfee Knob via Appalachian Trail

MODERATE 579 reviews

McAfee Knob via Appalachian Trail is a 7.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Salem, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1591 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

This is a slow and steady climb to the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail. Base elevation is the elevation given at the parking area, 2,000'. The peak at McAfee Knob is 3,171', giving it some of the best views in the state. Please leave no trace and be mindful of trash! This trail sees a large number of traffic and has been having problems with rising trash, illegal camping and misuse of the area. The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club maintains this section of trail and volunteers regularly pack out trash and maintain campsites to keep it beautiful. Park rules and regulations are enforced: Maximum group size, day hikes: 25 Maximum group size, backpacking/camping: 10 No alcohol Dogs must be kept on leash at all times No camping or campfires outside of 7 designated areas ( north of Va 624/Newport Rd, the only legal campsites are Johns Spring Shelter, Catawba Shelter and campsites, Pig Farm campsite, Campbell Shelter and Lambert’s Meadow Shelter and campsites) No camping or campfires on McAfee Knob or Tinker Cliffs

hiking
5 hours ago

A very well maintained trail to one of the most photographed spots on the AT. If you know the night is clear & can pull yourself out of bed, wake up early & do this as a sunrise hike. A 270 degree view facing east makes it absolutely stunning. There’s a fire road to make the hike easier if you want which many do when hiking at night for the sunrise.

hiking
5 days ago

We took the AT to the overlook and then the Fire Road back down (as shown on the map.)
My friend was carrying 45-50lbs and I had 30-35lbs. This hike was brutal and we hike almost every weekend.
We finished the hike in less than five hours - but expect to take some breaks and allow plenty of time to enjoy the overlook! Also, everyone seems to congregate at the first part of the overlook. If you keep going, it’s much quieter and the views are spectacular!
We are training so we needed the brutal workout - but otherwise - take the Fire Road. There’s not much you’ll miss on the AT other than stone/wood/rock steps, steep inclines and descents, and sore calves that will stay with you for days. The views on the way are nothing short of amazing and the view from the top definitely makes it worth it!!!

9 days ago

Views completely worth the work! The uphills on the way back were just cruel. Followed it up with a trip to Deschutes.

hiking
13 days ago

We took the AT to the knob and the fire road on the way back. We started early, so there was plenty of parking and few people on the trail. By the time we made our way back, it was significantly busier. This is a tough trek and absolutely worth it.

16 days ago

My first visit but definitely not my last. We took the fire road to McAfee Knob. It was a lot easier I understand. My girlfriend, who has MS, completed this hike. Took us about 6 hours 11 minutes with stops for picture taking. I also took my dogs, a shihpoo & a boxer.

hiking
18 days ago

Awesome trail! It took us about 3 hours to complete with our dog. The views once you get to the top are gorgeous. A little chilly/windy at the top. We wish we would have taken more than just a snack and spent more time at the top enjoying the views.

hiking
19 days ago

This is one of the easier trails we have done. The views at the top are absolutely stunning. Lots of people on the trail. There’s a road you can take the majority of the way out for an even easier hike. Anyone can do this trail.

hiking
20 days ago

Well maintained trail and challenging hike but not strenuous. I thought it would be crowded based on the reviews. We went on Easter Sunday, and it wasn’t crowded at all!

hiking
20 days ago

Great views. You can pretty much walk on the ledge for 180 degrees around the top! Can't wait to camp here in Summer.

21 days ago

View from the top is worth every step. for those who want the views with a bit easier walk, the fire road offers a nice alternative.

hiking
23 days ago

So far my most favorite hike!! Views are worth it!!

1 month ago

This hike is fantastic - some of the best views I’ve ever seen. The trail is long, but not too difficult in terms of being steep. I found the incline to be gradual. The trail is very doable. Slow and steady wins the race with this one!

hiking
1 month ago

It is not the hardest hike, but it is a classic hike with an epic photogenic rock and view. The hike works any time of day as the view is northerly so the sun never gets in the way of your shots. Although it is not that difficult of a hike, when the weather is warm it pays to bring extra water. Parking is plentiful, so no rush to get there early.

backpacking
1 month ago

I did this trail at the beginning of March before the leaves came out. It made the views better all the way along the trail.

backpacking
1 month ago

Kind of a climb but once you’re at the top the view is so spectacular you won’t even remember the climb

hiking
1 month ago

Super nice trail hike, beautiful 270 degree view at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best views I’ve seen on a hike

1 month ago

Beautiful me and my girlfriend did it in 4 hours.Spectacular view at the top would do it again in a heartbeat!!!!

1 month ago

Beautiful views and great camping.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun and easy hike with what I imagine is an incredible view! Unfortunately it was 100% foggy, preventing you from seeing more than 10 yards ahead, but the fog did add a fun, erie feel to the hike. Terrain was easy and with an hour stop at the top took 4hrs to complete the 8 mi RT hike. Saw people in passing on the trail and a small group at the top but it never felt too crowded and everyone was super friendly! Will definitely be back on a clear and sunny day to take in the knob in all of its beauty!

hiking
2 months ago

I did an out and back on the AT section instead of the loop and the hike was still a must do in my books. Definitely worth the trip from PA. It's rated moderate because of the inclines but no scrambling. Lots of people. Lots of friendly pups. All the breathtaking views. And there was even a proposal to watch on the knob.

2 months ago

Gorgeous view, easy hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice hike. Easy trail until you get to the last mile, and then you get some good exercise. The trail stays in the woods until the last second which makes the view at the top just seem to jump out at you. I went on a cool day in fall and the trail was not as busy as I read about. I got to the top and had the view to myself for about a half hour.

3 months ago

Awesome hike. Stunning view at the top!

3 months ago

my best friend danny irving goes here to VT tech and loves this trail and raves about it all the time whatta guy this guy he is

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

This was a longer hike than I expected and probably because my 73 year-old mother joined us. I would say it was more easy than moderate. The views at the knob were amazing, but there is no scenic view on your way to the knob.

4 months ago

Great trail and the view from the top is absolutely amazing! Definitely worth the effort

4 months ago

awesome hike

4 months ago

We had a great time. Highly recommend if you find an opportunity to stop there to enjoy the view.

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