Humpback Rocks Loop

A short, moderate trail run along the northern edge of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Trail Running Moderate

Distance
6.1 km
Ascent
345 m
Descent
345 m
Low Point
652 m
High Point
995 m
Gradient
12˚
VIEW ON MAP
Humpback Rocks Loop Map

Description

The Humpback Rocks Loop is a short, moderate trail run along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Runners have the option for a shorter 2-mile out-and-back jog to the overlook or this 4-mile loop paired with a small portion of the 2,200-mile long Appalachian Trail.

According to Wikipedia, "From 1851 until the early 20th century, wagoners hauling cargo used the bygone road Howardsville Turnpike to go between Howardsville and the Shenandoah Valley.3 Often the travelers camped at Humpback Gap." In an effort to preserve the region's rich history, there is now a visitor center with exhibits and a picnic area located along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Beginning at the Humpback Gap Trailhead south of the visitor center, the path climbs steadily for one mile up Humpback Rocks Trail. After gaining nearly 700' of elevation, you'll reach a trail junction. A spur trail to the left leads to an incredible vista from an exposed overlook. Atop the cliff, you are welcomed with sweeping views of the Shenandoah's in the distance.

For some extra views, follow the Appalachian Trail south to the official summit of Humpback Mountain. Runners often venture this further along the AT, while hikers stick to the loop.

Instead of retracing your steps back down Humpback Rocks Trail, follow the Appalachian Trail northbound as it gradually descends the east side of the mountain. Most of this segment follows an abandoned road, providing a relaxing run back to the trailhead.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HumpbackRock

Difficulty

Moderate

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November