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White Rocks - Wardensville, West Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.8 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

4.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,840 ft
George Washington National Forest
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Park on left where roads splits, or stay left uphill for 0.3 miles, and park at the gate if your vehicle has the clearance. 39.00907, -78.59647

The White Rocks hike, with the spectacular Opa Overlook, is our favorite loop hike in the Great North Mountain area. This hike has streams, great diversity in flora, and sublime solitude. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Shenandoah National Park from the Opa Overlook. This area was originally settled by German's in the 1730's, with German and Scots-Irish migrants mainly moving from the Pennsylvania area. The Opa Overlook is also accessible from the Little Sluice Hike.

  • Mile 0.0 – Start (from the lower parking area) by hiking uphill on the forestry service road (FS) for 0.3 miles where you will reach a closed gate and additional parking for five vehicles.
  • Mile 0.3Pass the closed gate and continue on the orange blazed FS road for 0.25 miles to the intersection of the pink blazed Old Mail Path on the right.
  • Mile 0.55Take the pink blazed Old Mail Path, passing a kiosk and 2 benches on the right. This section of the Old Mail Path can be very muddy in the spring.
  • Mile 0.8 – In 0.25 miles cross Cove Run and continue following the pink blazed Old Mail Path as it turns uphill through short scrub and pine arriving at a wildlife clearing, and the intersection of the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail/FS road.
  • Mile 1.6Turn right on the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail/FS road, pass two more wildlife clearings before the FS road ends, and the Racer Camp Hollow Trail continues into the forest. After entering the forest, the orange blazed trail will gradually descend for 0.4 miles to Racer Camp Hollow Run, and a large campsite.
  • Mile 2.8 – From the campsite, the trail heads up the valley crossing the run several times before arriving at a hunters campsite in 1.7 miles.
  • Mile 4.5 – From the hunters campsite continue 200 yards to the intersection of the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail and purple blazed Little Sluice Mountain Trail. Turn left uphill on the blue blazed trail (the immediate blazes you see are the green deer study markings). After 1.4 miles the trail will have crested the ridge then arrives at the white blazed White Rocks Lookout Trail on the right. There is no signage at this intersection, but has several small cairns.
  • Mile 5.9 – Take the white blazed trail for 0.2 miles where you will pass a high mountain campsite on the right. Pass the campsite where shortly the trail will climb a steep rock scree. At the top of the scree stay left and continue around the knob to the Opa Lookout. Note: The white blazes on the top of the scree are faded and hard to see. Return to the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail to continue the hike.
  • Mile 6.4 – Turn right on the blue blazed trail for 0.5 miles then arrive at the intersection of the pink blazed Old Mail Path on the left, and the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail turns right.
  • Mile 6.9Turn left on the pink blazed trail for 1.3 miles as it descends Little Sluice Mountain before arriving back at a clearing and intersection of the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail you were at earlier in the hike.
  • Mile 8.2Continue downhill through the clearing, on the pink blazed trail re-crossing the run and arriving back at the yellow blazed forestry service road.
  • Mile 9.5 – Turn left on the FS road passing the closed gate and upper parking area.
  • Mile 9.8 – Arrive back at the lower parking area.
Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the White Rocks hike:

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

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 28, 2018
My partner and I backpacked this hike, spending a night in a great campsite near the overlook. It provided a good challenge with a 35 pound pack. At different points along our hike my group twice encountered a rattlesnake in the middle of the trail, and twice encountered young black bears very close to the trail. The bears were young enough that we feared their mother may have been close by, but we didn't run into any trouble. Make sure your group is making some noise!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 04, 2018
Great hike!

Not sure it needs to be a level 3 hike. For me, itís more like a 2. I did the hike in reverse, going from the Pink trail to the Blue trail, then Orange trail, which has the steeper profile. The only difficult part of the hike is the initial climb. The distance is long and elevation gain not that great. Even this part of the trail was simple. It should be even easier if you take the Orange trail first.

There were a lot of streaming crossings. It had rained within the last couple of days I worked my way around many some mud holes at the beginning. The trails is also used by people on horseback. You might have to dodge some horse poop here and there.

Please be careful where you walking. I almost stepped on a timber rattlesnake near one of the stream crossings along the orange trail. Along the Orange trail, not far from the intersection from the Pink trail, there is a lot of tall grass that covers a fire trail. Be careful in the tall grass snakes are hard to see in these areas.

Otherwise, it was a nice hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 21, 2018
Very busy weekend on the trails. A local equine group was having their spring ride (had to dodge many land mines). Passed several other groups of folks backpacking for the weekend. The trail is great. We enjoyed each part, from the lower stream crossings to the ridge and view of the Shenandoah Valley. The weather was perfect, and the large campsite worked out well for our troop of 18 people. Thanks for your review. We printed the trail map directly from your site and used is for navigation. I would be interested in seeing more hike options in this area of the George Washington National Forest.

By: Kilian Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Did an overnight trip and stayed at the high mountain campsite. Was an incredible day, 76 degrees and no bugs since it was winter! It's a good hike with some nice scenery changes and a few lovely walks along ridge lines. The Opa Overlook is nice if often windy but my personal highlight is the campsite(s) up near the overlook.

It can be a bit muddy but is never too difficult or steep. Probably the best hike in terms of solitude, views, trail within 2 hours of DC.

By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 11, 2017
A nice hike overall -- I hiked it as described, but parking 0.3 mile in at the closed gate. One of the photo captions says you need a high-clearance vehicle to get there but I did fine going slowly with my low-clearance car. I arrived at noon and met a couple returning from a morning hike but saw no one else for the rest of the hike.

I bump it up from three stars to four because of 1) the very nice Opa Lookout, and 2) the relatively low level of rockiness compared to other trails in the George Washington National Forest -- it was a fairly comfortable hike wearing my trail runners. A nice change of pace. The inclines are mostly not severe. I found a trekking pole helpful to keep my balance and not slip at times.

I saw reviews mentioning mud, so I waited a few days after the last rain I estimate I ran across about 20 muddy spots, but they were mostly very short (10-20 feet long) and mostly well packed so I didn't sink in or I could go around them. At the end of the hike my shoes were fairly clean.

Between the first and second campsite on the Racer Camp Hollow trail, I somehow crossed over the creek getting off the trail, realized my error, and got back on the right side with the aid of my GPS device loaded with the trail route, which I was glad to have. The blazes are mostly non-existent. But, if you're careful, the trail is apparent over the great majority of the hike.

A July review mentioned ticks but I didn't encounter any, nor any other pests that were bothersome.

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