Tinker Cliffs

Outstanding views, a tough climb, a cool creek, cliff face and Scorched Earth Gap are just a few reasons to hike Tinker Cliffs via the Andy Layne Trail. Tinker Cliffs is the third leg in the Triple Crown of great views/hikes in this part of Virginia, along with McAfee Knob and Dragon's Tooth.

Trail Basics

Total Distance:
            7.2 miles
                3.5 – 4 hours of hiking total
What to bring:
                Good trail shoes, water, food, first-aid kit, maps, camera, backpack

**Hiking is strenuous and potentially dangerous. It is your own responsibility to be prepared for the circumstances into which you venture. The information on this page is provided as a courtesy only; it is not meant to replace proficiency taking care of your self in the wilderness.

Directions to Trailhead

  • Take Virginia 311 from I-81 at Salem, go 8 miles west to Catawba, turn right on 779 at Catawba, then travel 8.3 miles to trailhead, located on the right just past a bridge and turn in the road.
  • Alternate Directions: Go 1.5 miles on U.S. 220 North from I-81 near Hollins to Daleville and turn left 8.4 miles to the trailhead, on the left. Virginia 779 is also marked as Catawba Road and Bike centennial bike route 76.
  • The trailhead is almost exactly halfway between Catawba and Daleville on Virginia 779.

Trail Directions

The yellow blazed Andy Layne Trail begins at the rear of the parking area on Route 779 (Catawba Road). You'll cross two fence stiles before reaching the bridge crossing of Catawba Creek. 

After 1.2 miles you will arrive at a gate, and as long as you stay on the trail you are granted permission to go around the “No Trespassing” sign from the Roanoke Cement Co. The trail bears to the left around the gate, and in 100 yards bears to the right. The next portion begins the tough part of the hike, gaining 900ft+ feet before reaching the Appalachian Trail. One section has no switchbacks for about 0.4 miles and many stairs that have been put in over the last year that help make the section a better hike, but still leave the trail very steep.

1.8 miles from the gate you will reach the white blazed A.T. and stay right/south, this area is referred to as Scorched Earth Gap. Continue 0.6 miles south on the A.T. for a beautiful view to the north.

View to the northwest of Broad Run Mtn and to the Northeast of Fincastle.
1st view of Catawba Valley but a better viewing area is about 200 yards beyond.

Reach the summit at the 2nd view of Catawba Valley. Great place for lunch and taking in the views. McAfee Knob is clearly visible to the south. From here you will begin your return trip.

 Retrace your steps to return to the parking area.