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Mills Creek - Waynesboro, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
14.9 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
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9 hours over 2 days
2,750
George Washington National Forest
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Park at the Slacks Overlook parking area on The Blue Ridge Parkway. 37.90793, -79.05107

Mills Creek is one of four nice loop hikes in this area of the Blue Ridge, with Three Ridges, St. Mary's Wilderness, and Torry Ridge, and is the least hiked of the four. Mills Creek is usually flowing, and surrounded by grasses and ferns. As a backpack, there are two nice campsites halfway along the Mills Creek trail that are suitable for multiple tents.

This hike can also be slightly punishing in sections. The first days hike along the Torry Ridge Trail is undulating and can be rocky, then the second days ascent at the end of the Mills Creek trail is a tough 1.2 mile climb with over 1,100 vertical feet of gain.

From the Slacks Overlook parking area follow the trail on the right for 60 yards to the intersection of the Slacks Trail. Turn left towards the Torry Ridge Trail as it gently climbs for 0.9 miles where the Slacks Trail ends at the Torry Ridge Trail.

Turn right on the Torry Ridge Trail and pass several small vistas between the trees then arrive at the Blue Loop Trail in 1.9 miles. This terminus of the Blue Loop Trail descends down to Lake Sherando. Continue on the Torry Ridge Trail passing the other end of the Blue Loop Trail in another 1.0 miles. From this point the Torry Ridge Trail becomes more rocky then passes over Torry Mountain and reaches the intersection of the Mills Creek Trail in 1.9 miles.

Turn left on the Mills Creek Trail as it descends towards the valley. In 0.7 miles reach the next intersection. Turn left crossing a small creek and continue on the Mills Creek Trail where it will pass a small campsite and cross a larger creek in 0.8 miles. After crossing the creek the Mills Creek Trail reaches the valley floor.

Turn left on the Mills creek (a forestry road bears right). In 1.3 miles just before crossing Mills Creek for the first time there is the best campsite on the circuit on the right. Another smaller campsite is just up the trail on the left, again just before crossing Mills Creek.

For the next 2.9 miles the Mills Creek trail crosses the creek several more times as it gradually winds its way up the valley, then steeply ascends the right side of the valley making 8 switchbacks, and gaining over 1,100 feet of elevation gain in just 1.2 miles.

The Mills Creek trail will end at a clearing and small campsite with a decent view of the valley you just climbed. From here go out to the forestry road and turn left. In 0.3 miles the road will fork. Take the left fork. Continue for another 0.1 miles and look closely for the Torry Ridge Trail on the left. The trail sign is setback 50ft to prevent vandalism.

Follow the Torry Ridge Trail, passing several good vistas, as it descends back to the intersection of the Slacks Trail in 1.2 miles. Turn right on the Slacks Trail for the remaining 0.9 miles and Slacks Overlook parking area connector trail.

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Hiker Reviews For The Mills Creek Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Corbin Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 14, 2017
50% miserable 50% fun. Parts of this hike were really nice and there were tons of vistas peaking through the trees. About half of it was very easy with little change in elevation and nice easy terrain. However, the other half was awful. The climb the second day was pretty rough and a few outside factors, such as rain that wasn't in the forecast, made it even worse. But the worst part of the whole hike was the rocks. I've done several hikes around here and jumps and ruck runs in the military and this was by far the most physically punishing. I took my girlfriend along for her second trip and both of us were hurting. The descent on day 2 after climbing the mountain was the roughest part of the entire hike. The bugs for the first 1.5 miles by mills creek were so bad even with bug spray on. We camped at the second spot on the map which was a nice camp spot. There is a cool little trail that takes you to the creek. The water was ice cold and tasted so good after filtering it. We wanted to camp farther up on the trail but we weren't sure if there would be a decent camp site. We did find what I would say is the best campsite on the entire trail 1.5 past where we camped. I highly recommend that site because it'll make day 2 a little better and it is right on the creek. My gps clocked the whole thing at right around 16 miles. We also didn't see a single person the entire time we were out. Overall this hike had a lot of pros but equally as many cons.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 01, 2017
Planned to do this as a nice July 4th weekend overnight backpack. We got sort of a late start (terrible traffic coming from DC), but still figured we could make the planned campsite by around dinner time. The ridge trail was nice - a cooling breeze was around that helped alleviate the sticky temps this weekend. When we reached the Blue Loop trail, we dropped our packs and headed down to the lookout. It was a steep drop, and the view wasn't all that amazing...I would recommend skipping it because there is actually IMO a better view a ways down the main trail (once you reach a big talus slope, just carefully descend a hundred feet down or so, and you'll have a cool view of Sherando Lake and the surrounding ridges).

All was going well until the Mills Creek Trail, when we bumped into the hiker that had been ahead of us. He had run into a rattlesnake, which had coiled and would not move. We couldn't get it to move after several minutes, so eventually we just went into the woods around it. Lesson learned, watch where you step! We arrived at the Mills Creek campsite at around 630 nevertheless. The creek and the campsites are nice, but it was incredibly buggy. It was refreshing to wash off in the creek that night, however (plenty of running water right now). The climb up out of the valley the next day is pretty punishing - especially on another hot and humid day like today. The campsite at the top was occupied, but we still stole a quick look at the viewpoint there. The last leg of the trip on Torry Ridge trail was actually my favorite part - the trail itself was gorgeous (but rocky in parts), and there were some cool views through the trees. Overall, this hike was really nice. Lots of varied terrain, a couple challenging parts, and a couple views. If it had been less buggy down along Mills Creek, with slightly better views, I would give it a 5 star. Oh, and I didn't find it to be that rocky - in some parts it was, but nothing worse than anything I've hiked before. Cheers!


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 24, 2017
Decided to take on this hike in reverse to ease the 1,100 ft ascend at the end of the hike, BIG. MISTAKE. My girlfriend and I did this hike in reverse which seemed like an okay idea, boy were we wrong. First off the weather was AMAZING 75, breezy and low humidity. Perfect hiking weather! The first day we made it to the camp site along Mills Creek (great spot) and there was plenty of water to filter and refill our bottle. not knowing what lies ahead, we set up camp and had a great night. Turns out, when hiked in reverse you spend about 6.5 miles mainly uphill(getting on and across Torry Ridge) and did I mention 85% of the hike is on uneven rocks!?!?!?! Overall it was a little punishing(my fault) but we will tackle it again, minus a 25lb backpack and with PLENTY of water! Also, since the trail is a tad obscure, the vegetation was overgrown which meant TICKS! Load up on the DEET and everything will be alright.

By: Steven P Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, April 13, 2016
When I first read the reviews of this hike, I thought that the rockiness would be exaggerated. I was quite wrong. The Torry Ridge Trail sections are incredibly rocky, with parts of Mills Creek also containing some rocky parts. Be prepared to get your feet beat up and your ankles/knees twisted.

The campsites are very good and almost make the trip worthwhile. But even splitting this hike up into an overnighter, it was still a lot tougher than I envisioned. The steep climb on the second day is very punishing, but mentally rewarding. I would say if you're looking for an overnighter and want a good challenge, this is a fantastic hike for you. If you're looking for something of a more leisurely overnighter or dayhike, you might want to look elsewhere.

As one other commenter put it, the best description of this hike is: ROCKS!


By: Earl Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 05, 2015
The trail was nice and very quite. but poorly marked. as for the Torry ridge part cant say anything about that area I walked out to Torry mount road and then to Shenado lake, and finish on the white rock gap trail.

    View all 10 reviews for the Mills Creek hike
Early September
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