A little “peace” of heaven just off the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Hiking Cumberland Knob, Birthplace of the Parkway

Cumberland Knob, Where the Blue Ridge Parkway Began

The Cumberland Knob Recreation Area offers a couple of nice hikes — one easy and one moderate to strenuous. It is located at mile marker 217.5 on the Parkway near the Virginia/North Carolina state line. The Parkway got its start in 1935 in this area. The recreation area was built shortly thereafter by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The knob takes its name from the 2,885-foot mountain named after William Augustus, duke of Cumberland and son of King George III.

The Trails

There are two trails accessible from the parking lot. The Cumberland Knob Trail is an easy 1 mile loop through the woods. The Gully Creek Trail is a 2.2 mile hike rated moderate to strenuous from the top near the parking lot down into the gully along the creek. The creek is pretty and peaceful. The trail crosses the creek 9 times before continuing back up the mountain.

Stop and rest at the stone shelter at the summit.

Hiking Cumberland Knob with Man’s Best Friend

Here’s a nice account of a hike on the Gully Creek Trail. It’s entertaining and gives you a good feel for the trail. They both seemed to enjoy the hike, especially Ol’ Yeller.


If you build up an appetite on your hike, enjoy a post-hike meal at one of our favorite restaurants in nearby Fancy Gap.


Plants and Critters

You’ll find lush woodlands, open fields, and birds. You’ll find various flora and fauna at Cumberland Knob.

Other Particulars

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway mile marker 217.5

Travel Time from Fancy Gap: ~25 minutes

Distance: 2.2 miles (loop)

Skill Level: Moderate

Highlights: Small waterfall and numerous cascades

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