On September 30, 2021, officials from Roanoke County, the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center (CSC), the Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission and other organizations cut the ribbon to open the new Catawba Greenway. Hikers now have two additional parking locations for a McAfee Knob hike and a four-mile loop hike that connects two portions of the Catawba Greenway via the Appalachian Trail. AT thru hikers can now resupply at the Catawba Post Office without walking down busy State Highway 311 as well.
Volunteers from the region’s famed Mid-Week Crew, part of the Pathfinders for Greenways, laid out and built both sections of the Catawba Greenway, and they tell you about it here.
RESTRICTIONS. There is no overnight parking at the Catawba Sustainability Center (CSC) or Catawba Community Center, and there is no camping along the Catawba Greenway. See the RATC web page on McAfee Knob and Virginia’s Triple Crown for more details about camping on this section of the AT.
There are now four places to park for a McAfee Knob hike.
CATAWBA SUSTAINABILITY CENTER (CSC) – 5061 Catawba Creek Road (VA 779) is a two-minute drive from the McAfee Knob parking on VA 311. No overnight parking.
- Drive 1.1 west (left out of McAfee parking) to the bottom of the hill.
- Turn right on VA 779/VA-698 N and then immediate sharp right on VA 779. You will pass the post office and the Catawba Community Center. You will see two large old silos ahead on the right – that is the CSC.
- Just after a mailbox, turn right into CSC at 0.4 mi. after leaving VA 311. There are marked parking spaces for 25 cars, including 2 handicapped spaces. There is a wheelchair-accessible port-a-pot. The trail begins at the gate across the road. Follow the orange blazes!
- Round trip to McAfee Knob: a little over 10 mi.
CATAWBA COMMUNITY CENTER – 4965 Catawba Creek Road (VA 779). Same directions as above – you actually see it first. No overnight parking.
- Round trip to McAfee Knob: about 10.5 mi.
- There may be a Farmer’s Market or other community activity going on.
McAFEE KNOB TRAILHEAD – 4440 Catawba Valley Drive (VA 311). Main parking lot for McAfee Knob.
- Round-trip to McAfee Knob: about 8 miles.
- Frequently very crowded, especially Friday-Sunday in spring (March-May) and fall (September-November).
- See RATC page on McAfee and Virginia’s Triple Crown for more details.
CARPOOL PARKING FOR McAFEE KNOB TRAILHEAD – I-81 Exit 140 Park and Ride Lat/Long: 37.3071812, -80.0704427. Increase your chances of being able to park at McAfee Knob by decreasing the number of cars in your party. This lot has plenty of parking, especially on weekends, and overnight parking is allowed. It is about 10 minutes from the McAfee Knob trailhead via VA 311.
HIKING THE CATAWBA GREENWAY AND THE CATAWBA GREENWAY LOOP. In addition to a new access route to the Appalachian Trail, this new trail offers a 1.2-mile round trip wheelchair-accessible hike to a picnic pavilion, and a 4-mile hike that combines two sections of the Catawba Greenway with a section of the AT.