Hiking is wonderful exercise that allows you to surrounding yourself with the beauty of nature. Virginia is one of the most beautiful states to hike in and provides many amazing trails to travel. It is practically impossible to rank all the hiking trails in Virginia since they all have stunning, breathe taking views. However, McAfee Knob and Crabtree Falls have been described as the must-do hikes in Virginia.
McAfee Knob is located in Roanoke county and is one of the most popular hiking trails in all of Virginia. The trail is also one of the longer trails available, reaching to about 8.3 miles in its full glory. At the trails summit, the Knob has a 270 degree view of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain towards the West, the Tinker Cliffs to the North, and the Roanoke Valley to the Eastern side. This sight is nothing short of breath taking and awe inspiring which has helped it become one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail. In fact, the view has been used for the Appalachian Trail’s posters, postcards, and calendars.
As we all know, hike preparation is the most important aspect when hiking. The area surrounding the immediate McAfee Knob does not permit camping. With that in mind, park officials recommend that if you plan on doing McAfee Knob as an overnight backpack that you should plan the hike to the Pig Farm Campsite.
Crabtree Falls is in Nelson County and is a shorter hike compared to McAfee Knob, in which it is only about 3.8 miles in a round trip. Despite its short distance, Crabtree Falls is nothing short of a beautiful hiking trail. Crabtree Falls has one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Virginia and it also happens to be the tallest in the state. Overall the Crabtree Falls hiking trail can be divided in 3 distinct sections; the lower, middle, and upper sections. The lower section is the tallest of all the sections, despite its name, and has many drops along its sections. The middle section is just a single drop through a trail of moss and trees. The upper section encompasses the Crabtree Falls and has a great view of the Tye River Gorge. This section also marks the end of the Crabtree Falls hiking trail. However, if you’re looking for an extended hiking trail, you can continue onto the Spy Rock route at the end of the Crabtree Falls trail.
The Spy Rock route leads you to the top of the beautiful rock dome, Spy Rock, that provides an amazing 360 degree view of the Religious Range, the Priest, Mt. Pleasant, the Three Ridges, and St. Mary’s wilderness areas. An experienced hiker can combine the Crabtree Falls hiking trail with the trail of Spy Rock to have a day full of beautiful views of waterfalls with amazing vistas. Keep in mind that the full hiking trail to get back to the Crabtree parking lot is about 13.9 miles.