Turk Mountain is a tough hike with about 2400’ of elevation gain, bring plenty of water, especially if hiked in the summer. We hiked it a few days before Christmas and it was quite cold. It's hard to rate the solitude as the temperature was so cold all normal people were at home and not out hiking. The best views are at the top of Turk Mountain, so make sure you do the out /back Blue-blazed Turk Mountain trail.
All of the trails for this hike are well maintained. Hiking poles would be advisable for the multiple stream crossings, althought the level will be significantly less in the summer. This hike is the last circuit hike in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park.
We parked at the Jarman Gap parking area, near MP97. There are two yellow gated barriers, the trail starts on the barrier nearest Skyline Drive and goes downhill. Continue past the barrier hiking on the yellow blazed Moormans River Fire Road. In about 0.2 miles you will come to an intersection of the A.T., continue past this intersection, crossing Moormans River multiple times prior to reaching the intersection of the Turk Branch Trail in 2.0 miles. You will cross the river and immediately take a left after the SNP Stone Marker heading up the yellow blazed Turk Branch trail. Note: The Moormans River Fire Road continues straight at this intersection following the Moormans River, make sure you turn left onto the Turk Branch Trail.
Continue on the Turk Branch Trail, crossing Turk Branch a couple of times, with multiple switchbacks prior to reaching the Turk Gap parking area. This part of the hike is about 2.6 miles long and gains roughly 1200’ feet in elevation. One of the crossings had a nice small waterfall with a few others visible upstream.
From the Turk Gap parking area, cross Skyline Drive and head to the Stone marker, bearing left onto white blazed AT going South. DO NOT TAKE the yellow blazed continuation of the Turk Gap Trail. Stay on the AT South for 0.3 miles until you reach the intersection of the blue blazed Turk Mountain Trail, take a right. This is an out and back adding 2.0 miles to the hike, but you will see the best views of the day and have a great place to eat lunch. Be sure when you are at the top of Turk Mountain to continue along the rocks past the Stone marker, so that you can also see some great views of the Shenandoah Valley. Retrace your steps to the AT intersection.
Take a right at the AT intersection heading south for about 1.4 miles before crossing Skyline Drive. To the right is the Sawmill Run Overlook which if you have time, has some great views. Once across Skyline Drive there are some good up and downs on this part of the AT but not too bad. Continue on the AT for 1.7 miles reaching the Moormans River Fire Road intersection. Take a right and reach the Jarman Gap Parking area in 0.2 miles to complete the hike.
Interactive Hike Map BelowPrintable
Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Hike route in Drag the map with your mouse using the icon Zoom with the controls on the left Mouse Over the icons in the map below for location shots
Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Turk Mountain hike:
Reviews For The Turk Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
I guess I thought there would be more to see. Overall it was a fun hike. I didn't think that it was worthy of a 4 rating for difficulty.
Date of Hike: Friday, November 11, 2011
Great hike. Parked at Jarman Gap and hiked up the AT both ways, didn't take the Turk Branch Trail, may try that next time. View from the top of Turk Mtn is great. Windy and very cold this time of year. Had the summit to myself, only saw 5 other people throughout the day. Highlight of the trip was seeing a black bear on the AT. It was around 400 feet of the trail near a stream very close to the Jarman parking area. By the time I saw him he was already aware of me and was running in the opposite direction.
Date of Hike: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Nice hike on a nice and cool morning. I saw a couple groups Turk mountain and Turk parking area but that's it. On the fire roads there's a bit of new trees across the trail and in a couple places requires re-routing. A good section of the fire road goes through a graveyard of large dead trees which you can expect to block the trail after a good storm. Currently there's quite a few down though most are fine for hikers to hop over. While the hike covers some elevation, most of it is on a fairly tame grade.
Date of Hike: Friday, October 15, 2010
A very "noisy" hike with all the leaves on the trail. Nevertheless, I managed to startle an adolescent bear on a curve. The leaves are not quite at peak yet--probably a week to 10 days away.
I've hiked this trail several times and prefer to park at the Turk Gap parking area and hike it clockwise. There was still lots of water in the streams and there were several "wet" crossings. If you skip the spur trail out to Turk Mountain summit, this is a fairly easy hike.
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 20, 2010
This hike was great, tiring but great. The first half is pretty strenuous heading up hill most of the way up to Turk Mountain, but the view you get once you're there is amazing. One of the best places I have ever eaten lunch at. Only issues I had were the high water levels of the stream crossing, but hey what do you expect after all the snow and rain VA has gotten so far this year. Solitude rating is pretty spot on, the only time I saw other people was the Turk Mt climb. Overall this is a great hike and I can't wait to do it again in a few weeks.