The White Rocks lookout hike is our favorite circuit in the
Great North Mountain area, that offers streams, different fauna,
view from White Rocks
eastward. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Shenandoah
White Rocks is also accessible from the Little
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.
In 0.2 miles cross Cove Run and continue following the
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
Turn left on the pink blazed trail for 1.3 miles
as it descends Little Sluice Mountain before arriving back at a clearing and
blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail.
Continue downhill through
the clearing, that you ascended earlier, on the pink blazed trail re-crossing the run
back at the yellow blazed forestry service road in another
Turn left on the FS road back to the parking area.
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Reviews For The White Rocks Hike (5 Most Recent)
Hiked this trail on a pretty Sunday afternoon with my dog. We drove up to the trailhead in my old SUV, but not sure a car could make it as it's a little steep and rocky. I had attempted this back in June, but saw a guy chopping something in the woods near the trailhead, who, when he saw me, promptly stopped and walked deeper into the forest. Freaked me out a little so I decided to turn around and nearly stepped on a rattlesnake - took these as signs I should come back another time!
PROS: Solitude - I saw no one on this trail the entire time, aside from an adorable little bear cub. S/he ran into the woods before I could snap a photo, so we hurried along as mama was surely not far away. Difficulty - it's not a hard trail. The inclines are very gradual and the trail is easy to follow (though in some places it was a little overgrown). Most of the trail is through the woods, with pretty stream crossings and some views through the trees. The view from White Rocks is well worth it and the many campsites along this entire trail are excellent.
CONS: Some trails have a lot of overgrowth, some have tons of poison ivy. Others have large amounts of mud or rocks. THIS trail had a TON of spider webs. I stopped what seemed like every few minutes to take a web off my face. And these weren't just one thread - they were often whole webs. Eesh. I took to waving my trekking pole in front of me for most of the hike and by the time I got back to my car, I had cleared so many webs that it looked like some huge spider had woven a web all over my trekking pole. I know spider webs are to be expected, but it seemed like so much more than other trails. Maybe it's the area? Who knows. There are also a lot of ticks as there are several areas of tall grass.
I would love to return in the late fall or winter for an overnight!
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 16, 2014
For those of you reading this way in the future, it was a wonderful, unseasonbly cool day, low 80s, puffy white clouds, blue skies. As others have noted, relatively gentle hike, some sections probably serve as creek beds during wetter weather with one slighly steeper portion at the far end of (Waites?) creek where you end up at the 2nd grassy campsite. Two distinct pleasures this year, a couple patches of thistles were blooming, with dozens of attendant butterflies: swallowtails. some kind of fritallaries and one other. Up at the white rocks, there was a gentle sighing breeze and what I think were Barn swallowtails, playing, flying, fighting and sometimes swooping within several feet of my rocky perch, just a blast to tiredly watch. Were they nesting nearby (around 5pm) or feeding? Also, vultures below. Saw a young bear off of the racer trail. Very nice day, although the 10 miles is beginning to push it for me. Ended the day in Strasburg, listening to music at Cristina's.
The trail is well worn so easy to follow, (on a dry day) markings are there but not too often. Just know the general shape of the trail so you head off in the right direction when you need to make the turns. the White Rocks turn was not marked, but again, pretty obvious trail that goes downhill a bit. I'm centering my score, so I suspect my 3 star is everyone elses 4 star.
Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2014
Our group had 7 hikers on Sunday 05/25/14. There were mixed comments about this hike. One was the condition of the trail-"Lots of mud and in some cases lots of erosion". One comment: "a great hike!". One comment: "I don't see how you could do this in 4.5 hrs". (It took us longer, but in a group of 7, there's always more reasons for stops). "The streams were great". The overlook was nice, but expected better from some of the previous comments. Saw more people on the trail than expected. (14). Agree with another comment about the difficulty. It seems like something more than 3, maybe a 3.5. After seeing a map about other trails in the GWNF, we look forward to seeing more reviews of those trails to explore. Thanks to HU. Keep up the good work!
Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2014
This is a very beautiful area, however, there are two significant drawbacks: the lack of clear and consistent trail blazes, and the severe erosion of about half the trails we hiked on. I suspect that the unusually wet 2014 winter was the reason for the extreme erosion, and the lack of staff/volunteer support to keep the blazes refreshed and the trails groomed. The streams are beautiful: visually and aurally. The wildflowers are amazing: Lady Slipper orchids in abundance on our hike on the highest trail. Except for the trail conditions, I would give this a "Great Hike" rating, and would recommend to others.
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.