Humpback Rocks Hike (BRP)

Departure Address: Humpback Rocks Parking AreaMap

Coordinates: 37.96846, -78.89656 Map

Parking: Humpback Rocks Parking Area, milepost 5.8Map

Total Distance: 2 miles round trip, 2.5 Hours

Elevation Gain: 720 ft

Food and Drinks: Bring a picnic!Map


Humpback Rocks is one of the most popular hikes off the Blue Ridge Parkway as it is only 30 minute drive from Charlottesville, six miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Rockfish Gap. I suggest you go for an evening (or sun rise) hike up. The Rocks are a good spot from which to watch the sun set over a superb view of the Shenandoah Valley. Plan to catch an evening with the best weather forecast for the sun set watching. I would also suggest you check Heavens Above website for the predictions of the International Space Station fly-overs and the Iridium Satellite flashes!

You will reach the rock outcropping at an elevation of 3,080 feet, after a steep 1-mile hike with elevation gain of ~720 feet. And you will get sweaty!

The temperature will be about 10 degrees lower than in Charlottesville or in the Valleys. What to bring/wear: non-cotton clothing and bring layers! In winter (or on windy days) you should be wearing hat and gloves too! You can also bring a blanket and/or sleeping bag to keep you more comfortable at the top.

Hang out at the top for a little while - I usually bring and eat my dinner (hot and spicy chili!) at the top. Bring some hot coffee, tea and hot chocolate (in a Thermos bottle) or take a camping stove with you so you can boil more water for hot tea or warm up your meal.

If you hike back down in the twilight or at night, bring a flashlight or a headlight, you will be in trouble otherwise.

P.S. From time to time, after snow/freezing rain/high winds, the Parkway might be closed. You should monitor the NPS website at here.

P.S.S. Notice that you can do this hike even if the BRP is closed/gated at the north entrance. Just take the old Howardsville Turnpike that paralels the BRP to the west - it is always open/cleaned because there are residences along the road (some quite impressive) and hop back to the BRP at milepost 5!


Recommended Gear:

Flashlight: mandatory for sun rise and sunset hikes.

Sleeping Bag: if you want to be comfortable in fall and winter.

Camping Stove: impress your friends.

Thermos Bottle: for coffee/tee/hot chocolate.

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