June 5


Tinker Cliffs – [2024 Update] Unofficial Trail Guide

Written by Brian Bailey

June 5, 2021

Appalachian Trail, McAfee Knob, Overlook, Virginias Triple Crown Loop

Tinker Cliffs Statistics


Distance in Miles


Elevation Gain in Feet


Hike Time in Hours


Iconic Picture Spot

tinker cliffs trailhead yonoke

Tinker Cliffs - Unofficial Trail Guide

 Cliffs       Nature Walk        Appalachian Trail  

Tinker Cliffs via Andy Layne Trail is a difficult but rewarding hike near Roanoke, Va on the Appalachian Trail. The Andy Layne Trail is a private spur trail, therefore no camping is allowed until you reach the Appalachian trail near the top of the overlook. 

The summit of Tinker Cliffs overlooks Catawba Valley and McAfee Knob and is a short hike to an overlook of Carvins Cove to the south.

Editor's Note: We try hard to be accurate in our reporting but please always use multiple references before driving to a trailhead as trail amenities and conditions can always change.

Tinker Cliffs Trail Location & Conditions

Tinker Cliffs Best Picture Locations

Once you reach the top of Tinker Cliffs, it will be hard to find an overlook that isn't incredible.

tinker cliffs yonoke

Is Tinker Cliffs on the Appalachian Trail?

Tinker Cliffs is directly on the Appalachian Trail. The white blazes run at times almost parallel to the cliffs.

How long of a hike is Tinker Cliffs?

Tinker Cliffs via Andy Layne Trail is a 7.3 mile round trip hike with over 1,900 feet in elevation gain

Is Tinker Cliffs open?

Yes, Tinker Cliffs is open. In April of 2020, the National Park Service closed a section portion of the Appalachian Trail that included Tinker Cliffs but was later opened.

Tinker Cliffs Directions

Tinker Cliffs Parking Lot is located on Hwy 779 Catawba Road in Troutville, Va. Because there is no physical address for Tinker Cliffs trailhead, you'll want to Google "Tinker Cliffs Parking Lot" or "Tinker Cliffs Andy Layne Trail" to get Tinker Cliffs directions. 

Tinker Cliffs Difficulty

  • Tinker Cliffs Elevation gain is 1,945 ft. 
  • Tinker Cliffs length is 7.3 Miles.
  • How long does it take to Hike Tinker Cliffs? A little over 4 hours

Tinker Cliffs difficulty would be considered high due to the elevation gain and trail length. This would be comparable to Mcafee Knob Hike which has a length of 8.0 Miles and an elevation gain of 1,800 feet and considerably harder than Dragon's Tooth with a length of 4.5 miles and an elevation gain of 1,200 feet. 

Tinker Cliffs Triple Crown

Tinker Cliffs, Mcafee Knob & Dragon's Tooth are three of the main attractions to the Virginia Triple Crown which is a 27.7 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. Virginia Triple Crown can be experienced as one way trip or a loop through the three key points. If you decide to do the triple crown, you'll want to give yourself 2-3 days and pay close attention to where the Virginia Triple Crown Water Sources (Source: Reddit) are available

Murder Hole near Andy Layne Trailhead

Murder Hole is a privately-owned open cave in close proximity to the Andy Layne Trailhead that has sparked fascination and mystery from disappearing cows to the location of Beale's Gold Treasure. Here is a link to the official Murder Hole Documentary.

You might also like: 20 Best Hikes Near Roanoke Va

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