Hike to Angel’s Rest

I recently got back into hiking and thought it would be interesting to feature some of the hikes I go on. Angel’s rest is located in Pearisburg, VA and is part of the Appalachian Trail. Getting to the trail head may be a little tricky if it’s your first time going. Starting from the Dairy Queen in Pearisburg, begin on Johnston Ave. Turn right from Johnston Ave. to Morris Ave. Morris turns into Cross Ave. and the road soon becomes enclosed by the forest. Total distance from Dairy Queen to the trail head is about 0.9 miles. There is only room for about 5 cars to park alongside the road so I always try to get there early. Here are the approximate coordinates that can be typed into your GPS: 37.329303, -80.751666

View of the parking area

Quick Summary of Hike

Out & Back Distance: 5.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 1,781 feet

Total Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes (2.6 mph)

I added 1.2 miles to the hike by going past Angel’s Rest and on to Wilburn Valley View which was an additional 0.6 miles onward. I would highly recommend continuing on as this view was 10 times better than the Angel’s Rest view, plus it was mostly flat walking once you reach Angel’s Rest. 

Details of Hike

This hike will definitely give you a workout. When you talk about an elevation gain of 1,700ft in 2 miles, that’s a steep climb!

Beginning of the trail

I went on this hike alone. I had just read about bears so the whole time I was fairly nervous. This is not a very busy trail people wise such as the Cascades or Mt. Rogers. I didn’t encounter anybody at all on the entire way up. Once I got to Angel’s Rest lookout, somebody said they had seen some bears on the way up. Now I was really paranoid.

As I mentioned earlier, I continued on past Angel’s Rest to Wilburn View. The walk to this lookout was on flat terrain which was a nice reprieve from the previous elevation gains.

Every rustle I heard, I imagined I would see a bear. I would occasionally say things like “I’m here bears” or “don’t be startled by me”. The Appalachian mountains have a fairly large black bear population. Black bears are typically more shy and timid than grizzly bears. From what I’ve read, you would only really be in danger if you came between a bear and her cubs or if you startled the bear. If a black bear doesn’t run away when it sees you, you should look towards it, but not directly in the eye. Speak in a loud, low voice and raise your arms out to make yourself appear larger. If it still does not go away, start backing slowly away. DO NOT run away or climb a tree. If the bear does attack, your last option is to attempt to attack back.

I will say, after all that worry, I did not come across any bears.


Hard to see, but its a deer on the trail
Curious squirrel












The views from Wilburn Valley were amazing and very worth the extra hiking time.

Wilburn Valley Overlook
Wilburn Valley Overlook











I headed back toward Angel’s Rest and took in the view from there.

Angel’s Rest Overlook

The walk back down the mountain was so much easier than going up but you have to be careful not to trip or slide since it’s so steep.

Happy Trails!


  • Steveark

    Sounds like a great hike. Our son will be doing his residency in Virginia, we might get a chance to try that! At first I thought you were going to be talking about Angel’s Landing in Utah. That’s very crowded and kind of scary when you have to let go of the chain to let people pass going the other way! My wife and I much prefer more secluded and less touristy trails.

    • Capturing Cents

      There are all kinds of hiking trails here in Virginia! I plan to start posting more hikes so hopefully you will find them helpful. What part of Virginia will he be in?

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