Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,400.00 ft (426.72 m)
Trail type
8.30 mi (13.36 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

McAfee Knob is part of what is known as Virginia's Triple Crown. It is one of the most popular hikes in southern Virginia along the Appalachian Trail. The hike totals 8.3 miles out and back hike, and it is well worth the view. The parking lot is relatively small, so it is recommended that you get there early in the day. This is also a very popular area to watch the sunset on a clear day, but make sure to bring flashlights to make the 4-mile trek back to the car. McAfee Knob is the tallest mountain in the Catawba area, and its 270-degree panoramic view is spectacular.  

Parking is off of Highway 311 on the opposite side of the trailhead. Use caution when crossing the street, as cars move fast and don't always stop for pedestrians. From the trailhead, it is a steady climb up the mountain along a typical Appalachian Trail path. White blazes show the way. After this first portion, the trail links up with a fire road, making the middle portion of the hike a relatively easy incline. About 1.3 before the overlook, the path joins up with the typical Appalachian Trail once more. As this is along the Appalachian Trail, the path is well marked and easy to follow.  

The view from McAfee Knob is breathtaking. If you choose to hike this in the winter, you probably will deal with less crowds, but some of the trail can get icy, so use caution. The lack of foliage in the winter opens up the views along the trail, making up for the loss of colors in the fall or spring.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Beautiful views


Can get crowded

Trailhead Elevation

2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)

Highest point

3,400.00 ft (1,036.32 m)


Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


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