Overlooking Old Rag Mountain, the Robertson Mountain hike has one of the steepest trails in the central section of the Shenandoah National Park, with an elevation gain on the Robertson Mountain Trail of 1,700 feet in just over 1.5 miles.
From the parking area, pass the closed gate hiking up the yellow blazed Berry Hollow Fire Road for 0.8 miles. Here you reach the intersection of the Old Rag Fire Road on the left, the Saddle Trail on the right, and Weakley Hollow Fire Road that continues straight.
Continue straight on the yellow blazed Weakley Hollow Fire Road (concrete post points towards Old Rag Parking Area) for 1.2 miles and arrive at the Robertson Mountain Trail.
I decided to do a different variation of this hike, starting at the Old Rag parking lot at the end of 600 in Nethers because I wanted to do most of the hiking off of fire roads. We went from 600 to Weakley Hollow Fire Road, then up Robertson Mt., down Old Rag Fire Road, across Corbin Mt. trail, before coming back down Nicholson Hollow trail. Total distance 11.1 miles, with about 3400 feet of elevation gain. Arrived at the parking lot by 830, and already it was filling up! I couldn't believe that some people were hiking without even a pack. Left most of the crowds behind on the Robertson Mt. trail, and didn't really see anyone the rest of the day besides a couple on the summit. I've hiked a lot of 4k footers in NH, and let me tell you that the hike up Robertson was not easy! Well worth the view and the solitude though. Corbin Mt. trail was gorgeous and relatively easy (a nice reprieve), although because it isn't hiked too often there were lots of spiderwebs to run into (like every ten feet, it was crazy). Didn't see anyone on that trail at all, except for one bear cub (!) towards the beginning. Overall, a great hike that I will do in the fall/winter again. One of my favorites in the area so far.
Date of Hike: Thursday, April 30, 2015
First hike of the season for us seniors so we chose this for the relative ease of fire road walking and a decent climb to a magnificent view. We opted to avoid the steepest part and went counter clockwise to the top and then retraced our steps for the return. The mileage was about the same. Beautiful day and a few wild flowers, large trees and an occasional squirrel and only one other couple of hikers. Climbing the backside of the mountain is a challenge but not heart stopping. We will be back!
Date of Hike: Thursday, April 30, 2015
We did the hike clockwise to avoid the steep climb not counter clockwise as in my review.
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 05, 2015
This was an interesting hike. I did Robertson mountain as the middle leg of a grueling 26.7 mi. 3 summit day hike (starting at White Oak Canyon parking lot, hiking Old rag, Robertson Mountain, and Cedar Run/Hawksbill/White Oak Canyon).
The hike up Robertson as described is quite rigorous. The little side trail to the summit isn't too hard to find and you'll quickly know that you missed it as you start to descend. With no leaves on the trees, there is a rock outcropping that provides a decent, slightly obstructed view of Old Rag. But, the real beauty of this hike is the solitude and the view to the West-SouthWest of Skyline drive and Hawksbill. This was especially exciting for me knowing that I was headed there next.
I think I saw a pretty large bobcat scurrying down a tree on the Weakly Hollow fire road...it was either that or a small mountain lion...or the largest squirrel ever seen by man. But, I only saw it about 50 yards away out of the corner of my eye coming down a tree right next to the trail and then bounding behind a little embankment and out of sight.
Anyway, Robertson Mountain is a decent hike. It was quite peaceful at the summit and there is something charming about the gnarled pine tree right at the summit. If you want something fairly quick, but steep and physically taxing with some solitude at the top, it's a good bet if you are in the Old Rag area.
As for the 3 summit hike, it was a great challenge, but I don't know that I'll ever do that again. Not the same route anyway. Towards the end it was more of a chore than a joy and I was ready to be done.
Date of Hike: Sunday, December 14, 2014
This is the second time I've done this hike and I decided to go clockwise. I actually think it was more difficult clockwise than the way the map above suggests, as the ascent is much longer. What a great workout. I also added another star to this because the views were absolutely beautiful with the trees bare. In summer you can see quite a bit but there's SO MANY people coming off Old Rag - there were way less "Old Raggers" to encounter this time (and actually, once you're on Robertson Mountain trail, there's maybe one or two other hikers). I'm looking forward to going back again this summer, maybe add on Old Rag? Now that would be a great workout!