This hike has great views from
the valley as it winds alongside the
Shenandoah River, and wonderful views
from the ridge line as
well. Also, as as a section of this loop hike utilizes
dirt road VA717 there are three parking options. We prefer
to use the first so we get
the flatter road section out of the way. The second parking
spot is a public launch area for the Shenandoah River, and
the third is
at the end of VA236 right before entering the GWNF and beginning
the uphill portion of the hike.
Climb VA236 for 0.2 miles before arriving at the third
parking, option and entrance to the GWNF. Enter the forest on the orange
blazed old logging road and in 0.4 miles pass a small
unmarked trail (not marked on the map) that splinters off to
the left. Continue on the orange blazed logging trail uphill
for another 1.0 miles arriving at the junction of the Toliver
Trail that turns left uphill.
Veer left uphill in 50 yards staying on the orange blazed Massanutten trail as the Milford Gap Trail descends to your right.
along the ridge and in 1.3 miles the trail splits. Stay left
on the orange blazed trail along the top of the ridge and in
another 0.1 miles arrive at the intersection of the purple blazed
Indian Grave Ridge Trail that descends to your left.
Turn left downhill on the
purple blazed Indian Grave Ridge Trail as it steeply descends the mountain. In 2.3 miles the trail makes
a hard left and a old logging road comes in from the right. Stay
left on the purple blazed trail as it now gently descends Indian
Grave Ridge before arriving back at the first parking area in
another 0.7 miles.
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Reviews For The Indian Grave Ridge Hike (5 Most Recent)
I've hiked this several times. What makes it interesting are the remains of two Indian mountains about halfway up the mountain - very uncommon these days. At the very bottom is a sort of beach facing some limestone bluffs. A lot of Indian lithic materials (i.e., arrowheads) from the Clovis era. The views at the top during winter are very nice. On the Fort Valley side can be found some old dens that are said to have some historical significance.
Date of Hike: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Great hike for a mild December day. Did it clockwise from parking 1, thus opposite to the directions. Lots of terrific elements steep climb up to the ridge, fine trails, nice views thanks to the lack of foliage and a very pleasant and scenic walk along the north fork of the Shenandoah late in the day. Saw eight Wild Turkey on the way down.
Date of Hike: Monday, September 03, 2012
This is an OK hike, at least at this time of year. Positive: some nice views from the ridge, extremely quiet/nobody else around, easy fire road/dirt road hiking part of way (if you don't mind road hiking), parking area 2 has you beginning and ending along Shenandoah River if you want to camp/swim/fish, well-marked (Note: the route described is a circuit, but this could also be an out and back hike). Not so good: partly a dirt road/fire road hike (if you don't like roads), part of "trail" was the ravine that drained the mountain, so it wasn't well-groomed, some recent tractor work on part of trail, loose rocks in parts, very steep in parts (the circuit has you coming down the steep parts, not going up them), views obstructed by foliage in summer, and numerous cross-trail spider webs at this time of year (mostly small spiders but a couple of lunkers too, wave a spider stick in front you to avoid them). Wildlife: squirrels, deer, crows, woodpeckers, various songbirds, unidentified snuffling forest animal (heard but not seen, sounded large). Traffic: none on trail, some cars on road, campsites along river at a distance. Difficulty: steep parts coming down hard on knees, arm sore from spider stick, need to be careful not to twist ankle on rocks, moderate overall difficultly. Repeat? Yes, different season. Destination hike? Probably not.
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 26, 2012
My wife and I did this hike as a camping trip this weekend. We parked in the first parking lot and hiked the gravel road up to the third parking lot as recommended. There were nice views of the river along the road but I am not a fan of hiking gravel roads. You get plenty of the same views on your drive to the first lot. The first half of this hike is on gravel. Then you proceed up the washed out Toliver trail. There was nothing of interest but ticks along this trail. We camped along the ridge and had a good time. I camp often and I will have to say that the insect level was much higher than I am used to. We could not leave our tent door open for more than a few seconds without large black ants and daddy long legs paying us a visit. The second day of our hike was much more enjoyable than the first. The hike along the ridge was pleasant and we only encountered 3 ticks on the way down the mountain. In retrospect, I would have done this hike as an out and back from the first parking lot to the intersection of the Massanutten Trail and the Toliver Trail. The Indian Grave Ridge Trail could also use some cutbacks. It was a bit steep at times.
Direction Tip: Route 236 is hand painted on the back of a street sign as you take your left to head up to the third parking lot. Don't expect an official sign.
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 08, 2012
The first part of the hike is pretty uneventful, as you walk along a road, but there are good views of the Shenandoah River. The day was beautiful and there were no other hikers on the trail (most likely because it was Easter). The views are great of both the East and West. There are no streams on the hike. Lots of blooming dogwoods and butterflies throughout the whole hike. Also some spots are pretty steep but overall wasnt that too harsh.