8News Daytrippers: Get ‘breathtaking’ views on the Blue Ridge Parkway

(WRIC) — If you drive just an hour and a half from Richmond, you can feel like you are on top of the world! You’ll have to do some work to get up there, but the payoff is worth it.

“It’s pretty fun,” says JMU student Kylie Hegemier. “It’s a short hike but uphill.”

A short hike is right — it’s less than a mile — but Humpback Rocks is also mostly straight uphill.

The popular trail is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway just a few miles from I-64 interchange and the Afton mountain.

Good Morning Richmond anchor Morgan found a lot of hikers hitting the trail on a brisk morning.

“Bring water and be ready for some exercise,” Reilly Shifflett said.

The trail includes terraces, steps, crossings over several small springs and plenty of rocks.

Morgan found out how strenuous the hike can be.

“I’m not going to lie, some of these rocky uphill sections like this rough here. It gets the blood flowing,” he said. “It’s a good workout!”

The trail, winding up the side of the mountain under a canopy of trees with a gentle breeze, is a nice climb with plenty of points to stop, rest, and take in the scenery.

It’s also a popular destination for families looking for a quick getaway.  As promised, the view from the top is a treat.

“There is nothing to describe how beautiful it is,” Schifflett said.

“It’s breathtaking. It’s unreal,” Brooke Hester adds. “You can see so far.”

Morgan says he definitely agrees.

“This is what makes it worthwhile; these rocky outcropping, jaw-dropping, and panoramic views. You’ve got the Rockfish Valley behind me here and a panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley on the other side,” he said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

Morgan found the Hester sisters hanging out at the top, 3,000 feet above sea level (800 vertical feet above the parking area) enjoying the hard earned view with their dog.

“It’s worth it when you get up here,” the sisters said. “You feel really accomplished.”

And the good news, when you’re finished looking around on top, it’s all downhill from there.

“Now I don’t have to go to the gym today,” says Karly Thompson as she was headed back to the parking lot.

According to Morgan’s app, he burned 216 calories on the way up, and 464 calories during the round trip. The entire hike, which included stops to talk with other hikers and moments to enjoy the view, took right at two hours.

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