Rocky Knob/Rock Castle Gorge Trail

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.

Description

Elevation: 3209 ft.

This extensive, moderate to strenuous 10.8-mile loop trail ranges in elevation from 1700 feet to 3572 feet at Rocky Knob. Encompassing 4500 acres of land, this site abuts the boundaries of both the Blue Ridge Plateau and the Virginia Piedmont. Rock Castle Gorge, a 1500-foot ravine, carved by the waters of Rock Castle Creek, is the focal point of this trail. To avoid the most strenuous uphill sections, hikers can begin at the Rocky Knob Campground and head downhill toward Rock Castle Creek.

Spring can be very productive for large numbers of warblers, thrushes, and vireos. Cerulean, blackpoll and yellow-rumped warblers are likely to be found during migration. Nesting species include American redstart, black-throated green and Kentucky warblers, and abundant indigo bunting. This rejuvenated area contains over 60 species of native trees and 200 species of wildflowers. Wild turkey, red fox, woodchuck, white-tailed deer, and bobcat are local denizens.

Notes:

  • Start at the campground for an easier hike, the main trailhead along the road is more strenuous.
  • Several trails originate at this trailhead. The Rock Castle Gorge Trail is blazed with green.
  • A visitor center is located north of this parking lot, on the west side of the road near Rocky Knob picnic area. Check in at the visitor center and ask for a trail map.
  • Most services listed for this site are available at Rocky Knob Campground, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 167.
  • Some services may only be available during summer months.

Directions

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 169 (Services located at Milepost 167)

From Floyd, head west on East Main St toward North Locust St. Turn left at the first cross street onto VA-8 S/ S Locust St. Continue to follow VA-8 south for 5.9 miles. Take the exit ont the left toward Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn right onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Travel 3.9 miles to the Rocky Knob Campground. Continue past the campground, 2 miles, to reach the trailhead.

Notes: 

  • Enter Rocky Knob Campground when navigating to this site by GPS to locate the desired trail start point.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Information: 828-298-0398
  • Website
  • Access: Free, Daily

Birds Recently Seen at Rocky Knob/Rock Castle Gorge Trail (as reported to eBird)

  • Turkey Vulture
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • American Crow
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Eastern Bluebird

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Camping
  • Hiking Trails
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Parking
  • Phone
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms