Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center at Humpback Rocks

The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center at Humpback Rocks offers visitors a glimpse of the area’s natural beauty and of the lives of early settlers of the region. The Visitors Center, located at milepost 5.8, is a reminder of one of the most successful public works projects initiated under Roosevelt’s “New Deal”.

Built primarily during the 1930’s Great Depression, the Blue Ridge Parkway was a visionary project that linked the southern end of the newly created Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the northern end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Utilizing workers from the nearby mountains, out-of work engineers and landscape architects, conscientious objectors and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees, the parkway was generous in scope and design.

Located slightly past milepost five on the Parkway, the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center was renovated in 2000 with new exhibits that focus on the lives of early mountain settlers. The early European settlers of the Appalachian Mountains forged a living from the native materials so abundant around them. Hickory, chestnut, and oak trees provided nuts for food, logs for building and tannin for curing hides, while rocks were put to use as foundations and chimneys for their houses and stone fences for their livestock. Many self-sufficient small farms sprang up in the Humpback Mountain area.

Today, visitors can tour a collection of Nineteenth Century farm buildings at the Visitors Center. The Mountain Farm Trail provides access to the cabin and various outbuildings. The trail around the farm is open year-round, but buildings are open only during the summer months. Composed of structures relocated from nearby locations, this collection of buildings represents one type of mountain farm of the 19th century. During the summer months the area is staffed with costumed rangers who demonstrate mountain crafts and skills.

For visitors interested in exploring the natural beauty of the parkway, trails for every ability level are nearby. At milepost 6.0, you have your choice of a short trail detailing the geology and flora of the area or a longer more strenuous hike up Humpback Mountain and access to the Appalachian Trail. Humpback Rocks is a favorite destination in the fall to view migrating birds, especially hawks. Or, travel a little further to the Greenstone Parking Overlook for a low-key self-guiding nature hike at milepost 8.8. Although the trails are open year-round, most facilities close during the winter months.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is open to visitors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there is no admission fee to the Parkway. However, because of closings due to inclement weather, all travelers are advised to check the main park information line at (828) 298-0398 for the most up-to-date daily closures.

Amenities
Amenities
  • Child Friendly:
  • Handicapped Accessible: