view from Raven Rocks is
one of the best in the area. Although the distance is only
5.5 miles with a vertical gain of 1,530ft, as you can see from
the elevation profile, there are three strenuous ascents on
this out and back hike. Raven Rocks is also a popular area with rock climbers, as it can be accessed by a road 0.4 miles from
Make sure to wear sturdy footwear, as the hike that remains entirely on the white blazed Appalachian Trail,
is very rocky.
Begin the hike by heading north on the white
blazed Appalachian Trail, as it crosses over the first ridge,
then making several steep switchback descents before reaching a small run in 0.8 miles. 100 yards past
the run cross over an unblazed trail and remain on the Appalachian
After ascending the next ridge come to a nice view of the
Winchester Valley to the west, before descending and arriving at the Raven
Rocks Hollow stream in 1.2 miles from the last run.
Climb the final ascent of 0.4 miles, passing a sign marking the Virginia, West Virginia border, then reaching Raven Rocks where
you will find fantastic
views towards the south west and the Shenandoah Valley.
During spring and fall, the Raven Rocks 100ft wall is a
favorite spot with local rock climbers. To return retrace your route 2.7 miles back to the parking
area at VA679 and Rt7.
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Reviews For The Raven Rocks Hike (5 Most Recent)
Lovely day for a hike. I was expecting from previous reviews that this would be a difficult hike. It had moments where it was difficult with the ascents, but overall it was a moderate hike. For reference, we have a 2-year-old that did at least 1/3rd of the hike on foot. My 12-year-old thought it was a fun hike and enjoyed hopping from rock to rock along the trail. The dog was tired at the end, so I know he felt relieved to be heading home.
Trail head was difficult to find - was hoping for a sign along HWY 7 that told us it was approaching. The parking area was tight when we arrived and left - busy hiking location, but didn't feel that way on the trails.
Very rocky trail - I wish I had hiking boots, as my ankles were hurting by the end of the hike. My husband broke in his new boots and was grateful for the ankle support at the end of the hike. The view is beautiful and I look forward to doing this trail again in the fall. Next time, we will take a lunch along and enjoy the view longer.
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 09, 2014
Really enjoyed this hike. Limited parking at the trail head. No real views in summer until you get to Raven Rock, but pretty forest walk all the same. Lots of ups and downs, but not super steep. Could be tough though if you're not in shape. A couple of small streams along the way where you can fill up - very little water flowing at this time of year. Some good camp sites along the way. The views from Raven Rock are really pretty - definitely worth the hike up. Would like to do this in fall.
Bonus - there's a little bar / restaurant about a quarter mile from the trail head on horseshoe road ... a welcome respite after a big day hiking!
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 09, 2014
I arrived around 7:40 am on Saturday and there were 2 cars parked there already. Right after I parked, another car came. By the time I finished the hike at 11:30 the parking lot was already at full capacity, with 16 cars and 1 Harley Davidson. So go early.
The hike consists of several good ups and downs, pretty balanced. Rocks are almost at every step of the way, so I suggest wearing hiking shoes with good ankle support. I used walking stick, and so glad I brought it with me as it provided great support when ascending.
Basically it's walking in woods with 2 small water crossing which will not get your shoes wet (at least at summer time), and a rewarding view from the top.
Going up was quiet, however on the way back to the parking I met several groups of people going up. It was getting crowded pretty quickly.
I finished this trail in 2 hours 53 minutes. I was going pretty slow when the trail is going upward so I tried to catch up the time by walking rapidly in the section where the ground is flat. I'm 38 and in a pretty good shape.
Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The inclines weren't as steep as I thought they would be, but the changing elevation makes for a great workout. This hike didn't hurt my knee, so I use that as a way to judge if it was tough or not! The difficulty should be more like a 2/3. I would rate the solitude a 1. I was surprised to see the trail so crowded for a Wednesday, but I guess it is summertime. Views from the Rocks are amazing. This would be a beautiful hike in late Fall.
Date of Hike: Sunday, June 29, 2014
This is a great hike but I don't really know how anyone could say this is good for beginners or novices. Perhaps if you are young or in good shape, then maybe so. But I'm 51 and my girlfriend is 45 and we have done a lot of other hikes recently. And this one is definitely challenging. What makes it more challenging are two things:
1) The Ups and Downs - While the hikes we've done in MD are usually straight up to the rocks / views, this one makes you go down twice before the final ascent. So, by the time you are done (including the reverse trip back of course) you have to do 5 ups and 5 downs. So, it's just more work.
2) The Rocks - There are definitely a lot of rocks and a few sections that are basically rock gardens. It's tough going in a couple of places if you're not used to dealing with so many rocks.
Overall, because we walked very slowly on some of the hills (up and down), it took us 5 hours with a 40 minute break on top. It was a hot day, and we barely made it with the fluid we had as you could feel the dehydration setting in. So make sure to bring LOTS of water if it is a hot day. The view on top is gorgeous! Not trying to discourage anyone from doing this hike as it really is a good one, but just be prepared for a challenge, especially if you are middle aged or older and aren't an expert. It's definitely a great workout!