North Carolina  Virginia
Maryland  West Virginia
All States Hike Map

Hiker Comments for the Rocky Mount Hike - 1 to 47 of 47   
Average Rating:

By: Emily Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 25, 2019
This trail is rough. Not in a "hard climbs" way. Not even in an emotional way. It just looks like something discarded and forgotten about for years. If you like scrambling through downed tree branches, getting swiped at by thorny briars, and having cobwebs tangled up in your eyelashes then this trail is great.

5 stars for solitude. 2 stars for fun. 2 stars for views. 5 stars for just a good piece of Appalachian woods to walk around in.

If you're camping, there is plenty of water halfway through the trail, even in these dry conditions.

By: ANDICONK Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 18, 2019
I have hiked this trail at least a few times before, the last time before today was several years ago counterclockwise. Recalling that the portion from the bottom (end of Gap Trail) to the top of Rocky Mount was super steep & challenging the last time, I opted for a clockwise trip today. Due to the fire a few years ago and the ice storm last October there were quite a few obstacles--brambley undergrowth & lots of downed trees. I expected this, so anticipated the extra effort would be needed. Turned out to be a beautiful hike & not another soul the entire hike. Happy encounter with a garter snake.

By: Mark Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 21, 2019
This loop is very difficult, partly due to the need for trail maintenance on Gap Run section and back part of Rocky Mount. But the solitude to be found is well worth the effort. This may be one of the most remote hikes in SNP. I do recommend the Gap Run portion for this reason. We hiked the loop counter clockwise and were glad we did because we were fresher when we reached the obstacles. The views on the Rocky Mount are excellent, partly because the area is recovering from a recent fire. The first 0.5 mile has been cleared. Very strenuous and rewarding.

By: Amanda Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 3, 2019
The previous reviewer is right on about waiting to do this hike when the weather is cooler. We did the loop as presented and found it to be hot and difficult. We found the Gap Run portion to be really disappointing. There were 25+ blow downs to climb over or around, lots of overgrown vegetation and nothing spectacular to see on Gap Run. The Rocky Mount portion of the trail was in excellent condition compared to a year ago when we attempted this hike. A year ago the first 1/2 mile had pervasive thorny vines that had overtaken the trail making it painful and slow moving to pull long thorny vines back to pass through. Fast forward a year and we found the first 1/2 mile to be in excellent condition. The PATC has been hard at work maintaining the Rocky Mount trail. We actually met the individual responsible for maintaining the Rocky Mount during our hike. He was pruning the first 2.2 miles down to the lollypop portion. RECOMMENDATION: Complete this hike as an out and back to the summit (skip the Gap Run portion) during cooler months October - April.

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 19, 2019
I did this hike for the first time today, and I could have picked a better day/time to do it. The heat was sweltering: 100 degrees in the lowlands, and ~90 degrees on the trail. I (foolishly) didn't anticipate how much of a factor the heat would be. Although I had more than enough water, I baked for the entire hike. It really sapped my energy and I had to pause multiple times on ascent portions of the trail, which is something I'm not really accustomed to. If you decide to do this hike, please don't be like me. Do it when the weather isn't sizzling.

As far as the trail goes I didn't think it to be so overgrown (as of present) as others have described here. It appeared that there has been recent maintenance to clear a fair bit of the encroaching vegetation, particularly for the first mile or so. However, as others also pointed out, long pants are a must! I am grateful to have heeded this information as one will still brush past plenty of vegetation. I didn't incur any scrapes or cuts with long pants.

Also there are several downed trees on the final ascent up the summit, which will demand skirting around and over dead-fall. This in my opinion, is another factor that adds to the difficulty of the ascent (indeed it is rather strenuous).

The summit, or outcroppings thereof provide stellar views that as another reviewer mentioned, are quite worthwhile. Overall this was a great hike, albeit rather tough given the weather, trail conditions, and pitch.  

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 5, 2019
We did an out and back - we stopped near the end, probably where the PATC volunteers stopped their trail clearing. This was a strenuous hike and the beginning is wooded, so it takes patience to get to the special views. Once you get through to the views, it is stunning. In between you'll pass different fauna in terms of trees and sun exposure. Raspberries, blackberries and even blueberries were in season, which meant delicious surprise snacks along the way. The down-side is that raspberries have thorns and grow well into the trail at times. This trail has much lighter foot traffic and so the overgrowth is considerable at times

Wear long pants and bring plenty of water. If you like lonesome hikes with stunning views, you'll like this one

By: Anna Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 15, 2019
Attempted this hike this past Saturday. I would barely call this a trail, the bushes and thorned trees were so overgrown. It was very hard to walk through. We tried going for a little bit ~0.5 mile but ended so cut up on our legs we turned back and left.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 1, 2019
You can tell that this trail doesn't receive much foot traffic and isn't tended to much. The path was overgrown with enough thorny vines and brush to warrant turning back after about 100 yards. I have a feeling it's probably a good hike, but I won't try this one out until winter when the vines and brush thin out.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 7, 2018
As of 7 Oct, PATC volunteer trail crews have managed to clear the trail out to the Gap Run Trail intersection and part of the way over Rocky Mount and down the Gap Run Trail. The far side of Rocky Mount (approximately between Miles 5 and 6 on this hike) is still uncleared from the blow downs and regrowth following the 2015 fire. The burned out areas are recovering with new saplings coming up from the bases of 'killed' trees, as well as large sections of blackberry brambles. Additionally, 'standing dead' trees that were damaged or killed during the fire continue to create new blow downs across the trail which take time to remove.

Recommend treating this as an out-and-back hike until the far sections are cleared, either up to the overlook on Rocky Mount or down to the bottom of Gap Run.

By: Amanda Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 4, 2018
This trail was seriously overgrown and full of brush with thorns. We made it about a half mile in and had to turn back because we were cut up so badly and the trail condition was getting worse and worse. It took us about an hour to do the half mile in and back out. If you are going to do this trail make sure to wear pants and long sleeves.

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 5, 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 1, 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 2, 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!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 11, 2016
A nice tough hike with multiple stream crossings.  There were clear impacts of the recent major fire throughout the entire hike to include the smell of charred wood.  This is an interesting time to do this hike and view these impacts of the fire on the landscape.

By: NRR Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 13, 2016
This hike is open again, is still easy to follow, and is also still very beautiful.

By: NH_Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 16, 2016
FYI this trail is closed due to a forest fire, as of 4/16/16.

By: MT Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 6, 2016
Great hike. Winter views are fantastic. Trail was not snowy or muddy. Only saw one other person (and one dog) all day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 6, 2016
I was that other person (with my dog) that MT was talking about...they were a little bit behind me, and we were at the summit together, but saw no one else all day.  Hike has great winter views in a lot of places, and it wasn't too strenuous, but also wasn't the easiest hike in the park.  The steepness on the backside of the mountain is on par with Robertson Mt., Sam's Ridge, etc., just not as long. One thing to watch out for, the Gap Run trail is flooded in spots, so take some care in keeping on the trail.  I love Shenandoah this time of year, the crowds are nonexistent.

By: eightyseven Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 22, 2015
If you are using google maps via the address box above, it takes you to the wrong location.,-78.6493311,14z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x2b0e4cafd77c1643
is the google maps location of the Two Mile Run Overlook, a couple hundred yards south of the trailhead.

The Rocky Mount hike was decent overall, though like many hikes with higher rated views, it may be more appropriate for fall or winter. The view from the summit is great, and like others before me said, after that steep climb you really feel a sense of accomplishment (and hunger!). The outcropping is like a nature-made chair, you can sit with your back against the rock and fully relax and have lunch while enjoying the view of the valley beyond.

We began to question the difficulty of the hike just before the climb to the summit, as it is either flat or slightly downhill up to this point. All of a sudden it gets pretty tough, ascending ~1500ft in 1.5 miles with only a couple of switchbacks. If you are familiar with climb back to the parking area at Strickler Knob, that is about what to expect from this ascent. The hike back is also a little difficult but not above a 3.

The foliage was beautiful, lush and green this time of August and although it did block some potential views, it felt as though you were completely enveloped in the forest. And in fact this hike goes pretty far away from civilization, so if you want to feel the solitude of nature, I would recommend it. We only saw one other person on the trail.

By: Riley2015 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 24, 2015
Beautiful hike. The views would be best in early spring. I went in early summer, but it was still a very beautiful hike. The trail seemed a little washed out by recent rains, but it wasn't too bad. Could be rocky at times, so wear good boots. If you take the loop counterclockwise it's a little easier. Clockwise has longer hills. Overall, I got a great workout and enjoyed the scenery.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 22, 2015
Nice hike.  I would say it is closer to a Level 4 Difficulty and similar to Signal Knob hike near Front Royal.  This would be a great late winter/early spring hike when leaves are still off the trees.  Ran into 4 hikers, so great solitude.  Also, the Get Directions does not map Two Mile Run Overlook at MP 76.

By: Pancks Heaney Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 23, 2014
Lovely hike -- not too strenuous, some decent views, and given the time of year we hiked this (a few days before Thanksgiving), plenty of solitude, as well. The dry leaves on some of the steep sections made for some careful foot placement, but nothing too bothersome. We particularly liked the sections with old growth mountain laurel (eight feet tall with trunks a few inches thick) -- I imagine these look amazing when in bloom in the late spring. To add to our enjoyment, we saw quite a few Downy Woodpeckers, some Turkey Vultures, and a Pileated Woodpecker.

We had a few days to do some hiking in SNP and the Blue Ridge Mountains and did this hike, the RipRap Trail/AT Loop, Old Rag, and the White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run Loop, followed up by the Crabtree Falls hike (plus a bit of extra mileage where the hike connects to the AT). We loved each of these hikes and would love to explore more when we have the time.

(We are glad to have found this web site and appreciate the time and effort that you've put into it. Thank you!)

By: Wahoo Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I agree with the reviewer who mentioned the sense of accomplishment at the end – this was a remarkably difficult hike (and I'm an in-shape student). I did the hike counter-clockwise and the ascent from the gap to the summit was more difficult than anything I've hiked in the southern area of SNP – definitely much more difficult than Rip Rap. I was able to finish the hike in just under 4-hours, but it was tough going. I imagine this isn't a problem at other times of year, but the trail was covered in deep leaves that made it much more difficult to climb that it otherwise would have been.

By: Hiking Novice Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 20, 2014
I am a novice, out-of-shape, older (52 yrs) hiker, who went with a group of teens led by an experienced adult hiker.  This trail is NOT for the out-of-shape!!!!  It was extremely difficult for me.  I see on the map that the steepest grade was climbing 1500 ft or so in 1.6 miles to reach the summit.  I got to the point that I had to walk 25 steps, catch my breath walk 50 steps, catch my breath walk another 25 steps, and so on.  By the time we got to the summit, I was so exhausted and sore I didn't even want to climb down the 8 ft or so to the rock outcropping (my loss, my son's photos were beautiful!).  I just wanted to get the rest of the hike over with.  The water crossings were extremely low but Virginia is 6" behind on rainfall for the year.  The leader and I stopped to refill water bottles and sterilize them.  We stopped again for lunch.  The teen boys and leader had no problems and enjoyed the hike.  My teenage daughter fared a little better than I did but we are both out of shape.  It probably took us (me) 7 - 7 1/2 hours including the two stops and walking the additional 1/2 mile or so from/to where the cars were parked.  I have to say our leader was great at encouraging me and not pushing me to go faster than I obviously could.  Maybe we will do this hike again only I plan on being in better shape so I can enjoy it as much as the boys did.  I have to say we were fortunate with perfect weather conditions!!!

By: Steve Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Very nice hike. Did not see anyone else out there the entire day (a Wednesday). This is a nice walk I was able to do in about 5 hours moving at a quick pace. I did the loop counterclockwise. Some of the trail bed in Gap Run has been recently washed out. I would give this hike 5 stars except for two reasons.

1. The view from the summit is unimpressive. There are other nice views along the way, but the final payoff is lacking.
2. TICKS! Lots and lots of them. The most I have ever seen. Between me and the dog, fifty ticks would be a reasonable guess as to what we were dealing with. I pulled over 20 off me throughout the day and 10+ from the dog. Then more ticks were found when we returned home. The grass is shin high and the trail is overgrown in parts. As a result, I would not recommend hiking this in the summer.

By: Wife2Dren Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Although this is a challenging hike, it was one of those that brings you a great sense of accomplishment when finished. We didn't find the initial leg of the hike (the "string on the balloon") too difficult, although it had its steep moments. We went clockwise around the "balloon," which meant we faced the immediate steep climb up the mountain. It was difficult, but the trail was in great condition and the grade was more kind than on the backside of the mountain. The views were great from the top, but they weren't plentiful. It was neat to spot our car at the overlook, though! As for the top and backside of the mountain, the trail is not in good condition. Several times we lost the blaze because of downed trees or bark having fallen off of trees. Some switchbacks were not marked at all. Worse, the depth of the leaves on the loose rock made for a strenuous descent on the backside of the mountain. (Note: this would be the long, uphill climb if you followed the directions listed on this site.) We slid a lot and were saved by our hiking poles several times. The creek was running a little high, so a few crossings forced us to go up- or downstream to find the driest crossing. Hiking poles were needed for 2 or 3 of the crossings for stability. We both went through about 2 liters of water (it was breezy, sunny, and about 55 degrees) and a sandwich/snack bar. Based on the leaves/debris/loose rock, I'm not sure I would do this circuit hike again. However, I would do it as an out-and-back to the top of the mountain, eliminating the backside of the mountain and creekside hike. The rock outcrop is a great spot for a picnic. There were no others on this trail, and the only wildlife was a grouse. A quiet hike if that's what you seek.

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 9, 2014
It was a cold, cold day in the mountains today so I had this hike to myself. There were no great views and no great water scenes, but there was lots of interesting trail. The ascent to the summit of Rocky Mount was steep and unrelenting..maybe the steepest continuous grade I've hiked. And by the time you get to the last two ascents  on the way back to the car you're plugging along at around Mile 8 with tired legs so those ascents hit hard as well. I gave this a 4 because of the variety of trail, the challenge, and the solitude. Now some trail notes: there were a couple of places before the Gap Run trail that had trees across. The first one can be walked around pretty easily, The 2nd one is either over or under unless you want to go way off trail. Both are passable, just inconvenient. I was also surprised by the number of water crossings (4 for Gap Run alone). I'm positive I would have gone in if I hadn't had poles so if anybody hikes this during cold weather then keep that in mind. The rocks at the last crossing of Gap Run were covered with 3" of water, but there were rocks about 50 feet upstream that were above water and stable. Of course there are lots of thorns between the trail and the crossing so it's not a perfect solution.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 5, 2013
A good hard hike. We are experienced and in good shape -- we kept a fast pace and finished in 4 hours (plus 20 minutes for lunch at the top). The views are only at the summit, and aren't as good as some other hikes (Old Rag, RipRap, Humpback) because the rocks aren't as wide open at the top. However, the benefit you get here that you don't get at those other hikes is solitude -- we went on a Sunday in early May and saw ONE other human, and this wasn't until the end of the hike. This is definitely a challenging hike -- I would rate difficulty of 4 or 5. The first half is quite easy, but the ascent is extremely steep and unforgiving. There are also a couple shorter ascents at the end of the hike, which is challenging considering the hike is 10 miles long. Great hike for the experienced hiker -- I would highly recommend. One thing -- if heading north on Skyline drive from I-64, it's 30 miles (not 15 like GMaps told us), and the post for the trail is 200 yards north of TwoMileRun overlook. We had a little trouble finding the trail head because we read the directions wrong, but after that the trail is clearly marked and blazed. Also, I recommend sleeves and pants -- there were several downed trees on the trail and the trail isn't cut back so well. Probably why we didn't see anyone else out there, but totally worth it. I'm hoping I don't get poison though..

By: hburg1222 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Nice cool day for this hike.  Reminents of  snow on the ground. I parked at the Twomile Overlook.  This trail is pretty gradual up and down until the intersection.  I took the clockwise route.  The uphill grades were pretty steep.  I stopped for two view intakes.  One just just sort of the summit and the other at the summit.  Foliage was not on the trees so the view were pretty awsome.  Coming down hill was slow going and pretty steep.  Along the stream, there were a few trees down that I had to work around.  Just before returning to the intersection, grades got pretty steep again.  Overall, a pretty nice stroll in the forest. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 8, 2012
Started about 8:45am and it was 67 degrees and humid. Found the first 2.2 miles to the intersection with Gap Run Trial fairly easy. Followed the Gap Run to the right in a counter-clockwise direction and there is a moderately steep descent right after turning on to this portion of the trail but still fairly easy to the 4.4 mile mark and the intersection again with the Rocky Mount Trail. This is where the FUN begins :) Basically, uphill in fairly abrupt manner for the next 2 miles. I was sucking wind and could hear my heart pounding but recovered on the more flat sections. There are some impressive views in this portion so take your time and enjoy. From the summit it's about 1.2 miles back to the intersection again with the Gap Run/Rocky Mount Cement Post intersection. The final leg of the journey back to the Two-Mile-Run Overlook Parking area was harder than I remember when I came this way earlier especially the first mile or so where you are climbing back up. Finished in 5 hours and didn't see a solitary person on the trail. I know this because I broke all the cob webs. Many acorns on the trail and some of the trees are beginning to change. It was about 73 degrees when I finished. Drank about a liter of water and ate an energy and granola bar.

By: Diana Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 10, 2012
A lot of strenuous and unpleasant uphill, two black bears right by the trail, one snake, and one almost completely obscured view. Not worth it. Took us 5 hours. We really didn't care for it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 5, 2011
The only pro of this hike would be the workout. It took us 5 hrs and 15 minutes to complete hike with lunch and a few little stops. Other than that this is just an ok hike. Solitude was about right on the rating we ran into about 9 hikers on this hike. That&rsquos not too bad doing a 9.6 mile hike. All the fallen leaves from the trees made the hike a little more difficult with finding the trail at some points and all the rocks hidden under the leaves going down and uphill were tricky not to twist an ankle. Also never really found the &ldquoIn 0.4 miles from the concrete post there is a large camping area on the bank of Gap Run&rdquo Although we found two areas that could have made a great campsite we found no rock rings for fire or anything that looked like campers stayed in a long time. Also no wildlife at all on this trails just a bunch on deer on the drive down skyline. The Views were not that good was very disappointed. Also the trail looks like it has not been maintained in a few months had to climb over 20 some trees that had fallen over the trail.

By: Zach Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 3, 2011
I went on this hike today with a few friends. great hike but save alot of energy for the final leg of the hike gets a bit difficult. The view at the top was amazing definitely worth it

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 1, 2011
At the trail head the temperature was in the high 40's and windy.  It was a good temperature to do this hike. I changed from shorts to pants and added a long sleeved base layer, and my wife put on her gloves. We soon warmed up when we got into the lee of the mountain and down into the Gap Run hollow.  The trail was good though there was some windfall, which was easy to deal with. There were some interesting changes in scenery as we descended to the hollow, with lots of bear scat. We followed the blue blazes from the SNP sign posts and did fine. 
The journey uphill from Gap Run hollow was strenuous, with more changes of scenery, from stream/hollow to loose rock in the slide area to switchbacks and then ridge walking.  This hike had it all, and we were very warm when we reached the summit of Rocky Mount.  As I was hiking up I remember thinking how glad I was not be running here because of the rockiness of the trail and the climb.
It was clear, so at the top we were met with the stunning view of the valley and Massanutten, and the Alleghenies 35 miles away. We were sheltered from the wind here, and the sun was warm--a very nice place for lunch. We sat for awhile here along with two other hikers who were doing the out-and-back hike.  They were the only other people we saw.
The descent from the summit was quick, though I could see how going up this way to the summit might seem unrelenting, since the trail doesn't change much, even though the views of Two Mile Ridge are beautiful and the sun was warm, but not hot.
From the trail junction, the 2.2 mile ascent back to the overlook where we parked was challenging, though it was leavened by some gentle downhills on good trail. We totaled almost exactly 5.5 hours with frequent stops for admiring the view (resting), examining flora (resting) and lunch (resting). 

We liked the hike and will be back to do it again. I'd say this was a little less less strenuous than the White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run loop, but due to the summit more so than the Riprap/Wildcat Ridge/AT loop. 

Thanks to Hiking Upward for a great site, and the good sense to recommend going down into Gap Run first.

By: grc77 Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 15, 2011
Choosing this hike today was not a great idea. It was 60 and rainy when I started, I thought I'd be well equipped enough with a rain shell, base layer and heavy pants, but the first six miles were a steady light-rain. By the time I made it to the climb my pants and socks were soaked through, not good, but I was past the point of heading back. The climb was really great and a good challenge. A good mixture of switchbacks and climbs, and the descent was quick and easy on the knees. I wasn't hiking with a map, so I thought I was at the halfway point of the loop when I started the ascent, soaked, dropping temperature and a sunset in 2 hrs I was a little nervous. I got to the loop's entry point quickly though and knew I'd be able to get back without an issue. The hike back seemed a much steeper than it had felt heading down, but that happens a lot I guess. With about 3/4 miles left and the trail getting darked, I was startled by a noise 20 yards to my right, turned around to see a black bear turning around and hauling south. This was the closest bear encounter I've had, and it was a bit unnerving because it was getting dark and I was alone. All in all a very fun and challenging hike. Today's weather obviously put a whole different spin on the experience... ~grc

By: Ghostrider Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 29, 2010
Despite the fact that it's a glorious day (50 degrees, sunny, brisk wind), I didn't enjoy this hike very much. Maybe I'm just having a bad day, but the effort(high)-to-reward(low) ratio of this hike is unbalanced. To borrow a phrase from the great British hiker Bill Shakespeare, this hike is "much ado about nothing". If you follow the directions on this website, the uphill ascent to the summit is a relentlessly long, steep climb. And yet the view from the rocks, while okay, is not worth the effort to get there. Then, on the return to the car you get another long, steep climb. If you're looking for a fat-burning, heart-thumping workout, this hike is for you. Otherwise, there are a lot better choices if you're going to put in nine or ten miles on the trail.

By: IanMTB Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 20, 2010
Though it was challenging, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this hike. The payoff at the top was well worth it.  The rocky overlook is a great place to have lunch, relax and take in the great views.   We did not encounter a single soul on this hike other than two turkeys and three bears (one along Skyline, one at the overlook where we parked, and one on our return ascent). 

The climbs are long, steep and frequent.  We were dog tired and completely satisfied at the end - that's why we do this, right?  Eat well before the hike, bring plenty of water, and enjoy!

By: J. Davidson Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 26, 2009
A nice hike, but  I question the ratings on Difficulty and  Views.   I had hiked Buzzard Hill twice the previous week and found it to be more difficult, but it is rated lower.  One fairly nice view from near the top, but not as nice as the view from the lookout where I parked. I imagine the views are quite nice in late fall and in winter.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 31, 2009
Three weeks ago strong winds wrecked our car camping trip, depositing first our picnic canopy and then our 10X10 Kelty tent upside down into the woods behind our campsite. Wisely MRSHyker and  I bailed out w/o doing the scheduled hike but returned three weeks later for a do over. We had severe thunder storms the night before but the hike day was pretty nice although the initial high humidity made the views a bit hazy and the climbs a little harder. P-Hyker and I were on the trail before 9:00. Although the views are probably cleared in the winter, during this time of the year the Mountain Laurel is in its prime. There has to be a near perpetual tunnel of them for 1.5 out of the 2.2 mile out-and-back part of the circuit. My personal preference is to hike "up" streams whenever possible so we did the loop portion in the opposite direction as described here. Since P-Hyker (our dog) was with me we didn't climb up on the cliffs for the real spectactular views but still caught a nice panorama of the surrounding mountains and the Shenandoah valley. We caught some more views during our descent to Gap Run. I made the first crossing w/o getting my boots wet. P-Hyker didn't mind and really enjoyed laying in the cool water at every crossing. As a matter of fact She seemed to want to walk up or down the stream instead of the trail. Since I didn't bring my trekking poles I elected to just wade across the rest of the crossings for safety sake. I learned how to be happy hiking in wet boots a long time ago. Most of them were over my boot tops anyway. At one point we lost the trail at stream's edge. It was flooded by higher than usual water levels. The final climb out of the drainage was pretty steep but short. After a recovery break at the Rocky Mount Trail junction and another more gradual climb we finished the hike with a nice casual stroll back through the Mountain Laurel tunnels. The steaks and wine tasted exceptionally good that night. As of this last trip I can say that I've hiked every hike (save 2 nature hikes) in the PATC "Circuit Hikes in Shenandoah National Park" plus several of my own design. It's time to find some other unexplored hiking adventures!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 4, 2009
We left out on the trail head in the rain and fog, asking ourselves if we were foolish or brave! . All the great views were obstructed by fog,  but the red eft newts and wildflowers seemed to love the rain. I was sure glad for my frogg toggs! Gap Run was swollen, and the crossings were challenging in places, but we managed to not fall in. Our camping spot on the gap run lulled us to sleep and provided beautiful scenery for our cup of morning joe. There were some steep climbs and I am glad we decided to make it a 2 day hike. We averaged about 50 minuets a mile. Towhee popped his hiking cherry, and is looking forward to his next trip out. We had a great time walking through the clouds!

By: Mary and Mabel Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 18, 2008

This is one of the good circuit hikes in the Southern Section.  I saw a timber rattler by the creek.  Fortunately it had just eaten and was sluggish!  Two weeks ago I saw another timber rattler on Trayfoot (I don't know why this hike isn't in the list of SNP hikes) that one rattled at me.

Heard on bear but the underbrush was too thick to see.

I am glad I took plenty of water because it was a hot day, but a fun hike.

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 22, 2007

This was a fantastic hike. I didn't see a single person on the trial all day, probably because it was a weekday. I do wish that I had realized that this was going to be a considerably strenuous hike before I left, however. I completed the hike in just over 5 hours but ended up sleeping the entire next day because of it.

As far as difficulty goes, this one is probably about 20 - 30% more so than Old Rag, depending on how much time you allot yourself.

I definitely recommend camping on the little creek that runs through the far end of the circuit.

By: ironmanjt Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 21, 2007
Perfect day in the area. As far as solitude goes, we didn't see a single person on the entire hike. Considering this was the first really nice day of the spring, I think that says alot about this hike. The climb up Rocky Mount about halfway through the hike is quite difficult, gaining around 1800 feet in under two miles. I didn't think the views lived up to the '4' billing, but were close. I'm also not sure how streams got a '1' as there were several (admittedly small) streams that had to be crossed - but easy to do so on the rocks without getting wet. I'll definitely return to this one.

By: clenore Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I've done this one a couple of times now. If you want a hike with lots of variety, lots of wildlife, and no other hikers, this is a great loop. It's not really all that hard, and if you want to make it an overnight, the Gap Run campsite is nice. There's water in Gap Run even during drought, so you don't have to carry a lot of it in. The views from the white rock cliffs at the top are good, and it's a lunch spot you won't have to share with anyone--unlike Blackrock, Old Rag, and such. If you spend the night, do hang your food properly. I saw three bears the first time I hiked the loop, and you can see where they've turned up big rocks all over the place looking for grubs. I've also heard that the rangers put 'bear baits' of some sort in the area a while back to get a population count. I've heard bobcats along the Gap Run trail, too.

By: Travis Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 10, 1910
This is now one of my favorite hikes in the southern part of the park.  The ratings provided for this hike seem pretty accurate - I did the hike using the provided directions. The weather for the day was sunny and fairly calm with a slight breeze - absolutely beautiful. I departed Skyline Drive at 8:30am with the temperature at 42° and arrived back at my car at 1:30pm with the temperature at 58° per my car's thermometer.  That five hours broke down into approximately four hours of trail time with about an hour's worth of breaks.  I would definitely recommend doing this hike on a cool day if possible as the most strenuous sections are dry and some sections are fairly exposed.  If you do this hike on a warm day carry plenty of water.  I carried 90 oz which was more than enough but on a hot day would be about right.  I would also recommend doing the hike while the leaves are out of the trees as this allowed for lots of partial views along the ridge and on the ascent/descent of Rocky Mount.  I saw a total of five people on the hike with three of those being PATC members out doing some trail maintenance.  They asked if I had seen anyone else out which at that point I had not.  I asked them how many people they figured were at Old Rag - they just snickered.  One thing that did strike me was what good shape the trail was in.  Given all the snow and wind this winter there were only a few blow downs and all were easy to deal with.  All in all this is a great and challenging but manageable hike.  I wouldn't hesitate to do this hike again.

Records 1 to 47 of 47
about us | contact us | terms of use | © 2021