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Riprap Hollow - SNP, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.5 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
5.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,225 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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e.g.. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Park at the Riprap Trail parking area. 38.17711, -78.76509

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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Hiker Reviews For The Riprap Hollow Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Riprap Hollow hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: KellyMB Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 30, 2015
Did the "boring" part of the reverse hike and admittedly, it was a little boring. Did the 2.8 miles and then got to a sign offering Blackrock Summit (1.3 miles ahead) as an option, so we did that because we wanted views, and views it delivered! Spotted a black bear off the trail on our way back down to the Riprap parking lot, at the Chimney Rock junction.

By: usna98 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 19, 2015
I thought this was just an okay hike. Maybe my expectations were a little too high based on all the reviews I read here and the ratings it was given. I'm still trying to find one in the area as fun and rewarding as Old Rag. It is a fairly strenuous hike in parts especially towards the latter half if you do it in reverse like a lot of the reviews suggest. Overall, it took me about 5.5 hrs with stops. The two overlooks were fine, but nothing to write home about. The swimming hole was a little low this time of year especially with the little rain we've gotten this summer. The highlight of the trail was running into a couple of adult bears within a couple mile stretch of the hike, otherwise I would've given this an overall rating of 2 stars. I would have to grade the "Views" a 2 out of 6, but the rest of the ratings are fairly spot on. A nice hike, but I wouldn't do it again nor recommend it to anyone. There are much better hikes in SNP.

By: Upwar and Onward Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 30, 2015
My wife and I did this hike backwards. Makes the views at the end of the hike. We laughed at the sign at the trail head because it told us the hike was going to take us 8 and 1/4 hours. We started at noon and were done by 3:00. No wildlife at all on the trail. I would recommend getting there early on the weekend. We had to fight for a parking spot when we got there. Overall was a great hike. You can't beat a walk in the woods. Is there ever really a bad hike?

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 21, 2015
I hiked the Riprap trail clockwise starting at the Riprap trailhead. I opted to do the “boring” AT part first and work up a sweat before hitting the swimming hole. The AT lived up to expectations with only one slight overlook providing a preview of the mountain that would need to be climbed at the end of the hike. The Wildcat Ridge Trail was an easy descent into the hollow and had a few overlooks. The last mile follows a small stream until the junction with the Riprap trail. From there the last 3ish miles were all uphill, although there was only one steep section.

The swimming hole was okay. What it lacked in size it made up for in coldness. The 20’ waterfall was not much more than a trickle when I was there but the rock formations in that section were still pretty. The vistas in and around Chimney Rock were typical and you could get the same view from just about any of the west facing overlooks on Skyline drive.

Overall it was not a bad hike, but there was nothing about it that would make me hike it again. The AT and Wildcat trails do not add much value to this hike so you could hit all of the highlights by hiking counterclockwise out and back to Chimney Rock (or possibly down to the swimming hole).


By: Shawn R. Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 10, 2015
This was a great hike which included a few spectacular views and extended access to streams and a swimming hole.  As great as the views were, there were only a couple of lookouts.  I would say that the swimming hole and creeks were the highlight of the hike.  The swimming hole was cold, but refreshing.  I highly recommend doing the hike opposite of what the instructions say, in order to leave the best part for last.  The hike took about 5 hours and 15 minutes and is fairly difficult, but nothing unmanageable.  There was plenty of wildlife along the way, including moths, butterflies, frogs, toads, fish, and bears (we only saw scat though).  We did walk past several other hikers, but spread out over the 9 mile hike, it wasn't so bad.  The drive on skyline drive to get there is very nice, but the only real negative about this hike is the cost of $20 to enter.  I would say the hike is well worth the money though and I highly recommend this hike to others.       

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