Trail

Humpback Rocks

South River, VA
Length: 1.60 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

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Humpback Rocks is a short trail with steep elevation gain, and beautiful western views overlooking the Shenandoah Valley.

From the parking lot, the trail immediately starts to climb up a gravel path broken up by constructed wooden steps. The trail here is very wide and well-maintained, though there are still roots and rocks that pose as potential trip hazards. There are also benches spaced throughout this section for water, snack, and rest breaks as needed.

At the base of the bluffs the incline increases. There is a set of wooden steps, and above them the trail becomes more technical, with several rocky passages and tells steps that can be difficult for little legs. This section can also become quite icy in the winter, but includes a lot of mud for puddle jumping after rain when it is too warm for it to freeze.

Once you finish your climb, the trail splits, with the overlook to the left, and the trail connecting with the AT to the right. Continue left for a beautiful outcrop that offers incredible views and makes a great place to stop for lunch.

The trail used to make a lollipop route and followed a loop from the summit to reconnect to the path below the wooden steps, but that section has since been closed. Be aware when coming off the rocks that you make your way back to the trail you followed in, and retrace your steps to the car for a 1.6 mile circuit.

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Trail Features

Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 800 ft.
Carrier needed No
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Mud Puddles, Natural Play Area, Shaded Hike, Viewpoint, and Visitor Center

The highlight of this trail is easily the incredible views at the top. It is a difficult climb, especially for children, but the length makes it a good compromise in a short trail for kids and spectacular views for both kids and adults.

The rocks at the top can be dangerous, but with close supervision and keeping kids away from the edge, the outcrop makes a fun natural play area, especially before climbing fully onto the viewpoint.

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

There is a parking lot and visitor’s center right before reaching the parking lot for the trail. Here are bathrooms, rangers, and an interpretive historical site that has seasonal events and is well worth a stop when they are open. You can park here and add about half a mile to the trail, or explore the visitor’s center before or after your hike. The visitor’s center and historical area are stroller and ADA accessible.

Trail Contributor

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I am the Branch Ambassador for Hike It Baby Chattanooga. A native of Richmond, VA, I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and once my children were born started taking them on adventures with me! I am a portrait photographer and freelance writer, trying to hike my way through all the trails southeastern Tennessee has to offer.

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