Located near the Virginia state line, Cumberland Knob was the site where construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway was started in 1935 as a part of President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps. It was therefore the first recreation area to be opened to the public, and is still a favorite destination for both locals and visitors.
The mixture of lush woodlands and open fields, housing a variety of birds and other wildlife, is ideal for leisurely walks or a more demanding hike to nearby Gully Creek.
While at Cumberland Knob, you can explore the Cumberland Knob visitor center to learn how to get the most out of your visit, enjoy bird and wildlife watching, take a leisurely hike through natural beauty or challenging hike to nearby Gully Creek, and rejuvenate and enjoy a packed snack or lunch at a picnic area.
Hiking the Cumberland Knob Trails
Welcome to the place where the Blue Ridge Parkway began. It was at Cumberland Knob more than a half century ago that construction of the nation’s first and, ultimately, longest rural parkway began. Besides its extensive picnics facilities, recreation field, and visitor center, Cumberland Knob, with more than 2,000 acres, has trails built for the enjoyment of both casual strollers and energetic hikers.
Download the Cumberland Knob trails map.
Cumberland Knob Trail
Cumberland Knob Trail is just right for those visitors who want to stretch their legs after a long drive on the Parkway. For an easy one-half mile walk, take the paved trail that starts near the visitors center and loops through the picnic area to the Cumberland Knob Overlook shelter. (This shelter provides refuge from summer showers, but is not for overnight camping.) The elevation change is only 100 feet, making this a good trail for taking younger children.
Gully Creek Trail
Gully Creek Trail is strenuous but rewards hikers with views of a delightful mountain stream and the many plants that live along its cool, damp banks. The vegetation here contrasts sharply vvith that of the dryer mountain slopes. Hikers can begin at the visitor center, although it may be easier to start from the Cumberland Knob Trail loop. Allow two hours.