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White Rocks - Wardensville, West Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.5mls
Hiking Time:
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4.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,840 ft
George Washington National Forest
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e.g.. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Park on left where roads splits, or stay left uphill for 0.3 miles, and park at the gate if your vehicle has the clearance. 39.00907, -78.59647

The White Rocks lookout hike is our favorite circuit in the Great North Mountain area, that offers streams, different fauna, and a wonderful view from White Rocks eastward. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Shenandoah National Park. White Rocks is also accessible from the Little Sluice Hike.

Start (from the lower parking area) by hiking uphill on the forestry service road (FS) for 0.3 miles where you will reach a closed gate and additional parking for five vehicles. Pass the closed gate and continue on the orange blazed FS road for 0.25 miles to the intersection of the pink blazed Old Mail Path on the right.

Turn right on the pink blazed Old Mail Path, and be careful to follow the pink blazes as the Old Mail Path can be very muddy and obscured in places.

In 0.2 miles cross Cove Run and continue following the pink blazed Old Mail Path as it turns uphill for another 0.9 miles arriving at a wildlife clearing, and the intersection of the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail/FS road.

Turn right on the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail/FS road, passing two more wildlife clearings before the FS road ends, and the Racer Camp Hollow Trail continues into the forest. After entering the forest, the orange blazed trail will gradually descend for 0.4 miles to Racer Camp Hollow Run, and a large campsite.

From the campsite, the trail will head up the valley crossing the run several times before reaching another campsite in 1.6 miles.

From the campsite continue 200 yards to the intersection of the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail and purple blazed Little Sluice Mountain Trail. Turn left uphill on the blue blazed trail (the immediate blazes you see are the green deer study markings). After 1.4 miles arrive at the white blazed White Rocks Lookout Trail that enters on the right.

Take the white blazed trail for 0.2 miles where you will pass a high mountain campsite on the right. 0.1 miles past the campsite the trail will climb a steep rock scree. At the top of the scree stay left and continue around the knob to the white rocks lookout. Note: The white blazes on the top of the scree are faded and hard to see. Return 0.3 miles to the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail to continue the hike.

Turn right on the blue blazed trail for 0.5 miles before arriving at the intersection of the pink blazed Old Mail Path.

Turn left on the pink blazed trail for 1.3 miles as it descends Little Sluice Mountain before arriving back at a clearing and intersection of the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail.

Continue downhill through the clearing, that you ascended earlier, on the pink blazed trail re-crossing the run and arriving back at the yellow blazed forestry service road in another 1.0 miles.

Turn left on the FS road back to the parking area.

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Hiker Reviews For The White Rocks Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the White Rocks hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Effigies Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 05, 2014
Would recommend gaiters for the Old Mail Path and Racer Camp Trail as there are several long stretches of boggy trail. The hike itself was very pleasant with less strenuous ascents than normally seen in the SNP. Keep an eye out for wild turkeys on the trail, I ran into several flocks but they were extremely skittish and disappeared almost immediately.

By: Brent Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 20, 2014
What a great hike! Don't let the 9.5 miles scare you it is long but fairly easy hike. I think this is my favorite hike so far in the area. There is plenty of wildlife and solitude. We didn't see a single person all day. Only one other car in the lot. The hike up the orange racer trail is muddy but you can walk around most of it. The view from the rocks isn't 360 but it's awesome. It's just down from the ridge so its protected from the winds, sat up there for 45 mins. Perfect day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Great hike (though very muddy so wear the right shoes). This site does a great job of telling you which way to travel (life saver--thanx!) so make sure you where the Old Man Trail meets with the Racer Camp Hollow Trail you follow the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow trail. This makes a relatively easy undulating hike (though as mentioned, the trail is poorly marked in several locations (and the Blazes are wearing off))so pay attention. If, by mistake (or choice), you take the Old Man Trail all the way, you'll be hiking up a constant, LONG (and at times relatively steep) hill to get you to the "white blazed trail" (where we could never find the mentioned "white blaze", but there is a large firepit/stacked rocks for sitting 10 feet off the trail.) Once you find the firepit/seats) almost immediately across the trail on the main path is the cairn and campfire charcoal on the ground ato mark the beginning of the "white blazed" trail. Follow this to the "end" and the trail where it forks. Right fork allows you to almost immediately see the camp area. If you go left, within a couple hundred yards, there's a rock scramble which takes you to the scenic overlook shown in all the guide books. Bottom line, lots of fun, not too hard, but definitely go "counterclockwise" (vs clockwise) for the circuit, unless you specifically want the really long, continuous uphill rather than rolling terrain. Times on the guide page were also about right. We made the loop in 4 hours (plus 1 hour of stopping for photos, lunch, "soak it all in", etc.) PS. GPS REALLY helps to calculate where you are and when you should come across key features. Taking the counterclockwise loop, we knew the "white blazed overlook" would be at mile X. Sure enough it was, otherwise would've been tough to find (especially since it was mostly hidden behind a bush from the direction we were traveling.) Last note: make sure when you start the trail, and it says "Turn right on the pink blazed Old Mail Path, be careful to follow the pink blazes as the Old Mail Path can be very muddy and obscured in places" that you take the fork to the left around the benches, as the trail to the right will lead you someplace else.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 06, 2013
We did this circuit as an overnight backpacking trip (4/6-4/7/13). There was 5 of us and most were inexperienced hikers, but everyone managed pretty well. The trail instructions were on point. The  weather was 50s during the day and low 40s at night, but the large campfire and natural rock shelter kept us all pretty warm. I have done many hikes on HU and feel like the difficulty on this hike should be a 4 due to the prolonged inclines on the first half of the hike. My two negative remarks: all the people camping at White Rocks and the lack of water toward the top. Literally, a group tried to setup camp 10 yards from our camp which wasn't cool, but they eventually realized a hammock on the edge of the cliff with 30 mph winds and temps in the 40s wasn't the smartest place to set up camp. Overall, we had a great time on this hike. I just wished there wasn't so many people.

By: Xtrekker Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 05, 2013
I liked this hike but it didn't have the views I really wanted. Very little to no traffic on the trail which was nice. The trail is POORLY blazed and it is easy to miss the trail head all together. They have added 2 benches and a billboard at the trailhead with 2 posts in the ground off to the right side which can be misleading to some because it looks like the start of the trail. But the trail is actually off to the left of the benches not the right. Its an easy hike up to the summit. Seems to be a decent amount of choices for ground-dweller's sites. If you're a hammock camper, you will enjoy this hike for camping a lot. Doesn't have the greatest views but it's pretty quiet.

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