Bear Church Rock - Central SNP
Swimming Holes, Vistas, and more!
Great Virginia Hiking Books!

Little Devils Stairs - Sperryville , Virginia


Printable Topo Trail Map
   All Hikes Map
   Click for location shots
   Click for Parking/Start location
   Hike trail
   Other trail

Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
6.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
Links:
Resources:
4.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,480 ft
Shenandoah National Park
Printable Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Sperryville Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), GPS eXchange (GPX) (What's this?)
3D View of Route
From:

Park at the end of VA670/Keyser Run Rd. and parking area for Little Devils Stairs.
38.73060, -78.25827

Because of the steep grade the first two miles of the Little Devils Stairs hike in the Shenandoah National Park can be tough if the day is warm. The best time to do this hike is the early spring when water levels are at a peak, making the numerous waterfalls along Keiser Run that much nicer. At one point the trail even passes through a small set of falls. Enjoy spectacular views of either side of the gorge as the Little Devis Stairs trail gets closer to the top of the gorge.

The second half of the hike follows the Keyser Run Fire Road back down past the Bolen Cemetery. This is a pleasant walk through some old growth. If you would like to make this hike longer add the 3 sections of the Piney Branch hike to make the circuit a little over 9.0 miles.

  • Mile 0.0 –The hike will begin up the right side of the parking area on the blue blazed Little Devils Stairs Trail. After 0.9 miles the grade will increase sharply as the trail climbs the ravine, and starts crisscrossing Keyser Run.

    The Little Devils Stairs Trail is hard to spot in places and you have to look for the blue blazes on the trees. However, if you believe you've lost the trail it's difficult to go too far off track, as the gorge is very narrow and trail runs along one side or the other of the stream. As you climb up the gorge there are several spots that require hand over hand climbing.

    Near the top of the ravine The Little Devils Stairs Trail becomes less steep, then makes several switchbacks before leveling off completely and arriving at the intersection of the Keyser Run Fire Road, and four way junction.

  • Mile 2.2 - Turn left down the yellow blazed Keyser Run Fire Road and in 2.0 miles enter an old hemlock forest before arriving at the Bolen Cemetery and intersection of the for the the Hull School Trail.

  • Mile 4.8 - Stay left down the yellow blazed Keyser Run Fire road where it becomes steeper for the final 1.2 miles back to the parking area.

  • Mile 6.0 - Arrive back at the parking area.
  • Flash_FP1
  • Flash_FP2
  • Flash_FP3
  • Flash_FP4
  • Flash_FP5
Interactive Hike Map Below Printable 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 Little Devils Stairs hike:

=
Hiker Reviews For The Little Devils Stairs Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Little Devils Stairs hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Bryans review of the "older couple" in their 40s is hilarious!!! This hike is appropriate for families. I have taken my kids, as young as 6 on this hike with no problem as well as my "older self" in my 40s. Sorry why I pause to laugh again. When you get to the split at the top you will feel glad you are on the descent, the cemetery is fun to explore. This is one of my favorite hikes.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 29, 2017
This hike should be rated a "4" based on the incline instead of a "3". I highly recommend people being in good fitness/hiking shape and have conquered other strenuous trails before tackling this one.

We went to the trail on a hot/humid April day. We parked alongside Keyser Road since the main parking area was full by the time we got there around 9:30 AM. The first half mile, and stream crossing, was a cakewalk and then the fun began: relentless incline, somewhat challenging stream crossings, and plenty of rock scrambles to meander through. At some point, we past an older couple (mid-40s) on the incline who were struggling to get past the various challenges. We think they turned back since we did not see them the rest of the day. There are many amazing waterfalls, which make for perfect photographic opportunities.

The Fire Road is a nice and easy walk after all the strenuous activity. It winds through the Shenandoah, and has one really amazing view halfway through it. The family cemetery towards the end is an interesting dynamic. Many people in my group speculated that this hollow ground was left after people were displaced from this area in the 1930s.


By: Big T Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 22, 2017
The directions to and description of the hike are fairly accurate. I ended up going this past Saturday when it was raining, but still saw about 6-7 other people hiking along the fire road section. The parking lot to Little Devil's Stairs is all the way at the end of Kesyers Run Rd. The trail is actually well marked even through the various traverses up the gorge. I would definitely suggest this hike when water would be present, I think it makes the hike more scenic. The first part of the trail is pretty steep and is continuous until you come to the trail merge with the fire road. The fire road portion is nearly all down hill and is actually a nice trail. The road itself is not too "hard packed" and has grass growing in the middle. I was able to complete the loop, stopping to take pictures in just over 2hrs.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 04, 2017
Hiked this in the afternoon, about 38 degrees out. I wanted to make sure I was done by sundown so I kept a pretty steady pace and finished the 6 miles in 2 hours. The first section will definitely warm you up quick in the winter. It's a fun little scramble back and forth across the stream that does incline quite a bit. Only in a few places during the back and forth across the stream are the blue blazes are a bit hard to track down, but for the most part it's very easy to navigate. You don't ever go too far from the stream until you get to the switch backs. It's gorgeous on a crisp winter day. Just be careful when you're stepping as some of the rocks do have ice on them this time of year!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2017
Just completed this hike plus the added-on Piney River trail section. The total distance for this longer loop is about 9 miles with about 2,300 ft. of vertical climb, according to our measurements. This is an outstanding hike with the first two miles creating one "ooh and ahh" after the other. The walls of the gorge on either side are rocky and in some places what looks like large boulder field cascade down the sides of the canyon. There are about 10 water crossings for which we'd recommend wearing good non-slip shoes. Be careful and use caution. The last waterfall before the trail ascends upward out of the canyon is the best one in my opinion and a good place to stop for lunch. We filtered water here and had an ice cold drink of mountain water.

Once you get up to the four way intersection, follow the Hiking Upward trail directions to get down to Piney River. There are two trailheads up at the top of the hill so be careful to select the one that leads to Piney River if that's your end goal. It's worthwhile going the extra distance down to that river. We ran across zero hikers on the Piney River section and maybe 6 people on the LDS portion. The total hike took us about 5.5 hours and we weren't rushing it.

I've done this hike in various seasons and I think the winter is a great time to go because you get much better views without all the leaves and fewer crowds. Spring is also a good time but I really think winter might be my favorite time to go. Lots of solitude down in Piney River area and some good campsites in case you want to make an overnight trip.

We have a short video on our youtube channel Ott Mountain that previews the hike in more detail. Link below. Have fun!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJTKi1dhhuc


    View all 103 reviews for the Little Devils Stairs hike
Early October
Early October
Late October (photos courtesy of Iris)
Mid November
Video
about us | terms of use | © 2017