Riprap Hollow is one of the best circuit hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park. The views from Chimney Rock, and along the ridge of Rocks Mountain, offer great vistas to the west and north. The spring fed stream in Cold Spring and Riprap Hollow is very scenic, and has a 50ft wide swimming hole fed by yet another mountain spring.
From the Riprap parking area walk the 50 yards along the blue blazed trail to the intersection of the white blazed Appalachian Trail. Turn right uphill on the white blazed trail for 0.4 miles to the intersection of the Riprap Trail.
Turn left on the blue blazed Riprap Trail as it descends through a hollow on the ridge before climbing and arriving at the first vista point in 0.7 miles. In another 0.3 miles reach the second vista and Chimney Rock. From Chimney Rock the trail will begin to descend into Cold Springs Hollow. In 1.7 miles from Chimney Rock the spring fed stream that has come in on the left of Riprap Trail will pass through a small gorge and over a 20ft waterfall.
After passing the waterfall follow the blue blazed Riprap Trail for another 0.3 miles to a large swimming hole. Just past the swimming hole the trail will cross the stream, and pass a trail marker and an overgrown trail that leads to an old Riprap Shelter on the right. Continue straight on the blue blazed Riprap Trail next to the stream for another 0.7 miles to the intersection of the Wildcat Ridge Trail.
Turn left on the blue blazed Wildcat Ridge Trail and shortly cross the stream again before the trail starts heading uphill through a small gorge. In 0.6 miles the Wildcat Ridge Trail will make several switchbacks and become much steeper, as it follows the Wildcat Ridge for another 2.0 miles to the four way intersection with the white blazed Appalachian Trail.
Turn left on the while blazed Appalachian Trail for the remaining 2.8 miles back to the Riprap parking area.
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Reviews For The Riprap Hollow Hike (5 Most Recent)
Did this hike on Tuesday Feb 7. Views were spectacular. We started from the Rip Rap trail off the AT. Trail was in great shape although we came upon numerous trees down but were able to navigate over them. The stream crossing in several places was a challenge...not wanting to get real wet this time of year we had to carefully choose our steps on slick rocks. The toughest part of this loop came on the return up Rip Rap trail to the Wildcat Ridge trail to the AT. The elevation gain was tough and the trail quite rocky. Overall it was a good hike and took us 5 1/2 hours which included a lunch break.
Date of Hike: Saturday, December 10, 2016
Did this one on a very cold (mid 20's) but sunny Saturday. Did not see a single other person all day. We parked at the Wildcat lot and hiked in the opposite direction of the write up. There was a stream crossing at the bottom of the Wildcat Ridge trail that required us to get wet. I actually fell in while my buddy crossed it barefoot. It was surprising and sad to find a few huge old eastern hemlocks in the hollow. Just like at Ramsey's Draft they were all dead from woolly adelgid. The views from higher up were fantastic, I suspect this one is best in the winter with no leaves on the trees. Will definitely do this one again in summer to get in the swimming hole.
Date of Hike: Saturday, September 03, 2016
As far as swimming holes should we expect to be able to take a break and go for a swim? Just wondering what to pack..
Date of Hike: Saturday, June 04, 2016
This was my wife's and I first time on RIP RAP HOLLOW. The first 4 miles are pretty good if you are going in reverse and go to the streams first. There are about 4 or 5 stream crossings which I always enjoy. However, after that it wasn't very impressive. The trail is narrow and vegetation is growing up on the trail for most of it. I don't mind getting dirty when I hike but we felt like we were walking through the bush the entire time and it was hard to get off the trail when other hikers approached. The views from the peak are ok but I've seen some better views on shorter trails. If the water had been warmer we would have gone swimming in the natural pool but we passed this time.
Date of Hike: Sunday, December 06, 2015
Took advantage of the early December mid-60s temperature. Surprisingly quiet for such a beautiful day. I'd recommend taking the trail backwards (clockwise), putting the views at Chimney Rock at the end. Water levels were pretty high, so be prepared for a few frosty crossing.