Angels Rest Overlook – AT Day Hike, Camping – Pearisburg, VA

The hike to Angels Rest Overlook is on a segment of the Appalachian Trail located in Pearisburg, VA. Directions from Blacksburg: 460W for ~25 miles, take the exit for SR 100, turn right onto Johnston Avenue, turn right onto Morris Avenue, and drive for a half mile until you see Appalachian Trail signs showing where the trail crosses the road. Google Maps shows Morris Avenue as SR 793 but the Eastern Divide Ranger District brochure shows it as SR 634. I’m not sure which is correct. Roadside parking is located a few hundred feet past the trail intersection and only provides enough space for two to three cars. There are no restrooms or water. Hiking, walking dogs, and backcountry camping are the primary activities on the trail. Cell phone service was at medium strength. The following Google Map includes markers for backcountry camp sites and a spring-fed water source.

The hike to the Angels Rest Overlook is 1.7 miles and to the Wilbrun Valley Overlook it is an additional 0.6 miles. This hike has an elevation gain of 1,600 feet, from 2,000 to 3,600.

The first part of the trail is easy because it has a moderate slope. It is well marked with white blazes for the Appalachian Trail and blue blazes for both the Angels Rest Overlook and the spring-fed water source.

I had a lot of fun on this trail because it is well maintained and, yet, still has a very wild feel to it.

For the most part the trail is smooth and well-shaded. The following is one of only a few rock outcrops.

I witnessed two interesting insects crossing the trail but I do not know what they are, do you? Update: one of our Facebook fans has identified the following as Narceus americanus, a large North American millipede.

Similarly to Dragons Tooth, the latter half of the hike has a steep slope but the main difference being that this hike has very few rocky sections and no sections where bouldering is required. I don’t recommend this hike for toddlers because it is very steep. Angels Rest Overlook is located on the ridge of Pearis Mountain and marked by blue blazes. It is a large boulder with a great view to the northwest.

The following is part of the view from the boulder.

The subsequent video shows the full panoramic view, although somewhat limited on a cloudy day.

Near Angels Rest, I saw the following flowers which I believe are blooming mountain laurel. It can be easily confused with rhododendron and both are toxic.

From Angels Rest, I followed the AT white blazes 0.6 miles south to the Wilburn Valley Overlook. This 0.6 mile hike is fast and easy because the trail is flat and smooth. If you have time, I highly recommend hiking to this second overlook.

I spotted three sets of backcountry camp sites between the Angels Rest and Wilburn Valley Overlooks. I marked all three on the Google Map above using my Google Phone. The first set was on the right side of the trail.

The second set can be found by following a trail with blue blazes and that is marked with a sign that says “0.2 Spring”. This set is adjacent to a small fresh water stream.

The third set is on the left side of the trail near the Wilburn Valley Overlook.

The Wilburn Valley Overlook is mentioned on the sign near Angels Rest but is not identified after that. It is easy to find because it is only a hundred feet off the left side of the trail.

I enjoyed the Wilburn Valley Overlook more than Angels Rest because its view was wider and included a larger area with which to relax. The next video shows a 360 view from the rock featured above.

In sum, this hike is rewarding but vertically challenging. I highly recommend it for adults but not for toddlers. Other Appalachian Trail day hikes I have enjoyed include McAfee Knob, Dragons Tooth, and Kelly Knob.


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