Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 37.04312°N / 81.2322°W
Additional Information County: Bland
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 3691 ft / 1125 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Monster RockMonster Rock

No, "Monster Rock" is not paying homage to heavy metal rock-n-roll bands. However, the rock is very appropriately named, as it rises above the Monster Rock Trail portion of the Walker Mountain Trail in Virginia.
Monster RockRidgeline Near Monster Rock

Once a part of the original Appalachian Trail, Monster Rock used to be a semi-popular destination for hikers. However, the Walker Mountain section of the Appalachian Trail was bypassed starting in 1977, due to lack of water sources along the Walker Mountain ridgeline. However, the Monster Rock Trail/ Walker Mountain Trail can still be followed to the redirection point at Crawfish Valley. Since 1977, the Appalachian Trail was instead redirected through Rich Valley to Garden Mountain and along the southern edge of Burke's Garden, where multiple water sources are available during that stretch of the trail. As a result, Monster Rock lost popularity due to fewer visitors.

The trail starts just west of the Big Walker Mountain Lookout parking area. The trail starts at an elevation of 3466', rising over 200' elevation in less than 0.5 miles to Monster Rock. The trail follows the ridgetop, occasionally steep and always forested. Shortly before reaching Monster Rock, there is a scenic overlook (indicated by a sign) that has a gorgeous view northwest towards West Virginia.
Monster RockScenic Overlook

The tree-cover is dominated by oaks and maples, very typical of an Appalachian ridge. Rhododendrons and mountain laurels bloom along the ridgetop, including at Monster Rock itself. Deer are frequently found within the forest, as well as songbirds and hawks. Occasionally turkey vultures can be seen from the scenic overlook.

Getting There

From Wytheville, Virginia & Interstate-81:

1) Take Exit 70 (Highway 52) along Interstate-81.

2) Head north along Highway 52.

3) After 12.3 miles, Highway 52 ("South Scenic Highway") intersects with Old Mountain Road.
NOTE: The Big Walker Lookout area is on the west side of the intersection.

4) Turn left onto Old Mountain Road. Park in the small area next to Old Mountain Road, across the street from the trailhead. The trailhead is just beyond the western end of the Big Walker Lookout parking lot.
NOTE: DO NOT park in the Big Walker Lookout parking lot without permission.

Red Tape

The Monster Rock Trail is for day use only, anytime between sunrise and sunset. No special permits required.