The Eagle Rock Trail and a portion of the Tuscarora Trail that was re-routed in 2014 pass through the private property of the Capon Springs Hunt Club. Please respect private property, remain on the trail, and practice Leave No Trace hiking etiquette.
Mile 0.61 - Pass a campsite on the right that has views through the trees of the gap between Short Mountain and Paddy Mountain. There is no water source here, so if you decide to camp you will have to carry it in. From this point the communications tower service road will become more prominent on the left.
Mile 1.79 - Arrive at the intersection of the orange blazed connector trail to the Hawk Recreation Area. The orange blazed trail was previously part of the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail before the Tuscarora Trail was re-routed in 2014. Stay straight on the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail as it the leaves George Washington National Forest property on the west side of the ridge. The right side of the trail is private property owned by the Capon Springs Hunt Club. Please respect private property and remain on the trail. After passing another knoll the blue blazed trail descends to the parking area at Dry Gap and VA690/Capon Springs Grade Rd.
One of my kids has been bugging me about hiking so I put out feelers and this one was the 2nd most "recommended". I am fat and out of shape and this did exhaust me and the rest of my family. One of the reviewers below comments that their car was towed. NOTE: If you park on the WB side of 55/48 just past the trail, it is clearly marked NO PARKING, so do not park there. I almost did until I saw the NO PARKING sign which could be easy to miss. This was Columbus Day holiday, so both parking areas had 6-10 cars at them each and we encountered several other hiking groups along the trail.
For a first hike, I don't recommend this particular one, however, if you start at the Capon Springs Grade Road point, then Eagle Rock is a great first hike. There is not much to see from 55/48 to the next parking area. The first vista of Paddy's Mountain was nice but it's partially grown in so it's not the best picture spot. After that, there was nothing scenic or picturesque about the rest of the trail until reaching Eagle Rock. We saw no wildlife at all but heard there was a snake on the trail approaching Eagle Rock. There are a could of grades that are steep enough to take the spirit of the out-of-shape. That happened to us.
Eagle Rock's panorama is a definite 5 star view. That made the hike a delight. This was a perfect day to hit the trails. Cloudless sky and 70 degrees. The foliage hasn't changed yet but it's close. The majority of this hike is under the forest canopy so even in the heat of summer, it won't be in direct sunlight. Our round trip encounter took us about 6 hours. We stopped a few times and spent a good half hour on the "rock."
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 5, 2019
Very nice hike although easier than a '3' (and I'm an out of shape, old fart). Think it would be even better in the winter. No problems parking on Rt. 55/48.
Date of Hike: Friday, August 23, 2019
I have done this hike many times. You will not be towed if you park legally ...duh. It's a pretty easy hike and very scenic. You may see a bear or a rattlesnake because you are in the National forest, though you probably wont see them, just be aware that this is their turf.
We usually do the shorter version as a late afternoon /evening hike. it's nice and if you go in late april/early may you can see the azaleas blooming and they are just beautiful. enjoy and respect.
Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 21, 2019
The 7-mile version of this trek is a lovely hike! The majority is a pleasant walk in the woods albeit, there is a generous amount of scree, so be sure to bring boots. The trail is in good condition and is impeccably blazed. And OMG, that view!!
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 7, 2019
No parking on Rt 55. Car was towed. Long hike through the brush to get there. Saw a timber rattler on the rocks at the overlook.......not good!!! On the way back we ran into some other hikers who appeared frightened. Apparently they saw a large black bear. So we all left together. We will never go back. Terrible hike, dangerous wildlife and no parking.