Tibbet Knob - GNM
Beautiful views of Trout Run Valley
Great Virginia Hiking Books!

Whetstone Ridge Trail – Fairfield, VA

Topo Hike Trails Map
   All Hikes Map
   Click for location shots
   Click for location shots
   Click for Parking/Start location
   Hike trail blazed colors
   Other trail

  • Flash_FP1
  • Flash_FP2
  • Flash_FP3

Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
12.2 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
6.0 hours with 30 minutes of breaks
1,900 ft
George Washington National Forest
Topo Hike Trails Map (PDF)
Fairfield, VA Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), Gaia/Trails App (GPX) (What's this?)
3D View of Route

Start: Parking on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 37.86950, -79.14814
Finish: Parking on Irish Creek Rd. VA 603. 37.81923, -79.25397

By Trail Contributor: Jeff Monroe (Email Jeff)

The Whetstone Ridge Trail is a tough ridgetop trail that requires a 25 minute (9.3 mile) car shuttle each way down twisty Irish Creek Road.  Although the trail’s first several miles are level, after five miles the trail begins a “roller coaster” section, steeply gaining elevation then losing it just as fast multiple times before taking a sharp left and steadily descending to the trail’s end on Irish Creek Road.  The trail rewards the hiker for this effort with multiple wonderful views of mountains to the east and the Shenandoah Valley to the west along much of the journey. There were no campsites visible along this hike, but several flat spots provide potential for Leave No Trace camping.

Note: The Forest Service changed the route of the southernmost section of this hike about 10 years ago. Older trail maps (including the 2007 revision of Trails Illustrated #789, current as of this writing in 2017) are incorrect and following them could mean you finish this hike nowhere near your car! For a complete set of area trails we recommend the current PATC Map #13, which is more current.

Mid November
Whetstone Ridge
Whetstone Ridge Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: JLP Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 17, 2019
I'd probably give this five stars if I was doing it as a shuttle hike and didn't have to retrace my steps. As it was, I didn't have a shuttle car, so I only did the hike from the BRP to the overlook at mile 6.8, and I'm looking forward to doing the remainder of the trail from the opposite end later this year.  I love ridge hikes, and this one was quite enjoyable - until I had to turn around and retrace over the same terrain for a very long distance. I probably would have enjoyed the backtracking more in cooler temperatures, but if you do the same thing I did, be prepared for it to become a bit monotonous the south end might be a better choice for a short out and back, since it sounds like it has the majority of the viewpoints.  Anyway, one thing that was totally awesome - despite being on the trail for 6+ hours on a warm summer Saturday, I saw NOT A SINGLE PERSON.  How's *that* for solitude?

By: Marit Anderson Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Fantastic hike with amazing views the whole way! One of my favorites on the BRP.

By: Barbara Martin Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Have been wanting to do this hike for a long time, so very happy when Jeff Monroe offered to lead it.  This is a fantastic hike.  Although it's right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, you really feel like you're in the middle of the wilderness.  Many great views.

about us | contact us | terms of use | © 2000 - 2024