There are two great sections on the Shawl Gap loop, the first
uphill portion on the yellow blazed Shawl Gap Trail and the
ever beautiful ridge walk along the Tuscarora/ Massanutten
Trail. The downhill Sherman Gap Trail can obstructed with blow
and is not as heavily used.
The only real downside to the loop
is the final 1.2 mile walk along VA613 back to the parking
area. There isn't much traffic as it is basically a single
to keep alert.
Start by passing the gate and gradually climbing uphill on
the yellow blazed Shawl Gap Trail as it begins its assent.
After 1.2 miles arrive at a large animal
habitat clearing that
gives great views of the mountain and Shenandoah Valley. Continue
and in another 1.2 miles arrive at the intersection
where Shawl Gap Trail turns left uphill (turning right leads down
Turn left uphill still on the yellow blazed Shawl Gap Trail
for another 0.5 miles until reaching
the crest of the ridge and the four way intersection of the Tuscarora/Massanutten
Turn left on the now blue/orange blazed Tuscarora/Massanutten
trail as it ascends
and follows the ridge line. There
are several great views along both sides
of the ridge with one in particular just after you pass High
Turn left downhill on the pink blazed Sherman Gap Trail as
it winds down a small valley for 2.5 miles before reaching
VA613. You will pass close to private property on your left
just before you reaching US613 so make sure to remain on
Sherman Trail ends at US613 (there is no parking there) Turn
left walking along US613 for 1.2 mile as it winds back
to the parking lot which will be located on your
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Reviews For The Shawl Gap Hike (5 Most Recent)
I did this hike a few days ago with a group from Central Virginia Trailblazers (www.cvatrailblazers.org). As recommended in the reviews, we hiked this in reverse direction. This turned out to be a good decision, as there were patches of slick, wet snow on the ground on the uphill portion. There are some nice views and a great campsite on the ridge trail. We didn't see a soul on the entire hike, so this is a good one if you're looking for solitude. And yes, the ticks are out already!
Suzy & Tom
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 17, 2016
Would give the hike 4 stars if it weren't for the 1.2 miles of road walking (all uphill) if you do the hike as described above. Next time would reverse the direction and get the road part over with first. The parking area was hard to find -it is on the right just before T-bird Drive which comes in from the left.The pink-blazed Sherman Gap trail was well maintained and blazed. Blow downs have been cleared. The walk along the Tuscarora/Massanutten Trail was very pretty especially with the light snow that was falling. Our GPS programs measured the loop as 8.3 miles and our total moving time was 3 hrs 40 minutes.
Date of Hike: Sunday, November 23, 2014
This was overall a nice hike, but would definitely not be a great one in the summertime. The first part of the hike is covered in very tall grass (some parts over 5ft.) and I could imagine this would be filled with ticks. Also, the views would be very limited. However, this time of year it was pretty and I only ran into two other hikers. A few things. 1) The parking area turn off is on the right before T-Bird Drive - if you get to T-Bird Drive, you've gone too far. 2) While I don't mind some road walking, this a long portion at the end - be careful, as several cars were speeding 3) I kept thinking that I had passed the Sherman Gap / pink blazed trail as it seems like I was on the ridge longer than 1.9 miles, but the first intersection will be just past a nice fire pit / campground (which will be on your left) - the second intersection felt a little closer than 0.4 miles from the first. Lastly, if you're out hiking this time of year during hunting season, please remember to wear orange, even on Sundays.
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 09, 2014
As stated, the first couple of miles are overgrown - is you go, wear pants - my son and I both ended up with our legs covered in bites. The views were subpar. I woudn't waste my time on this hike, at least in the summer.
Date of Hike: Sunday, September 16, 2012
First and most important is that mapquest tells you the trail/parking is on the left-wrong! Keep eyes open for car path and gate. Sherman Gap portion of trail is currently closed due to wildfire hazard so we continued on toward Buzzard Rock and saw beautifil vista w/a great stone bench someone had made around a firepit. First part of hike had some high weeds but it's not the AT. Overall a good hike for a pleasant Sunday.