The Torry Ridge hike, just south of Waynesboro VA, passes through one of the premier campgrounds in the GWNF, Sherando Lake. With both camper and tent camping as well as a fantastic lake with a man made beach, this hike plus other trails in the area such as St Mary's Wilderness, this makes for a great weekend getaway spot.
This circuit has three possible start points. Sherando Lake, The Slacks Overlook, or how we have it mapped here, from White Rock Gap. Cross the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) and start south down the yellow blazed White Rock Falls trail. In 1.2 miles cross White Rock Creek then start the steepest section of the hike as the trail makes several switchbacks. In 0.2 miles after crossing the creek, look for a faint unmarked trail that leads down to a 30ft waterfall.
Continue up the yellow blazed trail and 0.3 miles from the waterfall are two vistas of the White Rock Creek gorge. From this point the trail will become less steep and arrive at the BRP in another 0.4 miles. Cross the BRP and follow the unmarked connector trail behind the picnic table for 100 yards to the intersection of the Slacks trail.
Turn left on the blue blazed Slacks trail and follow it 0.9 miles to the intersection of the Torry Ridge trail. Turn right on the yellow blazed Torry Ridge trail and follow it 2.0 miles to the intersection off the blue blazed trail that leads down to Sherando lake. the Torry Ridge Trail has several nice views of Bald Mountain and Kelly Mountain.
Turn right down the blue blazed trail and arrive at the Sherando Lake overlook in 0.2 miles. Continue down the trail for another 0.1 miles to the Dam trail intersection. Stay left on the Dam trail for 0.3 miles where it ends at the orange blazed Lake trail and Sherando Lake. Turn right following the orange blazed trail around the lake to where the orange trail ends at the picnic area.
For the next 0.9 miles follow the campground roads to the south end of the recreation area and upper dam. Climb to the crest of the dam, then turn right and follow it all the way to the right side. Do Not go down the steps on the water side of the dam.
At the end of the dam turn left on the orange blazed White Rock Gap trail and in 1.8 miles pass the one good campsite on the circuit. From the campsite it is another 0.3 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Slacks Trail.
Stay straight on the orange blazed trail for the remaining 0.4 miles back to the BRP, and White Rock Gap parking area.
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Reviews For The Torry Ridge Hike (5 Most Recent)
We hiked this loop after a rainy week, and it easily rated as a "5" for streams under those conditions. Except for the first section of the Slacks trail, and along the Ridge Trail, we were within sight and/or sound of either a stream or Sherando Lake the whole time. There were tons of stream crossings, many of which are probably nonexistent during dry weather but which actually required some strategizing today. Overall, a great hike. We were fogged in so we didn't get many views, but the few we glimpsed were tantalizing. I definitely plan to return on a clear day.
Date of Hike: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Hiked this starting at Sherondo Lake in mid-May with two girlfriends. Saw just one other group of hikers on the trail. From this starting point, the first few miles are slight incline, but pretty easy going. The climb after the waterfall is pretty steep, but not too long and the views from the top are wonderful. You don't gain as much elevation as other hikes this long, which makes this hike easier than many other 8-10 mile hikes I've done. I'd give 3 stars for difficulty, but perhaps 4 is warranted given the distance. Dipping our tired feet in the lake at the end of the hike was a nice touch. We didn't actually see any bears, but we saw lots of evidence on the trail that they had been around. Drank 2 liters of water and it was quite warm the day we went.
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 20, 2013
I did the hike as described, counter-clockwise, starting from the White Rock Gap parking lot...
Note that the first segment of the hike, from the parking lot to the intersection of the Slacks and Torry Ridge trails is used a part of the Bel Monte Endurance Run trail race, which coincidentally was taking place while I was hiking it! (so I saw lots of runners)
This was an enjoyable hike, with a couple of really nice vistas, and a lot of stream action. The streams were running strong, which made a couple of the stream crossings on the challenging side. It took me 4 hours to complete, with only short breaks...
Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Very much enjoyed the hike! It was pretty tough for the first two miles or so but after that it was easy but not boring. The Torry Ridge trail was a bit rocky and narrow (lots of spider webs caught in my face) but the views made up for it. I would definitely return back in late fall when all the foliage is gone so that hiking along Torry Ridge would be more worthwhile.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 19, 2011
http://www.meetup.com/cvatrailblazers/events/38834742 I hiked this one yesterday with 14 members of the Central Virginia Trailblazers group, and we were very impressed. We started at 10am and finished just before sunset. It's a bit tougher than we expected, but the outstanding views made it worthwhile. Most of the leaves had already fallen, but the lack of foliage on the trees made for better views, especially along the Torry Ridge trail. I would recommend trekking poles for the stream crossings and the rocky, steep descent to Sherando Lake. I think this hike is going in my top 5.