McAfee Knob

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

Note: The McAfee Knob hike is one of the most popular hikes along the entire Appalachian Trail and sees a tremendous amount of hiker traffic. It is ideal to hike this on a weekday as weekends are very crowded. Vehicles not parked in the parking lot are subject to tow. Please read specific rules and regulations.

Trail Description

  • Approximately 7.5 miles round trip.
  • The 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 on to McAfee Knob. Follow the white blazes – which are 6-inch 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 before 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.

Rules & Regulations

  • Maximum group size for day hikes is 25 people
  • Maximum group size for backpacking/camping is 10 people
  • No alcohol
  • Bring lots of drinking water
  • Bring a flashlight as groups often lose track of time and are hiking back in the dark
  • Dogs must be on leash at all times
  • No camping or campfires on McAfee Knob or Tinker Cliffs
  • Practice Leave No Trace
  • Pack out all trash
  • No camping or campfires outside of the seven designated shelters/camping areas
  • Visit local A.T. C. Club for more details

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. 311N). 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.

Add-on Adventures

  • Finish your day with a great meal at The Homeplace, a restaurant famous among thru-hikers. To reach The Homeplace, continue north on Rt. 311 for about 1 mile to a large white farmhouse on the left.
  • Grab a beer at Parkway Brewing Co.
  • See a baseball game! Click here for Salem Red Sox schedule.

Nearby Breweries

  • A Few Old Goats Brewing (AFOG) Expand Collapse

    A Few Old Goats Brewing is a 2-barrel system brewery located in the Old Southwest area of Downtown Roanoke at the West End Flats. Owners Tom Kincaid, Curtis Reed, and Ken McGraw were active homebrewers before opening this location in July 2018. The tap room is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Beers choices include red ale, porter, light ale, stout, saison, IPA, New England IPA, and special and seasonal offerings.

    Indoor and outdoors seating (bring your own chairs). Food truck on site for dining most evenings.

  • Big Lick Brewing Company Expand Collapse

    Big Lick Brewing Company was Roanoke’s first nano brewery and taproom; while it has grown the idea that it is “specializing in craft beer with an emphasis on quality and variety” has not. You might find anything from a cream ale to IPA to porter at any given time.

    The taproom is open Wednesday through Saturday. Bring your growler for a fill-up to go.

  • Deschutes Brewery Roanoke Tasting Room Expand Collapse

    Taste a craft beer (or two) in historic downtown Roanoke. Whether you’re biking through town or coming from an Appalachian Trail adventure, the tasting room is a great stop to experience great beer and great conversation. Deschutes Brewery souvenirs are available for purchase, as well as regional-sourced snacks, and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

    Open daily.

  • Ober Brewing Company Expand Collapse

    Ober Brewing Company is a family-owned micro-brewery and taproom, focusing on sourcing as many local ingredients as possible, to create high quality enjoyable craft beer. Dave Ober studied brewing at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and has been homebrewing for about a decade.

    Open Wednesday-Saturday.

  • Olde Salem Brewing Company Expand Collapse

    Located at the very heart of Salem Virginia’s Historic Main Street District, Olde Salem Brewing Co. exudes history. The building was constructed just 114 years after the town was founded in 1806 by James Simpson; and was home to a well known appliance store for decades. Olde Salem believes its craft beers hold a piece of that history in every glass.

    Open Tuesday through Sunday.

  • Parkway Brewing Company Expand Collapse

    Parkway Brewing Company is a 4 vessel, 30 bbl micro-brewery with a 17,000 barrel capacity, in Salem, Virginia, specializing in distinctive ales for the discriminating beer enthusiast. Founded in 2012, Parkway Brewing offers several beers exclusively on-site, as well as flagship beers sold in bottles and kegs throughout Virginia.

    Random live music, from old-time bluegrass to blues and rock, and a variety of food trucks make this a destination for weary travelers who need a break from driving on Interstate 81. A casual, low-key vibe, along with some stellar brews keep the locals coming back for more. Family friendly and boasting an outdoor beer garden, Parkway Brewing has become one of Salem’s most unique and welcome community assets.

    The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday.

  • Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers Expand Collapse

    Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers opened in Downtown Roanoke in 2014 and features a mix of styles including Kolsch, Belgian white, IPA, APA, nut brown ale, porter, and seasonal specialties.

    The brewery is just four blocks from Hotel Roanoke and the Roanoke City Market. Stop by to sample what’s new or hang around for the weekly cornhole tournaments or live music in the tasting room.

    The tasting room is open Thursday through Saturday.

Nearby Food

Nearby Shopping & Gear

  • Body by Parkway Runner’s Club Expand Collapse

    The running group is a “ great place to make new running pals and ‘earn’ your favorite craft brews,” says Keno Snyder, owner/manager of Parkway Brewing Company. Get your card punched after each run and with three finishes, earn a pint for a penny.

    • Activities: The weekly 5K run starts at 6 p.m. on Thursdays at Parkway Brewing, follows the greenway and comes back to the brewery, which is open for tastings and will have food options from an area food truck.
    • Who should join: Anyone who enjoys a good run (and a good brew)
    • Cost: Free
    • Contact info: info@parkwaybrewing.com
  • Hunter’s Den Expand Collapse

    The Hunter’s Den in New Castle is a one-stop shop for hunting needs (rifle and archery).

  • Just The Right Gear Expand Collapse

    Just The Right Gear is a full service mountain and road bike shop located on Route 311 as you head to Carvins Cove. As a factory authorized dealer for over a dozen of the most respected brands in the cycling industry, the shop offers a comprehensive selection of bikes. Whether you’re a hardcore mountain biker, a leg shaving roadie or a casual greenway cruiser, there’s a bike for you.

  • Sherwood Archers Expand Collapse

    Sherwood Archers is a private archery club serving the Roanoke Valley of Virginia. Sherwood is affiliated with the Virginia Bowhunters Association. The purpose of the club is to foster, expand, and perpetuate the practice of all phases of archery and to encourage the use of the bow in the hunting of legal game. The range consists of one 28- and one 14-target field course, a five lane indoor range and seven outdoor practice targets.

    As a member of Sherwood you have the opportunity to participate in archery events such as indoor winter leagues, 3D field tournaments, and you can shoot at your leisure. Sherwood has picnic and primitive camping areas available for member use.

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