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White Rocks - Wardensville, West Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
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: Rating: 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!

By: Rating: 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.

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.

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