The main attraction of the High Peak hike, located in the George
Washington National Forest, is the unbelievable picnic area
at Elizabeth Furnace. It is huge! Although there aren't many
views and the trail is somewhat rocky it's a great hike to take
with a group in the morning and then picnic afterwards.
Start on the right of the main parking area where a forestry
service bulletin board marks the hikes beginning. Follow the white trail markers through the picnic
for 0.3 miles until the trail intersects Passage
Creek and turns left uphill following the creek.
After 0.7 miles the white blazed connector trail intersects the
pink blazed Sherman Gap Trail.
Turn left uphill on the pink blazed trail for 2.5 miles for the steepest
portion of the hike as it traverses
the mountain then ascends steeply before reaching the ridge line intersention of the blue/orange
Side hike: If you like views and
don't mind a little more hiking go right/south on the old Massanutten
East trail from it's intersection with Sherman's Gap Trail
(Pink) for maybe 1/2 mile tops. To the left there is a small
rock ledge on a sharp point that juts out into the valley with
some stunted pine trees ... great view of the Valley and River
at the area of the river known as " The Point" for
obvious reasons. Just before this is a bit of a saddle. If
you find yourself hiking there in June you catch the sweet
scent of Fringe Tree (AKA Old Man's Beard). There is a thicket
of them to your left as you head south.
If you did not take the side hike above turn left/north and
follow the orange/blue blazed trail along the ridge for 2.3
miles, traversing High
Peak, before passing one of the only
campsites and arriving at a four way intersection where
the blue/orange trail now turns
Either turn left downhill on the blue/orange blazed trail or take the yellow blazed Shawl Gap Trail (opposite the camping area you passed 15 yards back) that is more direct, however this trail is no longer maintained and has many blow downs. Either trail brings you back to the picnic area. Continue straight through the picnic
area, arriving back at the car park.
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Reviews For The High Peak Hike (5 Most Recent)
I parked in the Elisabeth Furnace parking area, walked towards the right to the camping area where the big bulletin board was and followed the direction given and could not find any white trail markers for The High Peak hike anywhere. While the Pig Iron trail was an interesting distraction, I really wanted to find The High Peak Hike. Could anybody help to tell me what I did wrong?
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 02, 2010
Some friends and I were camping at Elizabeth Furnace on Friday night. Unfortunately, they had to bail late Saturday morning, so I searched through my trusty hikingupward maps (which I keep in my car) to find a suitable hike for me and the dog. I picked this one since it was shorter, plus it was on the east side of EF, which I had yet to explore north of Veach Gap. The first part of the hike along Passage Creek was nice, only ran into one family that was just wandering up and down the creek portion. Once on the Sherman Gap trail, I had it all to myself. The hike up Sherman Gap trail was pleasant at first, but towards the top it gets very steep and rocky. There is a nice spring near the start of the SG trail. The last part of the climb was very challenging! Some very cool natural rock formations towards the top. At the Sherman Gap/Massanutten intersection, we stopped for lunch. We chose not to do the side hike to The Point, mainly due to time constraints. The hike along the ridgeline was a pleasant relief. The blazes are sometimes hard to spot, especially the blue ones. One advantage of hiking with my dog is she always knows where the trail is, even if I'm not sure. The trail was not well traveled, as we knocked down upteen-skinnie8 spider webs along the way. Saw some fresh (<1 day old) bear scat on the trail, but no bears. Not any great viewing spots on the ridgeline, but still able to see some views through the trees. The trail along the ridge doesn't take you TO High Peak, you actually go just below it on the east side. We turned downhill at the next intersection following the blue/orange trail. We did not see any yellow blazed trail on the upper section, so we followed the orange/blue blazes. There was a HUGE blowdown near the top that was fresh and had to bushwack around. We came to an intersection that was not blazed, but I guessed it was the "yellow" trail mentioned in the directions. It looks like an old fire road. We took it straight down for a while, then picked up the orange/blue trail at the next crossover since my knees were complaining. There is an unmarked trail towards the bottom that goes left at the point where the blue/orange trail turns sharply right, we took it and it links up with the Pig Iron trail. We took the PI trail back to the picnic area. We started the hike at 12:30pm and finished just after 5pm. Overall, it was a good workout, and I'm glad I explored that area, but it was just "eh".
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 17, 2010
My 12-year-old son and I made this our first training hike for this summer's Boy Scout High Adventure camp, and found it nicely challenging with him carrying a 20# pack and me 30#. Solitude was a bit surprising because it was a gorgeous day only 20 or so folks near the stream - fishing for trout - nobody after 1/2 mile point. Trail is in good shape, only one or two blowdowns. We didn't take the yellow blazed trail coming down, so can't comment on it's condition - didn't see it at the intersection near the top of High Peak anyway. The climb from 0.75 miles to 3.2 miles was good and strenuous to get our hearts pumping. We didn't take the "point" side hike, but still thought there were great views at multiple locations along the ridgeline. Virtually no animal life except a fleeing bear briefly glimpsed 75 yards downhill and a few crows - not even a squirrel! Very few bugs, but it's still early in the season hiking this in low 60s and sunshine was ideal, though.  We started at 1PM and were done at 5:45PM, so we're thinking of bringing other Scouts here for a future half-day hike we liked it.
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 22, 2009
Have done the hike to Shawl Gap twice. The first time was in late fall and due to time of day, we did not do the loop but instead went counter-clockwise up the blue-orange blazed trail and then came back down. You can't miss the trailhead going this way as it runs along the east side of Passage Creek at the bridge between parking areas. I mention having done this because it was a nice hike visually going up this way.... lots of rock steps, etc. The impression coming down is fine, but visually different. On doing the whole loop in late August going up the Sherman Gap Trail as shown, it was a good hike overall. The trail seems a little spotty along the ridge line with full foliage out. We had four kids with us and the question came up a few times as to whether we were "on the trail." Bring plenty of water if doing this in summer heat. One final note, the more direct route coming down from Shawl Gap is referred to as an "old wagon road" by PATC. That trail is not shown on the PATC map "Massanutten Mountain - North Half Map G," which implies it's not a maintained/recommended way to go.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 03, 2007
On the trail at 8:00am. With numerous rest stops and half an hour for lunch, the hike took a little over six hours. Gorgeous weather and saw not a single person all day. The first third of the hike is straightforward and quite pleasant. After that the trail becomes increasingly rocky. The detour out to the point is worthwhile but expect several sharp inclines. The point offers nice views and a clearing that makes a great location for lunch. Overall a good hike, but the rocks make certain portions of the trail a real chore.