Fridley Gap, in the George Washington National Forest, has
a little bit of everything. From gentle mountain streams to
ridge climbs and a great swimming hole, this hike has it all.
The best part of this hike, which is nestled two hours away
from DC just south of the the town of Shenandoah, is its solitude.
Start by walking up FS65 (636 you were just on, not FS65A which
turns right uphill) to the orange blazed trail head on the left
side of the road at .2 miles.
Cross Boone run for the first time and ascend Massanutten Trail
South for .5 miles criss crossing Boone Run several more times,
until coming to the junction of the blue blazed Boone Shelter
Trail that comes in from the left.
Continue straight on the orange blazed trail as it gets steeper
before coming to a four way junction at a clearing in another
Turn left up Massanutten Trail South and reach the ridge in
another .5 miles before turning left and descends Third Mountain.
The trail will cross Fridley Run and turn right, ascend and
switch back before coming to the ridge line of Forth Mountain
1 mile from crossing Fridley Run.
Descend the Fourth Mountain ridge and cross Fridley Run in
1.4 miles. Take the left trail at the junction for 50 yards
and come to a swimming hole--a great place for lunch.
Begin your return by going 50 yards back to the junction turning
left on Massanutten South Trail for .1 miles.
Turn right on purple blazed Fridley Gap Trail. The next .8
miles is the steepest portion of the hike until cresting Third
Mountain and descending another .3 miles and reaching the junction
of Martin Bottom Trail.
Turn right on Fridley Gap Trail, gently ascending for .6 miles
to the clearing and four way junction you passed earlier. Continue
straight down Massanutten Trail South for the remaining 2.2
miles back to the parking area.
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Reviews For The Fridley Gap Hike (5 Most Recent)
I hiked fridley gap hike this morning with the goal of getting a great workout due to the several ascents it offers.. and boy did I! The first couple of miles starts off with a gradual ascent crossing Boone Run Several times. After crossing BR, you begin to hike up the ravine and at some points feel as though you are walking in a small creek (no worries, bring water proof shoes if its a wet season). As you near the top of the ravine the wind deafens any sounds around you besides a close chirping bird. I feel as though a lot of trees were cut down or there was a fire or controlled burn near the summit because the trees are very sparse and the undergrowth looks young not to mention several charred pieces of wood. at the top it kind of looks as though you could camp there, you head to the left. following the orange blaze to the left you get a great view of the valley as you traverse down. After less than 10 minutes of hiking down you begin back up an ascent that is about 400 ft in elv (took me about 30 mins). You reach the top and there is a great white rock that jutts out at the top of the mountain. You can climb up and sit down near the right middle and overlook the valley. I chilled for a while and just let the heavy winds cool me off while I observed the ant size structures spotted across the landscape. You begin a descent after this to the swimming hole. I did not check out the swimming pool whoops! From here you hike up the steepest part of the hike, it has a purple blaze. After about 900 ft of gain and .5 mile later you reach the top.. nothing awesome to see at this summit except for the grateful descent that follows. the descent like all the others.. was short and led to a fire road. the fire road led back to the intersection where you took a left to follow the orange blaze. follow the sign that says boone run shelter 2. You will see your car very soon, dont forget to stretch!
Fort Valley Man
Date of Hike: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
At Fridley Gap, next to the big pool, there is a rock shelter that is kind of cool. To the left of that is an unofficial trail marked blue, which mostly involves climbing up the rocky spine of that ridge. A bit scary in a few places, if you are afraid of heights. Great views and a lot of fun, though.
Date of Hike: Monday, January 21, 2013
Great Hike! The hike provides a fairly difficult terrain, with multiple stream crossings and steep ascents. Unlike the reviewer a few posts down, we didn't have any problem with clear trails. Everything was well-marked and free of fallen limbs. About halfway through the hike was an breathtaking view of the Shenandoah Valley. Above all, the best part of this hike is that no one hikes it. My group didn't see a single other hiker during our trip.
Great Hike. Would recommend.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 10, 2012
This was a great hike! We were a little hesitant about going after reading the review below, but the trail was in excellent shape. We ran into two volunteer organizations that had done a fantastic job cleaning up the trail- new trail blazes, building erosion ditches, bushwacking, clearing fallen trees. We followed the directions posted here and had no problem finding the trail head or figuring out where to go. The third mountain climb is definitely a leg burner! Straight up! Took us 5.5 hours to complete, which included multiple breaks to enjoy the day. There is a great overlook at the third campsite.
Date of Hike: Sunday, September 16, 2012
This hike, especially on the orange blazed massanutten trail after approach the four way crossroads is a bushwhack (until you come to the swimming hole). The trail is very overgrown, up to my neck in some areas, with several areas that have large downed trees blocking the path. I did not bring a machete, but would highly recommend this if someone attempts this in the future. Additionally, in some of the most heavily overgrown areas the trail is not well blazed (especially descent down fourth mountain), and one could easily get lost (bring a emergency shelter, you may need it). The only other people we encountered on this hike were at the swimming hole, otherwise, this one definitely earns its 5 for solitude. We did encounter one black bear on the ascent of 4th mountain. When we hiked this there still was a lot of tree cover, so it seemed like a large amount of effort without any particular view. Overall, this hike was not worth it, and had the potentially to be dangerous.
If you do go, the parking lot has erosion damage and I would not recommend parking a non-4-wheel drive vehicle there. Instead, there is ample parking on the pull offs on the side of the road prior to the trail-head on the left.