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Turk Mountain - SNP, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
10.4 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
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5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,390 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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Park at the Jarman Gap parking area. 38.097855, -78.781139

Turk Mountain is a tough hike with about 2400’ of elevation gain, bring plenty of water, especially if hiked in the summer. We hiked it a few days before Christmas and it was quite cold. It's hard to rate the solitude as the temperature was so cold all normal people were at home and not out hiking. The best views are at the top of Turk Mountain, so make sure you do the out/back Blue-blazed Turk Mountain trail.

All of the trails for this hike are well maintained. Hiking poles would be advisable for the multiple stream crossings, althought the level will be significantly less in the summer.  This hike is the last circuit hike in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park.

We parked at the Jarman Gap parking area, near MP97. There are two yellow gated barriers, the trail starts on the barrier nearest Skyline Drive and goes downhill. Continue past the barrier hiking on the yellow blazed Moormans River Fire Road. In about 0.2 miles you will come to an intersection of the A.T., continue past this intersection, crossing Moormans River multiple times prior to reaching the intersection of the Turk Branch Trail in 2.0 miles. You will cross the river and immediately take a left after the SNP Stone Marker heading up the yellow blazed Turk Branch trail. Note: The Moormans River Fire Road continues straight at this intersection following the Moormans River, make sure you turn left onto the Turk Branch Trail.

Continue on the Turk Branch Trail, crossing Turk Branch a couple of times, with multiple switchbacks prior to reaching the Turk Gap parking area. This part of the hike is about 2.6 miles long and gains roughly 1200’ feet in elevation. One of the crossings had a nice small waterfall with a few others visible upstream.

From the Turk Gap parking area, cross Skyline Drive and head to the Stone marker, bearing left onto white blazed AT going South. DO NOT TAKE the yellow blazed continuation of the Turk Gap Trail. Stay on the AT South for 0.3 miles until you reach the intersection of the blue blazed Turk Mountain Trail, take a right. This is an out and back adding 2.0 miles to the hike, but you will see the best views of the day and have a great place to eat lunch. Be sure when you are at the top of Turk Mountain to continue along the rocks past the Stone marker, so that you can also see some great views of the Shenandoah Valley. Retrace your steps to the AT intersection.

Take a right at the AT intersection heading south for about 1.4 miles before crossing Skyline Drive. To the right is the Sawmill Run Overlook which if you have time, has some great views. Once across Skyline Drive there are some good up and downs on this part of the AT but not too bad. Continue on the AT for 1.7 miles reaching the Moormans River Fire Road intersection. Take a right and reach the Jarman Gap Parking area in 0.2 miles to complete the hike.

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Hiker Reviews For The Turk Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 23, 2017
I am going to rate the hike as a four star. The leaves are starting to change in Shenandoah. The only thing keeping this from a 5 star hike is the big yellow jacket nest on the Turk Branch Trail. Be careful out there if you do this hike. I would recommend this hike later in the Fall/Winter when the colder weather ensures that the jacket nest is not an issue.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 25, 2017
Overall, a very nice hike. I only scored it a 3 stars because, as someone else noted, there are nicer hikes just a few miles up the road. (e.g. Riprap, Trayfoot, Doyles River) In some ways that is unfair. In 90% of the country, this trail would be famous, but here, it is a second thought. That said, I hiked it as described and believe that is the better direction to hike it, plus after 6 miles and the climb up Turk, I was ready for a lunch break with a very nice view. Trails were in good shape and no problems. Lot of windblown coming up from the Moormans, but the trail was nicely cleared. If hiking in summer, be ready for the sun to beat down on you hiking the AT back to Jarmans Gap. They are right about bringing enough water, it was in the 70s and I drank 1 1/2 liters with no pit stops.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 18, 2017
Great hike. It's got a little bit of everything. Challenging uphill, pleasant flat ground, nice views. There are even some cool rock walls during the first few miles. There is one very nice view that is a bear to climb to, but it is very nice. I even met a little vole or some sort of vole-like critter. If you like hiking, challenges and a nice view, this is for you!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 29, 2016
My wife and I did this hike today and it was a great hike. The trails were clearly marked and very well kept. It is quite rocky at the summit of Turk Mountain as is the trail to it but nothing that these two old grandparents couldn't handle. The views are spectacular. The streams were overflowing as a lot of rain has fallen in the last several days but no problems getting through them. Overall, it was just a great day!

By: Wrong way Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Just wanted to second Danny's comment below. I took the wrong fire road too. Pretty bad mistake if you go far enough as its a STEEP walk back. If you start passing private land and peoples homes, turn back! Given that it was raining that day too, I decided to save the loop for another day.

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