Road Trip #6

Road Trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway: Waynesboro to Lexington, VA

Begin this road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Humpback Rocks, enjoy the view from Ravens Roost, and do a little bit hiking along the way.

Written by

Jason Barnette


April 19, 2019

The northern section of a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway is admittedly one of the sparsest sections, but that will just give you more time to enjoy what is there. Begin with the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center, enjoy the breathtaking view from Ravens Roost, and walk along an old logging railroad.

This is Section 1 of the Road Trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile drive from Waynesboro, Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina. Follow the link to learn more about the other sections.

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Section 1: Waynesboro, VA to Lexington, VA

45.6 miles

Waynesboro, VA

Waynesboro is a great place to spend the night before beginning a road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s also a convenient location for exploring the southern half of Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive.

The Waynesboro Heritage Museum is a good place to learn the deep history of the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. If you’d rather stay outside on a gorgeous day Waynesboro has three different historic districts to walk and enjoy.

This small town is starting to really grow big on the craft brewery scene. Stable Craft Brewery started in 2016 with a large tasting room inside a converted old barn. Basic City Beer Company is another great place to visit inside a renovated iron foundry. Both of these local establishments also have a pretty good food menu (because it goes perfect with craft beer).

If you really want to check out some craft beers try the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail with about a dozen locations between Lexington, Waynesboro, Staunton, and Harrisburg.

More Information

Visit Waynesboro, VA

North Entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway

The easiest way to get to the Parkway from Waynesboro is to follow Main Street out of town. Just across a river at the edge of town the road becomes Three Notched Mountain Highway and climbs up the mountain to an intersection with I-64. If you’d rather arrive by interstate you would take Exit 99. The exit ends at Three Notched Mountain Highway (Highway 250). Pass beneath the interstate and look for a short road on the right leading to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

1. Humpback Rocks Visitor Center at Milepost 5.8

Click to enlarge

The Humpback Rocks Visitor Center is the first place you’ll find information about the Blue Ridge Parkway on this road trip. Even if you already have everything you need it’s a great first stop. The visitor center includes a small information desk, gift shop, and a place to collect your National Park Passport stamp.

While you’re there be sure to visit the Outdoor Farm Museum. It’s located at the end of the parking lot along a very short and easy to hike trail. The outdoor exhibit includes a frontier house and garden space.

At the Humpback Gap Overlook at Milepost 6 you can access the Humpback Rocks Trail. The 7.8-mile roundtrip hike includes Humpback Rocks, Humpback Mountain, and the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area. A popular day hike is the 2-mile roundtrip hike to Humpback Rock that includes a strenuous 700’ climb to a breathtaking view.

2. Ravens Roost Overlook at Milepost 10.7

The first time I pulled up to this overlook it literally took my breath away, although I do have to admit that’s because it was about 30-degrees and a stiff blowing wind hit me kinda hard. But when I came back a year later on a warm summer day I was once again amazed by this stunning overlook.

A stone wall along the edge of the parking lot is the perfect place to grab a seat and look over the flat terrain of the Shenandoah Valley. It’s rather amazing to think this is still part of the Appalachian Mountains. Just a little further down a concrete walking path is a beautiful sight at Ravens Roost: a single pine tree growing in the rocky cliffs.

This is a stunning view and one of my favorite places on the Parkway to hang a hammock. In fact that last time I visited I wasn’t alone; a group of four other day trippers strung up some hammocks and joined me.

3. Yankee Horse Ridge at Milepost 34.4

A lot of the scenic overlooks you’ll come across on the Parkway have grown up over the years and no longer offer a view. After awhile you get kinda used to it and when you pull off the Parkway to see nothing but trees you don’t even stop. Don’t make that mistake at Yankee Horse Ridge.

I wanted to stretch my legs the first time I visited this overlook. Walk up a few steps and you’ll find a railroad track embedded in the ground, spanning a small creek on an old wooden bridge. It’s the remnants of an old logging railroad, one of many that used to cross these mountains.

4. Highway 60 at Milepost 45.6

From this intersection it is just 5 miles along a curvy road into the town of Buena Vista, VA and then an additional five miles into Lexington. You can also access I-81 just before reaching Lexington.

Lexington, VA

The best way to spend an evening getting to know Lexington is with a horse drawn carriage tour with Lexington Carriage Company. They’ll tell you all about the history of this town and point out some great places to visit like the Stonewall Jackson House. Talk a stroll through downtown Lexington to browse locally-made arts and crafts in various galleries and shops.

Grab a table at The Red Hen, a “farm to table” restaurant, or Bistro on Main for some amazing food in comfortable atmospheres.

More Information

Visit Lexington, VA

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