We mostly went on this hike because of my dad. However, I ended up enjoying it too.
If you enter at the Afton Mountains North entrance on the Blue Ridge Parkway, drive south for 10 miles. The overlook is clearly marked with a “Ravens Roost” sign. There are plenty of parking spaces, a few picnic benches, and a lot of room to stretch. Also, there is a famous tree there that is photographed by many.
|Famous Tree: Search GOOGLE for “the most photographed tree ravens roost”, then click on images|
My dad was told by a friend of his that the cliffs below the overlook are good for rock climbing. So I went with him to scout out the climbs.
Warning: You should not attempt this hike without adult supervision. The path down to the bottom of the cliffs is not an official trail. There are many spots that are technically difficult to descend. Many trees have fallen, and cross the trail at the worst spots.
You can hike to the bottom of the cliffs by walking towards the left side of the parking lot. The hike begins where there are two slabby boulders. It is fairly apparent as to which direction you need to go. Because we were being careful, it took about 20 minutes for us to climb to the bottom of the cliffs. Dad would go first and look for solid places to put my feet. In addition, the fallen trees crossing the trail were a pain. Someone needs to trim those down.
We finally made it to the bottom, then we started to look up the cliffs at all the possible ways a rock climber might want to climb up with the proper equipment. This mountain is in the Catoctin Formation of the central Appalachians (that’s another topic all by itself.) However, to me, that mostly means the mountain is made of basalt with other stuff mixed in to make it look green.
|For More Information: Check out The College of Williams & Mary blog post:|
Glimpses of the Past: the Catoctin Formation – Virginia is for Lavas by Chuck Bailey
After a little while exploring the bottom, we hiked back up the trail and that was a lot easier than hiking down. It took us about 10 minutes to get back up. At the top we enjoyed the scenic overlook for a while. Many cars had arrived since the hike started, so we didn’t spend much more time there.
|“SIGHT OVER CONES / RAVENS ROOST”|
Maintop Mtn 12M – Bald Mtn 6.2M – Cellar Mtn 9M – Tory Mtn 1.7M – Alleghany Mtns 25?
Shenandoah Valley 12M – Waynesboro ? – Turk Mtn 16M
I would say that this hike is one of the top five – I usually don’t find places where I can climb outdoors.