New shuttle to carry hikers to McAfee Knob trailhead
Visitors to one of the most popular points along the Appalachian Trail will have a new way to get there beginning Friday.
McAfee’s Knob – a rock outcropping atop Catawba Mountain – draws nearly 50,000 visitors a year.
And Martha Hooker – a Roanoke County supervisor – says the parking lot nearest to the Knob just hasn’t been able to keep up.
“So this will really help as the popularity continues to grow that we can accommodate in a more friendly way with all the parking and convenience quite frankly for the ridership to the trailhead so that they can enjoy their hike,” Hooker explains.
She’s talking about a new shuttle that will drop hikers off at the trailhead. That’s possible thanks to a grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
Riders will get on the shuttle at an existing park and ride near exit 140 of Interstate 81. It’ll leave every 30 minutes on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and occasional Monday holidays – including Labor Day. Tickets will need to be purchased ahead of time online. They cost 10 dollars for a round trip – plus booking fees.
VDOT will also begin work next year on a pedestrian bridge project that will allow hikers to safely cross Route 311 at the trailhead. That project is expected to be done by fall 2024.