Rocky Mount is one of a few 9+ mile circuit hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park. With three different ascents, the last being at the end of the hike, this 2,840 foot loop can feel longer and higher than it actually is. The reward is the great panoramic view from the Rocky Mount summit.
The Rocky Mount Trail will level out, then follow the ridge on its west side, pass through a small gap, then climb on its north side before descending steeply to the intersection of the Gap Run Trail 2.2 miles from Skyline Drive. At this point the Rocky Mount Trail you had been following heads back uphill.
Turn right downhill onto the Gap Run Trail. The trail initially descends steeply before crossing Gap Run in 1.9 miles. In another 0.4 miles arrive at a concrete post trail marker. Turn left remaining on the Gap Run Trail. The overgrown road to the right is private property. In 0.4 miles from the concrete post there is a large camping area on the bank of Gap Run. Continue along the trail for another 0.2 miles and arrive at the Rocky Mount Trail junction.
Turn left onto the blue blazed Rocky Mount Trail, cross Gap Run, and in 0.5 miles the trail makes a switchback to the right. At this point the trail begins the steep climb the 1.6 miles up to the Rocky Mount summit.
In 1.3 miles from the summit arrive back at the junction of the Gap Run Trail you descended earlier. Continue straight on the Rocky Mount Gap Trail, as it now heads uphill, retracing your route the 2.2 miles back to Skyline Drive and hike start point.
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Reviews For The Rocky Mount Hike (5 Most Recent)
A good hard hike. We are experienced and in good shape -- we kept a fast pace and finished in 4 hours (plus 20 minutes for lunch at the top). The views are only at the summit, and aren't as good as some other hikes (Old Rag, RipRap, Humpback) because the rocks aren't as wide open at the top. However, the benefit you get here that you don't get at those other hikes is solitude -- we went on a Sunday in early May and saw ONE other human, and this wasn't until the end of the hike. This is definitely a challenging hike -- I would rate difficulty of 4 or 5. The first half is quite easy, but the ascent is extremely steep and unforgiving. There are also a couple shorter ascents at the end of the hike, which is challenging considering the hike is 10 miles long. Great hike for the experienced hiker -- I would highly recommend. One thing -- if heading north on Skyline drive from I-64, it's 30 miles (not 15 like GMaps told us), and the post for the trail is 200 yards north of TwoMileRun overlook. We had a little trouble finding the trail head because we read the directions wrong, but after that the trail is clearly marked and blazed. Also, I recommend sleeves and pants -- there were several downed trees on the trail and the trail isn't cut back so well. Probably why we didn't see anyone else out there, but totally worth it. I'm hoping I don't get poison though..
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 06, 2013
Nice cool day for this hike. Reminents of snow on the ground. I parked at the Twomile Overlook. This trail is pretty gradual up and down until the intersection. I took the clockwise route. The uphill grades were pretty steep. I stopped for two view intakes. One just just sort of the summit and the other at the summit. Foliage was not on the trees so the view were pretty awsome. Coming down hill was slow going and pretty steep. Along the stream, there were a few trees down that I had to work around. Just before returning to the intersection, grades got pretty steep again. Overall, a pretty nice stroll in the forest.
Date of Hike: Saturday, September 08, 2012
Started about 8:45am and it was 67 degrees and humid. Found the first 2.2 miles to the intersection with Gap Run Trial fairly easy. Followed the Gap Run to the right in a counter-clockwise direction and there is a moderately steep descent right after turning on to this portion of the trail but still fairly easy to the 4.4 mile mark and the intersection again with the Rocky Mount Trail. This is where the FUN begins :) Basically, uphill in fairly abrupt manner for the next 2 miles. I was sucking wind and could hear my heart pounding but recovered on the more flat sections. There are some impressive views in this portion so take your time and enjoy. From the summit it's about 1.2 miles back to the intersection again with the Gap Run/Rocky Mount Cement Post intersection. The final leg of the journey back to the Two-Mile-Run Overlook Parking area was harder than I remember when I came this way earlier especially the first mile or so where you are climbing back up. Finished in 5 hours and didn't see a solitary person on the trail. I know this because I broke all the cob webs. Many acorns on the trail and some of the trees are beginning to change. It was about 73 degrees when I finished. Drank about a liter of water and ate an energy and granola bar.
Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 10, 2012
A lot of strenuous and unpleasant uphill, two black bears right by the trail, one snake, and one almost completely obscured view. Not worth it. Took us 5 hours. We really didn't care for it.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 05, 2011
The only pro of this hike would be the workout. It took us 5 hrs and 15 minutes to complete hike with lunch and a few little stops. Other than that this is just an ok hike. Solitude was about right on the rating we ran into about 9 hikers on this hike. That&rsquos not too bad doing a 9.6 mile hike. All the fallen leaves from the trees made the hike a little more difficult with finding the trail at some points and all the rocks hidden under the leaves going down and uphill were tricky not to twist an ankle. Also never really found the &ldquoIn 0.4 miles from the concrete post there is a large camping area on the bank of Gap Run&rdquo Although we found two areas that could have made a great campsite we found no rock rings for fire or anything that looked like campers stayed in a long time. Also no wildlife at all on this trails just a bunch on deer on the drive down skyline. The Views were not that good was very disappointed. Also the trail looks like it has not been maintained in a few months had to climb over 20 some trees that had fallen over the trail.