If you’re looking for an epic engagement session location, McAfee’s Knob will not disappoint. The summit boasts an iconic rocky ledge that is the most photographed place on the Appalachian Trail.
With 270 degree views, McAfee’s Knob is stunning for both sunrise and sunset. But I highly recommend a weekday sunrise engagement session or elopement here due to the popularity. There’s almost always going to be other people at this particular summit, but there will be a whole lot fewer people on at Tuesday at 6am than there will be on Saturday at 6pm.
Roanoke is the best home base for a McAfee’s Knob engagement session. The trailhead is only 20 minutes from downtown! It’s also 35 minutes from Blacksburg and an hour 20 from Lynchburg.
On the weekends — especially during the school year — the parking lot has been known to fill up so get there early if possible. Note if the parking area is full when you get there, do not park along the road! You will be towed.
The trail begins across route 311 from the parking area. (This can be confusing in the wee hours of the morning.) But the hike itself is simple. Simply follow the white blazed Appalachian Trail up to the summit. Alternatively you can take the fire road, which I find is a slightly more moderate hike.
The trail climbs about 1700 feet over the course of four miles and is considered moderately difficult. After you enjoy the summit simply turn around and retrace your steps back for an eight-mile round trip.
If you want to go for sunrise, but don’t want to hike up in the middle of the night, you can camp on this trail. However, camping is prohibited at the summit itself and is restricted to specific shelters on the Appalachian Trail.
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