Your Help is needed to Improve Access to the Trailhead to McAfee Knob


Your Help is needed to Improve Access to the Trailhead to McAfee Knob
McAfee Knob one of the most photographed points on the Appalachian Trail



Your help is needed to improve access at the trailhead to McAfee Knob on the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) are working to raise the funding required to purchase seven acres of adjoining property to the gravel parking lot, for the trailhead of the Appalachian Trail and the popular McAfee Knob.

The parking lot for the trailhead is located along State Route 311 which is a primary road. The lot sits on a mountain top in a bit of a curve which can be challenging for pedestrians to cross the road to start their hike. McAfee knob has become a very popular hiking destination which sees approximately 40,000 to 60,000  trail users annually. During the peak hiking season and beautiful weekends, the small parking lot can be overflowing with vehicles which causes its own issues.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has plans to build a pedestrian bridge from the parking lot across State Route 311 so hikers can safely access the Appalachian Trail. VDOT has approved a $2.9 million highway safety grant in funding for the project. The pedestrian bridge is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2025.

The National Park Service conducted a $300,000  Visitor use Management Plan/Development Concept Plan. In short, the plan was to identify current management issues and develop long-term strategies to enhance access, improve safety, and connect visitors to the Trail resources. Some of the improvement that is being considered is paving the lot, restrooms, and improved signage.

The seven acres of adjoining property is seen as key to making these improvements happen. The goal of the trail organizations is to raise the $200,000 need to purchase the property by the end of the year. The property would then be donated to the National Park Service. Significant donations have already been made but more funding is needed to complete this purchase.

It is said that volunteers are the soul of the trail, and the volunteers of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) are just that. They maintain and protect the 120-mile section of the AT. I have seen first hand of the trail work that the club has done on the AT and the Virginia Triple Crown. If you have hiked any of the 120 miles sections that the club maintains and have enjoyed getting that epic photo at McAfee Knob. Then I encourage you to head over to their website and make a donation for this effort. RATC is a 501c3 organization and all of your donations are tax-deductible. Or you can head over to the ATC website and make a donation there.









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