• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    10.8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2700 Feet

Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

This hike along the Appalachian Trail leads to two beautiful rocky outcrops with stunning views of the James River. 

Starting at the James River Footbridge, which is the longest foot traffic only bridge on the entire Appalachian Trail. Head north on the Appalachian Trail.  You will quickly cross over Rt. 501. 

After a mile of hiking through the woods skirting the Rocky Row Run stream, you will cross over Forest Road 812. There is an intersection with the spur trail to John's Hollow Shelter 1.8 miles into the hike. 

After 2.9 miles you will start to switchback up the mountain with 21 switchbacks in a row. This part is quite difficult, but after 1.1 miles of these switchbacks you will emerge onto the rocky outcrops of Little Rocky Row. This is a good place to stop for lunch. 

The best views of the James River are from this viewpoint. Therefore, if you want to turn your hike into an ~8.0 mile hike you can turn around at this point. 

To continue onto Big Rocky Row, keep heading north on the Appalachian Trail for another 1.4 miles. Keep in mind that you will gain over 550 feet in elevation on this portion of the trail. Big Rocky Row has similar views to Little Rocky Row, but is worth the effort if you have time. 

Once finished exploring Big Rocky Row, head back south on the Appalachian Trail for 5.4 miles to return to your car. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Elyse Clark Explorer

Explorer. Hiker. Photographer.

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