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)
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!
Date of Hike: Sunday, June 29, 2014
Very nice hike! Arrived at the trailhead around 7:00 am and didn't encounter anyone until the way down although there were a few other cars in the parking area. I hiked/ran and was able to finish in 2 1/2 hours, including a 20 minute break up top to enjoy the views and have a snack. On the way down I encountered about a half a dozen other hikers, and by 9:30 the parking area was completely full, so I recommend starting early. The other plus is accessibility . . . the trail head literally comes up immediately after turning-off on to Route 279 off of 7.
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 20, 2014
Took our active 3 year old dog along for this on a mid-60s day. Reached the Raven Rocks overlook in about an hour and 20 minutes, then continued along the AT until we reached the blue-blazed Ridge to River Trail (maintained by Friends Wilderness) and headed west towards the Shenandoah. Called one of the numbers posted on their sign for permission to enter and did an out-and-back to a lovely river overlook at Rocky Branch. Added about 3.25 hours with a decent long climb out all in all, 6 hours and 20 minutes including two stops @ the Raven Rocks overlook, one at the overlook on the way up, and a couple of stops on the Ridge to River trail (including lunch). Beautiful views.
Date of Hike: Saturday, February 22, 2014
If you're just getting into hiking (like me) make sure you check the elevation profile - it is up and down and tougher going than you'd expect. Now, there was a lot of snow on the back side of each hill, so that certainly added quite a level of difficulty that we weren't expecting - this would be an easier hike in the summer for sure.
That said, the overlook is fantastic, and this is a nice workout.
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 19, 2014
A great weekend hike! I decided to head out to Raven Rocks around noon on one of the nicer weekends in January. There were about 15 people on the trail that I passed, about 5 groups in total. As a beginner to hiking on the AT, I would say this trail is pretty good for those looking for a challenge. With two streams in total and about 3 mountains, this hike is great for a morning or afternoon in nature. The first half of the trail, about halfway through the two streams, was fairly easy. The last two mountains were a workout, mostly because of the large amounts of rock. I had a tougher time going down that up due to a thin layer of snow on the rocks. As for kids, this is a place I would not bring anyone under the age of 7 or 8 to, assuming previous hiking experience. The view was way more than I bargained for- with a 180 degrees view of the canyon and fields beyond. I took about 4 hours in total, including a 30 minute break at the top, at a slow to moderate pace. As everyone else has stated, don't park on the side of the street because they do tow. I would definitely recommend hiking shoes with a good ankle support, the rocky descents gave me a couple near trips.