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Rocky Mount - SNP, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.5 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
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5.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,840 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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Parking for about 3 cars is on the shoulder of the road at the trail head 150 yards past mile marker 76. If there is no room, park in another 200 yards at Twomile Run Overlook.
38.29877, -78.64666

Rocky Mount is one of a few 9+ mile circuit hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park. With three different ascents, the last being at the end of the hike, this 2,840 foot loop can feel longer and higher than it actually is. The reward is the great panoramic view from the Rocky Mount summit.

 

From the concrete post marking the Rocky Mount Trail head on Skyline Drive, 200 yards before Twomile Run Overlook, start down the blue blazed Rocky Mount Trail as it descends along the ridge. Views of Massanutten Peak to the west are visible along this section of the trail. Massanutten Peak marks the southern tip of the 45 mile long Massanutten Range.

The Rocky Mount Trail will level out, then follow the ridge on its west side, pass through a small gap, then climb on its north side before descending steeply to the intersection of the Gap Run Trail 2.2 miles from Skyline Drive. At this point the Rocky Mount Trail you had been following heads back uphill.

Turn right downhill onto the Gap Run Trail. The trail initially descends steeply before crossing Gap Run in 1.9 miles. In another 0.4 miles arrive at a concrete post trail marker. Turn left remaining on the Gap Run Trail. The overgrown road to the right is private property. In 0.4 miles from the concrete post there is a large camping area on the bank of Gap Run. Continue along the trail for another 0.2 miles and arrive at the Rocky Mount Trail junction.

Turn left onto the blue blazed Rocky Mount Trail, cross Gap Run, and in 0.5 miles the trail makes a switchback to the right. At this point the trail begins the steep climb the 1.6 miles up to the Rocky Mount summit.

One hundred yards past the summit is a rock outcrop and the best views on the hike. Continue following the trail as is now descends Rocky Mount. Twomile Run Overlook, and the hike start point, is visible to the south halfway down the mountain.

In 1.3 miles from the summit arrive back at the junction of the Gap Run Trail you descended earlier. Continue straight on the Rocky Mount Gap Trail, as it now heads uphill, retracing your route the 2.2 miles back to Skyline Drive and hike start point.

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Hiker Reviews For The Rocky Mount Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Paul M. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 13, 2017
Good for a challenge but seriously overgrown in several places. Note that the GPS coordinates shown for the trailhead are wrong. The trailhead is just south of mile marker 76 on Skyline Drive the coordinates are 10+ miles further south.

From HikingUpward: Thanks for the note. The parking cordinates have been corrected.


By: Beth Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 05, 2017
Not a hike I'm likely to do again. It was...well, an experience. My friend and I decided to backpack this one and it was slow going. Not a lot of places to set up camp, though the views were fantastic and the solitude was a plus. The trail was majorly overgrown which made the long uphill slog that much less enjoyable. Honestly, I'm glad I did it, but I will not be back and I wouldn't really recommend it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 01, 2017
Overall, a nice hike on a nice day. I hiked it as described and believe that is the better loop direction. That way the timing is right for a well deserved lunch stop at the top and you don't have that long a climb coming back out. Yes, the climb is a slog and yes, the hike back out has some climbing when you are at your most tired, but neither was ridiculously hard when I paced myself. I'm 63 and overweight, but hike often and did this hike in 5 1/2 hours, including an enjoyable 30 minute lunch break with a beautiful view. I got a little lucky because it rained the day before, which meant I got to see more water than most other times and there was no dust. The stream was a bonus, noting it was only rated a "1" in the heading, but seemed underrated with the flows I saw. 2016 fire damage was impressive and I plan to come back in the Fall to compare the recovery. Don't know if it was the result of the fire, but I found no ticks, while I've found them on almost every other SNP trail since late January. As others said, if you hike for the views though, the return on energy isn't as good for this one as other nearby trails.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 02, 2017
Clouded/Fogged in. 42 degrees. Very nice trail and certainly a good hike. GPS was spot on with the info. No views this day! Did see a Grouse and enjoyed the regrowth from the fire.

By: JML Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 11, 2016
Just want to warn anyone about the lack of shade for the hike due to the fire in April.  We also experienced a lot of convection coming off the ground since most of the ground on the entire hike is dry and black (except the lower portion of the Gap Run Trail).  A large portion of the hike there is no real tree cover and this can really affect you as it did us on the ridge climb coming up from Gap Run.  Almost feels at times like you are hiking on an asphalt parking lot.  If going on a hot sunny day, be prepared to bring extra water!

Other than that, we saw an ample crowd there (5 other groups) and the hike through the various degrees of burned forest was a unique experience.  I expect a lot of people are coming to see the damage.  Regardless, we still had a good time!


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Post May 2016 Fire
Mid April

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