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Hiker Comments for the Shawl Gap Hike - 1 to 17 of 17   
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By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 9, 2019
There was a downed tree about 50 feet from the road (Rt. 613) preventing me from using the parking area, so I parked about 20 feet away from Rt. 613 in a grassy area alongside the entrance. I arrived at sunrise and hiked in the reverse direction thinking there would be more traffic later in the morning. The road portion of the hike was OK -- the road is paved now, as noted in another review. The neighbors I saw waved and seemed friendly. A couple loose dogs were more bark than bite. This is one of the nicest ridges I've hiked. I did it before on the High Peak hike, also on this website, which approaches the ridge from the other side of the mountain. In addition to the ridge the Sherman Gap trail portion was OK. I did not care for the Shawl Gap trail. Too much vegetation overgrowth and erosion. Some grass stands were over my head -- I was glad to have my GPS as a check of my path, but there were usually tall trees alongside the wide trail to help guide me. The worst part of this growth was difficulty in seeing where I was placing my feet, putting them at an odd angle and slipping off a rock sometimes. It wasn't terrible, but I probably won't take the Shawl Gap trail again unless it gets significant maintenance.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Had a great time hiking this trail with my dog. We had the trail to ourselves other than the herd of deer we ran into headed back down from the ridge on the Shawl Gap trail (pink blazed) and the pair of large black rat snakes that were sunning themselves on the same section of trail. There are some blow-downs on the Shawl Gap trail mostly in the first 1/2 mile headed down from the ridge but easily bypassed (walked thru, not around.) Views from the top were nice East and West. Definitely can see the views are diminishing with foliage returning. Will definitely do again, most likely in reverse direction next time. Honestly I walked past the parking area and had to backtrack on the road ha! It was a beautiful evening and I got distracted enjoying the walk. Total hike time was 4 hours with backtracking.

By: Bobby Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 27, 2017
Great day to be hiking in the woods and there were no other cars in the parking area. GPS only had 8.2 miles and 1750 feet. The return road is  no longer a dirt road and, oh yeah, there are hills on it. Need to come back when the leaves are off the trees.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 18, 2017
I did this hike a few days ago with a group from Central Virginia Trailblazers (  As recommended in the reviews, we hiked this in reverse direction.  This turned out to be a good decision, as there were patches of slick, wet snow on the ground on the uphill portion.  There are some nice views and a great campsite on the ridge trail.  We didn't see a soul on the entire hike, so this is a good one if you're looking for solitude.  And yes, the ticks are out already!

By: Suzy & Tom Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 17, 2016
Would give the hike 4 stars if it weren't for the 1.2 miles of road walking (all uphill) if you do the hike as described above.  Next time would reverse the direction and get the road part over with first.  The parking area was hard to find -it is on the right just before T-bird Drive which comes in from the left.The pink-blazed Sherman Gap trail was well maintained and blazed.  Blow downs have been cleared.  The walk along the Tuscarora/Massanutten Trail was very pretty especially with the light snow that was falling.  Our GPS programs measured the loop as 8.3 miles and our total moving time was 3 hrs 40 minutes.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 23, 2014
This was overall a nice hike, but would definitely not be a great one in the summertime. The first part of the hike is covered in very tall grass (some parts over 5ft.) and I could imagine this would be filled with ticks. Also, the views would be very limited. However, this time of year it was pretty and I only ran into two other hikers. A few things. 1) The parking area turn off is on the right before T-Bird Drive - if you get to T-Bird Drive, you've gone too far. 2) While I don't mind some road walking, this a long portion at the end - be careful, as several cars were speeding 3) I kept thinking that I had passed the Sherman Gap / pink blazed trail as it seems like I was on the ridge longer than 1.9 miles, but the first intersection will be just past a nice fire pit / campground (which will be on your left) - the second intersection felt a little closer than 0.4 miles from the first. Lastly, if you're out hiking this time of year during hunting season, please remember to wear orange, even on Sundays.

By: Walter Edwards Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 9, 2014
As stated, the first couple of miles are overgrown - is you go, wear pants - my son and I both ended up with our legs covered in bites. The views were subpar. I woudn't waste my time on this hike, at least in the summer.

By: The Rileys Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 16, 2012
First and most important is that mapquest tells you the trail/parking is on the left-wrong! Keep eyes open for car path and gate. Sherman Gap portion of trail is currently closed due to wildfire hazard so we continued on toward Buzzard Rock and saw beautifil vista w/a great stone bench someone had made around a firepit. First part of hike had some high weeds but it's not the AT. Overall a good hike for a pleasant Sunday.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Great hike for a chilly December day. Started before 11am. Hike up was nice as you ascend up, not steep.  Ran into some hunters, talked with them for alittle bit, some good tips, especially for wearing orange during deer season and keep an eye out for black bears. Made it to the top, from there you can hike to buzzard rock or a few other local trails.  Walked along the ridge, some good rocks jetting out for lunch.  On the way back you reach another intersection and descend back down.  Great view  (no leaves on the trees) you can see the ridge lines and how far you've traveled (you can see the river and airport on some parts).  Not too many critters, did have a encounter with a ticked off buzzard.  By the time you get to the bottom you are tired.  You do have to walk on the road about a mile and a half back to the parking area.  Alot of no trespassing/private property signs.  Passing by the little ranch with Australian shepherd pups and adults was nice. Finished up after 4 pm.   Going up has unique look that differs from going down.  There is a short part that you need to be mindful as there is a drop on the side and alittle narrow, but not too bad.    Overall, a nice trip.  Make sure to wear good supportive hiking boots and watch your step.  Definitely coming up here again sometime. 

By: wv hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 4, 2011
The fist part of the forest road is a little overgrown but once it enters the woods the brush dies down, the rest the trail has seen some wear from hikers this year. Not alot of views in the summer but would have some nice views once the leaves are gone.

By: Andrew H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 4, 2010
At least half the hike was an abandoned fire road with chest high brush - ruining any views on the hike up. The last bit along the ridgeline had subpar views as well. The most fantastic part of the hike was the millions of seed ticks that my friends and I got that gave us an awesome momento of the hike for almost three weeks afterward. At least the last mile walk along the paved country road allowed us time to pick some of the ticks off. This hike is really not worth your time. It is the worst hike I've done in the 15+ years I've been hiking the area.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 6, 2009
I had a hard time finding the parking lot off of VA613. Be careful, as there is no sign, just a dirt road that leads up to the lot. I was scared I was driving on private property until I saw another car and the parking lot gate. The lot needs to be paved or covered in gravel because it was overgrown with high grass. This was a foreshadowing of the hike to come...

The hike up the Shawl Gap trail was fairly monotonous, since most of it was a fire road, which petered off to a trail. It looks like it was hardly traveled by foot and less by jeep. The grass was about a foot high outside of the wheel wells. If you're hiking in the summer, slather on the deet and do not wear shorts. It's a tick paradise.

The Tuscarora/Massanutten trail which follows the ridge was much more enjoyable, although still overgrown. Not unlike other GWNF hikes in the area, I've been finding that the trails need a bunch of maintenance and/or a couple hundred boots to stomp through the vegetation. The upper part of the ridge had a bunch of stone stairways and large boulders, which were fun to hike. The dense vegetation was slowly displaced by low scrub brush and conifers, which was much welcomed. It would be nice if the park rangers made a clearing to overlook the valley/VA613 below somewhere along the boulder strewn ridge. One would probably be able to see Skyline drive as well.

The Sherman Gap trail was equally as boring and overgrown as the Shawl Gap trail. Spider webs were also a nuisance. I must have walked face first into about 10 spider webs before I had enough. I hiked more slowly and whacked the webs down with my hiking poles. It was relieved once I finally reached the VA613 leg of the hike.

I might try this hike again in the Fall or Winter. There vegetation was out of control in the summer and didn't make for an enjoyable experience.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 23, 2008
Lucked out and got a dry, sunny day right before Thanksgiving.  This is a great workout - Monday, for the first time in a long time, I really felt it in my legs.  Nice, challenging ascent to a great walk along the ridge line with great vistas, lots of rocks.  Descent is a challenge on the knees, but worth the effort.  You get to meet all the neighborhood dogs on the final leg back to the trail head along the public road.  Trail is well marked and easy to follow throughout.  Only issue was what I guessed to be the "Speed Racer Hiking Club" had an outing on the Veach Gap portion of this trail -- I felt like I was in the left lane of Intersate 70, with eager, grimly determined speed walkers passing me on the right.  And for some reason, they felt the need to leave orange, rubber arrows at any and all turns in the trail.  Not really needed, given the clear blazes and markings.  The ascent and descent were nice and quiet, however.  Would recommend this trail to anyone. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It was a 60 degree day in mid-December when two friends and I did this hike – great day for a hike.  The trails were in great shape.  All the leaves had fallen, so the views along the Tuscarora/Massanutten ridge trail were at their best.  The leaf fall was deep and contrasted nicely with the heavily lichened rocks and deadwood.  I would rate this hike about 3.5 in terms of difficulty.  The ridge trail is very rocky and good boots and poles are recommended – especially with wet leaves.  There were ¼ to ½ mile stretches of 15% grades going up and coming down from the ridge trail.  My edited GPS track log found the hike to be 8.2 miles with a total ascent of about 1900 feet.  Photos and elevation profile at:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 22, 2007
A beautiful day allowed us to hike this trail in comfort with a mids 80's temp, and low humidity.  I didn't like the first mile of the trail, becaues it was mostly the fire road portion up to the meadow.  The meadow offered limited views of the valley, because of the foliage.  However, the difficulty of the hike increased greatly as we worked our way up the ridge line.  Just after the intersection of Shawl Gap Trail and the trail straight down to SR 613,  There was a shallow pool containing some frogs, and a sluggish box turtle.  From that point on, it was a direct shot up the ridge to the intersection of Shawl Gap Trail, Buzzard Rocks Trail, and The Tuscarora Trail.  That part of the hike was the most difficult.  It was very rocky and uphill.  We continued on the Tuscarora Trail South along the ridgeline hoping to get to High Peak.  We then realized this part of the trail just skirts beneath High Peak, and then continues further south.  After about a half mile, we turned around to start heading back to the car.  Of course, with any trip up a mountain, the return trip always seems to be a breeze.  This allows for more time to check the scenery out.  Unfortunately, there was not alot to check out; however, we did find a dense patch of blackberry bushes which had not been stripped by the wildlife.  After enjoying a few hand picked berries, we completed our journey to the car.  The parking lot could use some grooming, as it was difficult to maneuver when other vehicles are present. Ultimately, we would like to complete the circuit of combining Shawl Gap Trail, and Buzzard Rocks Trail. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 24, 2007

Enjoyed this hike. Snow covered most of the trail which added to the beauty.    It was challenging in several areas due to the ice covered trails. The Sherman Gap section was slick due to the ice. The views along the ridgeline were beautiful.   If you are looking for solititude this trail would be perfect.  The walk along US613 was a view into country life.

By: DDR Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 27, 2005
Started out as a crisp morning and as I climbed to High Peak the sun was out for a bit and the views from the summit(s) were gorgeous. With the leaves down, the view of the Shenandoah River in the distance was especially nice. I downloaded the gdb file and used it with my new GPS. Very handy, although this trail is very easy to follow. The major downside to the circuit is the walk along 613 at the end (I recommend reversing the route and getting the nasty road section over first). I didn't do that and there were a number of cars flying down this road. It is now largely paved and there are many new homes along the road (a testament to the views and urban crawl). I can't wait to come back in the Spring (with less leaves on the trail). I recommend hiking boots with ankle support!

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