Sunset at McAfee Knob in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Appalachian Trail

As an “outdoorsy” person I am always on an endless ‘hunt’ for scenic areas and unforgettable views. It’s what I live for. However, one thing that I hadn’t done until recently is taking photos of nature, and now I can’t stop!

One of the photos which is especially dear to me is one of a sunset taken from McAfee Knob in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I took it during a weekend hike with my friend, and I remember this was the first time I brought a camera along with me. I had previously bought the best hiking camera that I could find, picked up my friend and drove ourselves to this part of the Appalachian Trail visible from Shenandoah National Park.

a blue ridge mountian sunset in Virginia on the Applachian Trail at McAfee Knob

the Sunset view at McAfee Knob

We took the VA 311 Route to the settlement of Catawba, left the car there and embarked on a 4-mile long hike. On the trail, we enjoyed some stunning views, and the trees sheltered us from the breeze and sun on this pleasant May afternoon. As we reached the top, it was almost 6 p.m. and my friend Lisa started panicking as she realized that we’d have to hike back down in the dark. Luckily, I was prepared and had a headlamp with me, so that fact calmed her down a bit.

We approached the edge of the Knob and sat down on the rock bending over the cliff. The main thing I remember was the silence. There was nobody around for miles; we were just sitting there peacefully and awaiting the sunset. I’ll never forget the colors – red, yellow, a dash of blue and purple, and how the sight filled me with awe.

It is nothing out of the ordinary, just a sunset,” I thought, yet I felt fully emerged in the moment. The sort of peace brought on by this sight is something that I’d experienced only a couple of times in my entire life. Looking back on it, the best part was that I could share it with my friend.

Finally, as the sun dropped behind the grayish-green mountains, it was time to head back down the trail. The darkness didn’t bother me too much as I had that feeling in the back of my head that everything will be fine; and, it was. We reached the car after about two hours of walking, and drove away with sighs of relief and smiles on our faces.


Happy Sunset Sunday

Melanie Campbell is an outdoor and camping professional who gives expert advice on camping and outdoor food. She runs a website called Ardent Footsteps, where you can find proven tips about how to make the most out of your camping adventure, from outdoor food to gear & equipment. Follow her on twitter @malaniecampbell


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  • Rohit Singh

    Thanks for the great job you have done, Nice Details…

    • craig zabransky

      you are welcome, I look forward to exploring more of this region myself soon and hopefully creating a podcast on the blue ridge area of Virginia… stay in love with VA, Craig