Rocky Knob Recreation Area-Mileposts 1653–1690

Floyd, Virginia 24091

Rocky Knob Recreation Area-Mileposts 1653–1690

Rocky Knob Recreation Area-Mileposts 165.3–169.0 Professional Review and Guide

"Like Doughton Park in North Carolina (Mileposts 238–245), Virginia’s 3,589-acre Rocky Knob Recreation Area is a backcountry bulge from the Parkway that contains a trail system extensive enough to permit backpack camping. But unlike Doughton, with its various circuit hiking options, the 10.6-mile Rock Castle Gorge Trail is simply one big loop.

That makes it a strenuous day hike (except in sections). At first glance, backpacking trips seem similarly difficult, largely because the logical place to start, in the valley, is the location of the backcountry campsite where you should be ending up after a
day on the trail."

Rocky Knob Recreation Area-Mileposts 165.3–169.0 Reviews

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This spot is a very easy drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway which is probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing routes in the country. I recommend doing it on weekdays, hardly any traffic. I loved the views, but found the trails too "easy" for my liking. I like a robust hike to a mountain top to feel like I "earned" the view. There is one exceptional spot that leads to an open field which gives a supurb view north into the mountains of Virginia. I could see Sharp Top Mountain in the distance I sat there for an hour for peaceful contemplation.
Stopping at the viitor center is a must for this area of tails. The ranger I met, Mike, was very helpful in explaining the differences of the multi trails. The picknick loop was a nice little hike. The sighting of deer and a black bear were reminders that these are deep woods.
rock castle gorge is one sweet trail! Park at the rocky knob campground, I think it's mile 169, and cross the parkway to reach the trail. I took a left at this point to make the descent into the gorge. The descent is steep but the ascent back up is more gradual. You could obviously go the other way if you wanted. The gorge is awesome as is the few miles you are on the fireroad following the beautiful creek. Tons of wildflowers, and great views from grassy knobs. A very diverse hiking experiece. I did it in four hours, taking maybe 20 minutes to stop. Highly recommended!

Rocky Knob Recreation Area-Mileposts 165.3–169.0 Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
1.1-5.4 miles
Several options
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
The Blue Ridge Parkway 199 Hemphill Knob Road Asheville, NC 28803-8686 (828) 271-4779 (828) 298-0398
Local Contacts
USGS Woolwine; Parkway handout map, available in season at the visitor center and other facilities and online at
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018