North Mountain Trail (Forest Trail #263)

Area Status: Open
Boulder and bike in forest

This challenging, rocky trail follows the crest of North Mountain for over 13 miles, offering views into both Catawba and Craig Creek Valleys. McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs are also visible from this trail. Multiple loop options are availble when this trail is combined with connecting trails and Forest roads. 

Trail open to: 

Trail HikingBicycle Riding



Thumbnail of North Mountain trail MapNorth Mountain Trail Area Map


At a Glance

Fees: No Fee
Open Season: Open year round
Restrictions: This trail is very steep and rocky in many sections. It is not recommended for horses. When recreating on Forest Service Lands, follow the Forest Rules for Visitors and Forest Supervisor’s Orders
Motorized use, including e-bikes, is prohibited. Trails are open to hiking, biking, and horseback riding. 

All visitors should follow Tread Lightly and Leave No Trace guidelines.   
Closest Towns: Catawba, VA - Roanoke County
Water: Drinking water is not provided. All water taken from natural sources should be purified before use.
Restroom: Restrooms are not available. Leave No Trace when disposing of human waste.
Operated By: Eastern Divide Ranger District: 540-552-4641
Information Center: For more information contact: Eastern Divide Ranger District 110 Southpark Drive Blacksburg, VA 24060. 540-552-4641 Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 - 12:00 and 12:30 - 4:30 Current weather conditions for Catawba, VA:

General Information

General Notes:
  • Trail Length:  13.36 miles
  • Trail Difficulty:  Difficult
  • Connecting Trails: 
    • High Knob Trail (Forest Trail #120); 
    • Grouse Trail (Forest Trail #188) 1.93 mi;
    • Deer Trail 1.31 mi (Forest Trail #186);
    • Turkey Trail (Forest Trail #187) 1.74 mi;
    • Ferrier Trail (Forest Trail #189) 5.0 miles; and
    • Lick Branch Trail (Forest Trail #262) 2.90 miles
  • Elevation:  1680 - 2800 feet
  • Trail Access Points: LAT 37.4018 LONG -80.1420
  • Trail Etiquette:  Trail etiquette for multiple use trails calls for bicyclists to yield to hikers.  Read the Sharing the Trail & Trail Etiquette Brochure
  • Trail Map: It is recommended that all trail users always carry a reliable map. This trail is shown on the Interactive Visitor Map and the National Geographic/Trails Illustrated Map #788.  Maps may be purchased at some local District Ranger Stations, at outdoor retail locations or by visiting the National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated website.


From I-81, take Exit 141 onto SR 419 North to SR 311 North for 10 miles. Pass Dragons Tooth parking lot and take a right onto Wildlife Road (FS 224).  Follow for 1.5 miles to Deer Trailhead.  Grouse and Turkey trailheads are just beyond, forming loops with North Mountain on the ridge.  

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking

Elevation desc 2999 feet
Difficulty Level: More Difficult

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
1680 - 2800