Rocky Knob Blue Ridge Parkway VA

Rocky Knob Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 169

Rocky Knob is an out-cropping rock formation that is accurate to its name. Rock Castle Gorge is known for its beautiful rock crystalline quartz formations. Rocky Knob was one of the first developed areas built on the Parkway. Today the Rocky Knob area offers many diversions for the Blue Ridge Parkway traveler, including a visitor center, hiking trails, back country camping, picnic area, and a campground. The Rocky Knob recreation area covers more than 4000 acres. One of the largest parks along the Parkway, Rocky Knob serves as the main recreational area for the southern Virginia section of the road. Rocky Knob is chiefly a place for picnicking and camping.

While the park does not have the same array of resources that make other sites popular with tourists, Parkway engineers did take advantage of the local topography to offer wide-sweeping views of the surrounding mountains, which range in elevation from 2842 feet to 3972 feet.

A century ago Rock Castle Gorge was a substantial community of 30 families. Most residents were farmers who raised hogs and grew corn, and who hunted and harvested wild plants. The community’s traditional life was altered dramatically in the late 1800’s when industry entered the area. Independent mountaineers quickly became dependent on the cash income that nearby cotton mills and timber companies provided. Over the years, people moved elsewhere to work. By the 1920’s, fewer and fewer families called this place home.

Today nature has reclaimed the gorge with more than 60 species of native trees, 25 species of delicate ferns and over 200 species of wildflowers, wild turkey, fox, deer, bobcat and other animals roam the forest.


Visitor Center & Picnic Area

Rocky Knob Visitor Center is open during the season from May to Oct on weekends only. Stop by to ask a question or pick up a map. Brown-bag it and grab a table at the 72-site picnic area. The picnic area offers tables, charcoal grills, and comfort stations.

Campground & Cabins

  • 81 Tent Sites
  • 28 RV sites
  • 72 Picnic Sites
  • Telephone
  • Self-guiding trails
  • Fishing
  • Visitor Center
  • Campfire circle

Rocky Knob Campground has easy access to Rockcastle Gorge and is just nine miles from Mabry Mill. Reservations can be made for portions of this campground. This campground has a campfire circle that accommodates up to 150 campers.

The Rocky Knob Cabins, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, offer the only cabins for rent on the length of the Parkway. The Rocky Knob Cabins is accessed on the West Side of the Parkway at milepost 174.1

Hiking Trails

  • Rock Castle Gorge Trail (10.8 miles)
  • Black Ridge Trail (3.0 miles)
  • Rocky Knob Picnic Area Trail (1.0 miles)
  • Smart View Trail (2.6 miles)