Angel’s Rest is an overlook on the Appalachian Trail, located outside of Pearisburg, Virginia. It is notorious among thru hikers (those hiking the entirely of the AT from Georgia to Maine) for the strenuous climb to the top. But the view is worth it!
I first tackled Angel’s Rest in 2015 with my little sister. We had a great time, but I hadn’t been up there since. Barry and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary at the end of June this year, and Barry had never been up to Angel’s Rest before. I thought what better way to celebrate our anniversary than a morning of hiking and running in the woods.
This hike is no walk in the park. It climbs about 1,800 feet in just under two miles. The trail winds it way through dense forest, climbing gradually at first. The final half mile or so gets very steep, and the trail becomes more technical. It’s a good workout any day, but especially at the end of June with that Virginia humidity bearing down on you.
It’s not uncommon to see deer and squirrels along the trail. The Appalachian Trail also has a lot of millipedes (which kind of gross me out) and these cute little pipevine swallowtail caterpillars. This little guy is probably flying around as a pipevine swallowtail butterfly now.
The trail gets very steep for the last half mile, and I was definitely feeling it. But finally, Barry and I made it to the top and took in the view of downtown Pearisburg and the New River.
But here’s the secret about Angel’s Rest. For all of its hype, it’s not actually the best view. The best view is a little over a half mile along the (mostly flat) ridge line, at the Wilburn Valley overlook. If you make the hike to Angel’s Rest, it’s worth continuing along the AT to check it out.
See what I’m talking about?
This was our halfway point, so Barry and I hung out up here for a bit and enjoyed a snack above 3,000 feet. We met a group of four guys hiking along the trail. Two were thru hikers and the other two were “Lashers,” which I had never heard of before. Have you? It stands for “long ass section hiker.” Hah!
From Wilburn Valley, we headed back the way we came. We took a side trip to check out the backcountry camping area, and so that Barry could refill his water at the spring.
We ran most of the way back, except for sections that were really rocky or really steep. I love how narrow the trail gets and how dense the forest is along this section of the AT!
We finished with about 5.5 miles total. It was a great morning on the trail and the best way to celebrate 8 years of marriage. My how the time flies!