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Little Devils Stairs - Sperryville , Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
6.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
4.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,480 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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Park at the end of VA670/Keyser Run Rd. and parking area for Little Devils Stairs.
38.73060, -78.25827

Because of the steep grade the first two miles of the Little Devils Stairs hike in the Shenandoah National Park can be tough if the day is warm. The best time to do this hike is the early spring when water levels are at a peak, making the numerous waterfalls along Keiser Run that much nicer. At one point the trail even passes through a small set of falls. Enjoy spectacular views of either side of the gorge as the Little Devis Stairs trail gets closer to the top of the gorge.

The second half of the hike follows the Keyser Run Fire Road back down past the Bolen Cemetery. This is a pleasant walk through some old growth. If you would like to make this hike longer add the 3 sections of the Piney Branch hike to make the circuit a little over 9.0 miles.

  • Mile 0.0 –The hike will begin up the right side of the parking area on the blue blazed Little Devils Stairs Trail. After 0.9 miles the grade will increase sharply as the trail climbs the ravine, and starts crisscrossing Keyser Run.

    The Little Devils Stairs Trail is hard to spot in places and you have to look for the blue blazes on the trees. However, if you believe you've lost the trail it's difficult to go too far off track, as the gorge is very narrow and trail runs along one side or the other of the stream. As you climb up the gorge there are several spots that require hand over hand climbing.

    Near the top of the ravine The Little Devils Stairs Trail becomes less steep, then makes several switchbacks before leveling off completely and arriving at the intersection of the Keyser Run Fire Road, and four way junction.

  • Mile 2.2 - Turn left down the yellow blazed Keyser Run Fire Road and in 2.0 miles enter an old hemlock forest before arriving at the Bolen Cemetery and intersection of the for the the Hull School Trail.

  • Mile 4.8 - Stay left down the yellow blazed Keyser Run Fire road where it becomes steeper for the final 1.2 miles back to the parking area.

  • Mile 6.0 - Arrive back at the parking area.
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Hiker Reviews For The Little Devils Stairs Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Little Devils Stairs hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 17, 2017
Great hike - very quiet. Saw 5 people on the loop (up Little Devils Stairs, down fire road). No wildlife (someone on the trail earlier had seen a bear with two cubs). Did the hike in sturdy trail runners and they were enough for me - I wouldn't have wanted heavier boots given that 2/3 of the hike is on roads or smooth trails. The rock scrambles are pretty easy and the stream was very low at this time of year so no wet feet. No ticks. Very green - the only real view was an overlook off the fire road. The cemetery is worth a few minutes.

By: CMG Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 15, 2017
I was worried it would be too warm but almost all of the trail is nicely shaded. The first few miles with the incline is definitely a 4+ for difficulty but the fire road would be a 1. The incline and rock scrambling is fun but challenging. It was quite humid by the stream for the entire hike. Planning on doing this hike again in the fall and adding on the Piney Branch section. The fire road was relaxing after the incline but boring towards the end. Just a note that the parking lot was full at 9:30am and there is no cell service for about 10+ miles of the park so you can rely on GPS.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Bryans review of the "older couple" in their 40s is hilarious!!! This hike is appropriate for families. I have taken my kids, as young as 6 on this hike with no problem as well as my "older self" in my 40s. Sorry why I pause to laugh again. When you get to the split at the top you will feel glad you are on the descent, the cemetery is fun to explore. This is one of my favorite hikes.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 29, 2017
This hike should be rated a "4" based on the incline instead of a "3". I highly recommend people being in good fitness/hiking shape and have conquered other strenuous trails before tackling this one.

We went to the trail on a hot/humid April day. We parked alongside Keyser Road since the main parking area was full by the time we got there around 9:30 AM. The first half mile, and stream crossing, was a cakewalk and then the fun began: relentless incline, somewhat challenging stream crossings, and plenty of rock scrambles to meander through. At some point, we past an older couple (mid-40s) on the incline who were struggling to get past the various challenges. We think they turned back since we did not see them the rest of the day. There are many amazing waterfalls, which make for perfect photographic opportunities.

The Fire Road is a nice and easy walk after all the strenuous activity. It winds through the Shenandoah, and has one really amazing view halfway through it. The family cemetery towards the end is an interesting dynamic. Many people in my group speculated that this hollow ground was left after people were displaced from this area in the 1930s.

By: Big T Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 22, 2017
The directions to and description of the hike are fairly accurate. I ended up going this past Saturday when it was raining, but still saw about 6-7 other people hiking along the fire road section. The parking lot to Little Devil's Stairs is all the way at the end of Kesyers Run Rd. The trail is actually well marked even through the various traverses up the gorge. I would definitely suggest this hike when water would be present, I think it makes the hike more scenic. The first part of the trail is pretty steep and is continuous until you come to the trail merge with the fire road. The fire road portion is nearly all down hill and is actually a nice trail. The road itself is not too "hard packed" and has grass growing in the middle. I was able to complete the loop, stopping to take pictures in just over 2hrs.

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