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McAfee Knob - Appalachian Trail

McAfee Knob is the most photographed site along the Appalachian Trail. The Knob has an almost 270 degree panorama of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the west, Tinker Cliffs to the north and the Roanoke Valley to the east.

Directions to Trailhead

  • From Roanoke - take I-81 south to exit 141.
  • Turn left at the traffic light onto route 419 (Electric Rd.) and follow 0.4 miles to next traffic light (Rt. 311)
  • Turn right onto route 311N and follow 5.6 miles to the top of the mountain
  • The trailhead parking lot is at the very top on the left. Be careful turning into the parking lot as it is a semi-blind turn

Trail Description

  • Trail begins on the opposite side of Rt. 311 from the parking lot. Cross Rt.311 with caution
  • You will travel north on the Appalachian Trail (AT) on to McAfee Knob
  • Follow the white blazes - which are 6” rectangular paint marks placed periodically on trees at eye level
  • After ~0.3 miles you will come to an informational kiosk
  • You will cross four wooden walkways prior to reaching the Johns Spring shelter
  • You will then cross five more wooden walkways before reaching the Catawba Mountain shelter
  • Next you will cross an old fire road and a power line clearing
  • Continue 0.5 miles further and turn left onto the McAfee Knob spur trail to arrive at the lookout in ~30 yards
  • Retrace your steps or turn right once you reach the alternate fire road for your return trip

Add On

  • Finish your day with a great meal at the Home Place - a restaurant famous among thru hikers. To reach the Home Place, continue north on Rt. 311 for ~1 mile to a large white farmhouse on left
  • Sample craft beer at Parkway Brewing Company
  • Go see a baseball game! Click here for Salem Red Sox schedule