To continue our ongoing series on hiking around Charlottesville, Dina and I took advantage of a perfect Spring day and drove up to the base of Humpback Rocks hiking trail. We had been forewarned that this hike was pretty strenuous but we figured we are still young enough (at heart) that it would be worth a try.
If you are approaching the parking area from the north, you will first come upon a visitor center and parking lot for the Humpback Rocks Homestead, an old farm operation that was dates back to the early 1800's. This little area is worth a walk through and blog post of it's own so I will leave that to a later date.
Go past the visitor center parking on your right, about a 1/4 mile further south, on your left, you will find the parking area of the hiking trail. Follow the obvious well graveled path on a steep incline and you are on your way.
Dina and I both agreed that the most difficult part of the hike was this first section, which was up along a well maintained wide path with no obstacles except your own lungs and burning leg muscles. A few rustic benches dot the path for the weary and we took advantage of several of them. Why hurry? Those big rocks up there will be available all day!
Once you reach this staircase, you will know the trail is about to become much more rough. Still steep, you won't be chugging along at pace. During this section you will need to watch your step and occasionally even bend down and use your hands to balance against the larger boulders. On this day in March, there was still some ice in the path and some mud that made things a little more treacherous.
Once you reach the top, the trail levels out and you can evaluate which of the rock outcroppings you might like to scale for the best views. Words cannot very well describe what you'll find up there, and even these pictures do not it justice. I am unfortunately a little afraid of heights, and it was a little windy there at the top so I didn't spend much time enjoying those views as I could have. Dina was more brave and most of these pictures are from her camera.