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Blue Ridge Parkway
to Bluff Mountain
This moderate four mile round trip hike along the Appalachian Trail is featured in the book The Best of the Appalachian Trail Day Hikes as you'll hike to the 3372 foot summit of Bluff Mountain. You can add 0.4 miles to your hike and visit the AT Punch Bowl Shelter located near a pond.
From the summit of Bluff Mountain there are views of Shenandoah Valley and the surrounding mountains. There is also a plaque in memory of Ottie Cline Powell, a young boy who wondered away from the local school and died on this summit.
Bluff Mountain view
This hike has an overall elevation gain of 1269 feet, however the grades are moderate as you walk along the famous Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail runs near the Blue Ridge Parkway for nearly the first 100 miles of the parkway.
This hike starts from the small parking area located at milepost 51.7 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cross the parkway diagonally and follow the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail south. The trail immediately begins to ascend as you climb along the northeast slope of Punchbowl Mountain. After 0.4 miles reach the junction with a blue blazed trail that leads 0.2 miles to Punch Bowl Shelter.
The Punch Bowl Shelter located near the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Continuing along the Appalachian Trail you'll reach the tree covered 2868 foot summit of Punchbowl Mountain after 0.9 miles of hiking. The next 0.25 miles you descend into a gap before beginning the ascent up Bluff Mountain. After two miles of hiking you'll reach the summit of Bluff Mountain. A few feet south of the summit is the memorial for Ottie Cline Powell.
The Little Ottie Cline Powell Memorial located on Bluff Mountain.
Appalachian Trail - Parking Area to Bluff Mountain (2 miles - AT south) Elevation gain of 1269 feet.
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