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Hiker Comments for the Shenandoah Mountain Hike - 1 to 27 of 27   
Average Rating:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 30, 2018
Arrived at the trailhead approximately at 10:30 on a Friday with only one other car there. After signing the register with Pennzoil, we promptly started and soon found ourselves at the first creek crossing. Water depth was normally at mid calf with occasionally up to our knees... there were no places to hop from rock to rock with that water flow... and we must have crossed the creek no less than 8 times. Quite the adventure. Shoes stayed on and only after getting into the sleeping bag that night did they warm up. Before beginning more of the uphill route, we elected to camp on the left side of the creek (look down to the right for a fire ring and level area). Note: there are few places to camp along the creek, so if daylight is waining... choose a spot when you can. The largest place to camp was at the top (after the Jerry's Run intersection where there is certainly a good amount of water and tent space -- with lots of widow makers too), yet I recommend you not attempt to get to the top in the dark as the trail is difficult to follow in daylight as you get close to the top. The Spring at the very top was running, although only slightly even though we were within cloud cover most of our backpacking trip with occasional heavier rain.

We continued along the ridge line the next day until the intersection of Jerry's Run where there are several campsites, yet no water source. There is a large hemlock to your left with a fire ring and a good amount of space for several tents / hammocks. The next morning found a stream not more than 1/2 mile further down the trail coming down through the rocks from above and to the left. There are no camping spots for the remaining portion of this hike as the trail hugs the side of the mountain constantly until it finally winds itself down close to the parking lot. Thank you to the trail crews working on cleaning some deadfall off the trail. Their work was impressively done.

One of my favorite hikes due to all the hemlocks and the multiple steam crossings. Not too far at all from the Staunton area / 81 & 64 interstates making this a great opportunity to get away and not have to spend considerable time traveling.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 9, 2018
I have done this loop in the past, in winter, and let me say that it is completely different in mid-June. In summer, Ramsey's Draft trail is 5 miles of shoulder-high stinging nettles mixed with poison ivy and thorns. I have never seen such a prolific expanse of nettles pressing in on both sides of the trail. You want to wear pants and gaiters and think about long sleeves. It should go without saying that you treat all clothes will permethrin and cover all skin with deet because you will be in constant contact with the plants and their critter inhabitants looking to hitch a ride. You will be tempted to wear sandals or water shoes for the ~20 water crossings, but consider this carefully because we saw a timber rattlesnake on the trail, coiled up in the nettles. So who knows how many we didn't see since there is such limited visibility. As mentioned already there are many blowdowns to navigate. On the plus side we had a really nice night camping at Hiner Spring, the spring was going strong and was a good water source. The Shenandoah Mtn Trail was in great condition and the mountain laurel were in full bloom so that half of the hike was great. Overall I gave this 3 stars because in the winter it is nice, 5 stars but summer conditions I can't imagine a sketchier trail, I would not do the Ramsey's Draft trail in summer again. Did I mention there are no blazes so you basically just follow the nettles to keep your bearings. Wish I could post my picture of these nettles because I don't think my description does them justice. Good luck!

By: scudder Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2018
I went up Ramsay's Draft and down on the Shenandoah Mt trail for an overnighter. Dropped down Jerry's Run to return instead of Road Hollow. Water level was on the low side. As the temps were warm, I just walked thru it. There's a bit of blow down especially the area from Jerry's Run up to Hiner Spring.The springs at Hiner and Shenandoah Mt/Ramsay's Draft intersection were running.Wildflowers are late, but I did see bloodroot, hepatica, and yellow violets. I also had some extended facetime with a young deer. Ticks are active-don't ask me how i know this. Excellent views as the leaves have not yet obscured them. Be prepared for some climbing over /thru to make your way.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2018
Did this as a day hike, did it clockwise, modified it slightly by adding Ramsey's Draft Loop to it, and cutting out the river (Draft) in the middle. I Thoroughly Enjoyed this hike! I'm guessing it was scudder I ran into on trail toward the back of the loop, as he was enjoying some awesome face time with a deer in these beautiful woods, when I came walking up. Always an awesome experience, as the look of peace and happiness on his face told. If it was you scudder, Thank You for telling me about the unmarked (un-signed?) trail intersection of Shenandoah Mountain Trail & Ramsey's Draft Trail. Thank you, Thank you Thank you. I would've walked right on past it had you not told me about the piece of metal in the tree. I did go up Hardscrabble Knob, there's weren't any super amazing views to speak of, but it's cool up there (old shack, fire ring, fallen over metal tower, rock ridge), then headed down into Hiner Sping camp area, where I stopped, ate/drank, and relaxed for a bit. Still great flow from the spring! Then turned left on Hiner Spring Trail and finished out my hike with that portion of Ramsey's Draft Loop hike. I did the Ramsey's Draft Loop hike the weekend prior, which is also a great hike. Between Shenandoah Mountain loop hike and Ramsey's Draft loop hike, Ramsey's Draft loop has the better views and is maybe just a bit better marked. The Draft (river) that the two hikes share is, in my opinion, the best part of either of the loops. It is really quite beautiful down there.. Due to scant trail markings, unmarked trail intersections, and disappearing/invisible trail(s) at times, I don't know that I'd recommend this hike for a lone beginner - that's just my own opinion though - That said, I found the above mentioned things to add to, or enhance, the hike personally.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 24, 2017
Great Hike. We hiked in reverse and camped at Old Sexton Cabin site for the first night. Great open sites for multiple tents. Being Thanksgiving weekend, met hunters using the site as a base camp. The next day proceeded clockwise to the first campsite mentioned and easily found The Spring which was producing water albeit slowly. NOTE: There are no trail markings or signs and the TRAIL JUNCTION is AT THE CAMPSITE being unaware of this, we continued on the obvious trail (which continues straight) which turned out to be Tearjacket Trail and unwittingly added a 4-mile excursion.

The distance between the Tearjacket Trail / Ramsey's Draft Trail campsite and the Hiner Spring campsites is barely over a mile, in the case you need go fetch water at the abundantly producing Hiner Spring.

Fortunately, the water was low at this time of year as we crossed Ramsey' Draft at least 14 times as well as many dry beds. Will come back and do the loop counter-clockwise next time so as to be climbing the 3 to 4 miles of elevation.

Fellow hikers, please leave no trace!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 10, 2017
Because it was so cold this weekend, we actually hiked Shenandoah Mountain, camped at Hiner Spring, and took Bald Ridge to Road Hollow back to the car, skipping Ramsey's altogether. However, wanted to leave this here (and also at the Ramsey's Draft page) as a warning given the leaf cover on the trail.

Overall, fantastic route, and quiet and great views from the Bald Ridge trail. However, there was on tricky spot to look out for. On the USFS topo map there's a hairpin turn about 1/3 the way between The Pinnace and The Peak. We lost the trail in a sloping hardwood forest where the trees were too wide apart to make the trail, and had to backtrack, then bushwhack down to the approximate location of the trail after that turn. Not the worst bushwhack in the world, but save yourself some time if you're going with all the leaves down and just plan on the short bushwhack.

Total for this ridge-based loop was 21.5 miles over two days.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
First, thank you to the Trail Crews. The large blow-downs were significant but nearly all are cleared! Second, sorry to the Trail Crews from all of us that PI/PO about whoever camped just down from Hiner Spring. There was trash at/in the fire pit, an abandoned fuel canister and worse, toilet paper with a used tampon cartridge just yards up and on the trail. Nice. I took some of the trash that I could fit with my space budget but couldn't bring myself to take the hazmat. For my part I could do more and will in the future by bringing a slightly larger trash bag in future. Always learning. On from that though, I enjoyed the challenge of this trail. I agree with the input from the good folks who post and I always take it into account when I'm planning a trip. I have a couple things to add that i haven't seen mentioned. 1. I'm not speedy by any means and actually stop quite often to just sit and look around. This hike, I filled my water bottles while eating lunch at Hiner Spring as well. Even with these stops I made it up to Tearjacket/Ramsey's Draft Trail intersection at 1400. That's just too long(about 6 hours) for me to wait prior to sunset. Winter or with a group would have been different since I could have setup and gathered wood/socialized in a relaxed manner before twilight. 2. This is a bigger deal I think. Fill up on water from the original author's mentioned spring at the 9.5 mile site. There is no apparent spring to pull from until you get all the way back to Ramsey's Draft. I walked on to the campsite to the left just past Jerry's Run intersection and was tarped and settled before the storms set in at 1730. I had a great time on this hike and would do it again in winter to catch the views that are just now there in summer.

By: Robert Cain Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 29, 2017
Hiked this trail with 3 other hikers on what was a fairly rainy day. Ramseys Draft Trail is fairly overgrown with stinging nettles and poison ivy, and had it not been so bad, I probably would have rated this hike 5 stars. As others had noted, you do need to pay attention to the trail since it is not marked on Ramseys Draft Trail. It doesn't appear this trail gets much use, which is good and bad. Stream crossings were not difficult, but were plentiful. The stretch of trail from left prong to Hiner Spring gains significant elevation you'll know when you get to that section of the trail. As other reviewers had noted, there are significant blow-downs, but it appeared as though trail maintenance had been performed on many of these, making it easy to pass through. Hiner spring is a good place to refill water bottles before pressing on to the campsite where Tearjacket and Ramseys Trail converge. There is zero visibility of anything from hardscrabble knob, but still worth the hike. The campsite is nice, and provides plenty of space to spread out, as another hiker had noted. You do want to pay attention to overhead branches as these are old growth trees with lots of dead limbs, and you don't want to setup tent under any dead branches. The hike down on Shenandoah Mountain trail has very little to complain about, especially little to no stinging nettles and poison ivy. It is also very clearly marked, which would have been nice on Ramseys Draft Trail. Overall a very nice loop for a weekend backpacking trip.

By: Caroline Steinberg Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 9, 2017
Sounds like this mountain and its old growth forest are sadly in the path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline!

By: Chris N Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 28, 2017
We hiked up the Shenandoah Mountain trail and down the Ramsey's Draft trail.  The Road Hollow Trail and Shenandoah Trail were real nice and well maintained except for a few missing signs.  We only saw a couple of other people.  Due to the missing signs, bring a good map or a GPS.  We camped at Hiner Springs.  On the second morning we took the wrong trail and I think we were on the Bald Ridge Trail.  I had done this hike 10 years earlier and had an idea where the trail was but didn't see much that looked like a trail.  Fortunately about a 1/2 mile down Bald Ridge we ran into a hiker going the other way who set us straight.  To find the trail you need to follow the draft down about 100-200 yards from Hiner springs where it will become apparent.  After that we could find the trail, but there were lots of downed trees. This would have been a real sufferfest, had we done the loop going up the draft and down the Shenandoah Trail.  The other  lesson learned was that over the last three miles there was lots of poison ivy.  Since the water was up, I wore shorts for walking across the many crossings.  I'm hoping the water washed off the PI.  I guess I'll know in a few days.  Overall it was a great hike for solitude and beautiful scenery.

By: hikingmaster Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Overall Great hike, but the description is in need of some tune-up. Many of the signs that they mentioned are no longer in existence. Mainly, when you arrive at the section after Hiner Springs, and there is the bridge-hallow trail to the right, we could not find any sign. The trail vanishes at you walk through the numerous campsites, but luckily we had a solid map. Ton's of blow-downs, to the point that it wasn't hiking, but scrambling. As for the camp site, it's an ok site, nothing great. I understand the need for a water source, but I'd suggest Jerrys run. Phenomenal site next to a running creek. Open area with fire pits. My suggestion is to hike to the spot at jerrys, set up camp, than run up to the knob for the view, and return to the camp to relax.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 25, 2016
Just wanted to give a heads up, prior to the intersection at Hiner Spring there are a lot of down trees stretching back about a mile or so pretty tough through there. might want to add a little time through there. Pretty good hike for the most part. The creek it pretty low but a good source of water for the first half of the hike. After the spring at mile 9.5 there isn't another water source that I saw.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 19, 2016
Hiked Shenandoah Mountain with a group of friends this previous weekend, overall I enjoyed it and it was a great experience. I have hiked this previously twice and try to return every couple years. On Friday we camped out at the second campsite down Ramsey's Draft, the temp was somewhat low & paired with the moisture in the air made Saturday morning rough. We found that the water was low in most spots which made hiking through Ramsey's Draft relatively easily since it is mostly flat. I would like to note that there several large downed trees through out this portion of the trail which slowed the pace of the hike substantially. The last mile of the hike up the draft is nearly all uphill and this is where a majority of the downed trees were found, so if you are bringing your canine companion with you be ready to lift them over trees portions of this hike. We reached Hiner Springs early and decided to hike to the next spring, past Hardscrabble Knob, at the end of Ramsey's Draft Trail(Where Tearjacket Trail links up). This is also your last opportunity to refill your water from a spring(still treat or filter it, don't take a chance). This was a great decision considering the fog bank that rolled in over night/morning. I set my tent amongst some evergreens and this blocked a majority of the moisture and wind. After we made camp I backtracked to Hardscrabble Knob, the view isn't as good as it was a few years ago. Most of the trees are getting a little high for a clear view of the surrounding area. But it is still cool nonetheless, especially the downed fire tower. The final morning of our hike was cool, due to the fog bank, and made the last half of the hike easy for the most part. It is mostly flat, but there are portions of uphill, and down hill. The last leg of Road Hollow Trail will bring the highway and eventually the parking lot in view, resist the urge to go off trail. I love this hike, I will still come back to this hike every couple years. I just hope to see some of the trees taken care of the next time I return.

By: Pohick Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 5, 2015
I took this as a reunion hike with four scouts from our Philmont trip last summer. We had a good time. We went the opposite way described here, going north on Shenandoah Mountain trail, and south down Ramsey's draft. Only saw a few people, even on Labor day weekend, though a number of people were camping at Hiner Spring. The trail was a little overgrown in parts, and I recommend long pants, especially on the lower half of Ramsey's Draft trail. There were a number of blow downs to scramble over. Hiner Spring was basically dry, but you can get water from the head of the draft, just below where the Hiner trail branches off. There are nice campsites at the spring, but a better one (where we camped) just a couple of hundred yards west of there along the trail. The real disappointment on this trip was the view from Hardscrabble Knob, which was mostly obscured. There are cool remains of a cabin and fire tower (and a nice, waterless campsite) there, though. The draft itself was low, which made the multiple crossings no problem.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 22, 2015
Ramseys Draft Wilderness has been one of my favorite backpacking areas since I discovered the area in 2004. We get back to the area about every year or so. Sadly, given the current state of the area, it is no longer my favorite place. We were planning to head up to the Shenandoah Mtn Trail the first day and then come down the draft the second day, which we have done before and prefer. However, when we discovered a dry streambed near the parking area, we didn't want to take the chance of hiking to Hiner Spring only to find it dry and have to come back down the draft to find water. We opted to hike up the draft as far as we felt comfortable and set up camp. We of course missed the first turn and ended up walking back down the streambed (because it was so dry) to the first stream crossing. We fixed the rock cairn for the next folks who walk through that area. The Ramseys Draft Trail is very overgrown with massive blowdowns that require climbing or straddling to get over. Lots of overgrown blackberry bushes, briery bushes, and other nasties. We ended up camping at a nice site about half mile north of the intersection of Ramseys Draft and Jerrys Run trails. Day two, we opted to hike up Jerry's Run to the ridge and then come back around to make a nice ~10 mile circuit for the weekend. Jerry's Run is so overgrown and contains such massive blowdowns that is took us 2 hours just to get to the old shelter site. It looked like someone had hiked through the area sometime in the last few weeks as there were remnants of bent plants to provide some sign of where the trail was. Had we not had trekking poles and a hack saw to slash away at everything, it would have been impassable. Once we got to the Shenandoan Mtn Trail, it was easy going and a nice hike. The return to the car via Road Hallow was moderate, with about 3-4 good size blowdowns one must weave their way through. With so much overgrowth and downed trees, the water drainage in this wilderness is all messed up- at times you couldn't tell where the streambed was. It's only going to get worse as you can see the huge dead hemlocks throughout the area that have yet to fall. This area is very much wilderness and I would not recommend someone attempt this route without a GPS or being new to the area. I worry that without some trail maintenance work being done that the area will continue to see even less usage and become impassable. We only saw one person the whole weekend and he had turned back less than a mile from the cars because he had dogs and was unable to deal with the blowdowns. Sadly, I don't know when we will return. For a less than 9.5 mile hike for the weekend, we felt like we had hiked 20 miles, are sore from head to toe with muscle aches, and are covered in scratches. We would probably have gotten poison ivy had we not packed long pants!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
We hiked this in two days with our two dachshunds. Day one we did the Ramsey's draft side of the loop and day two we did the Shenandoah Mountain side.

Day one was a bit difficult as the water was pretty high so we had to carry the dogs over most of the river crossings. There were also multiple large trees down across the trail so we had to help them climb other those. As others have said, the first river crossing is VERY easy to miss. We ended up hiking about 1 mile down the wrong trail before we realized we missed the first crossing. There's a stack of stones marking the crossing, however, the stack is no more than a foot high and also very easy to miss. Because of the detour, we ended up hiking a total of 9 miles on day one. We camped around mile 7, just before the large campsite near the intersection with Hardscrabble Knob trail. We wish we would have continued past the large campsite and onto the Shenandoah Mt. trail and there was a very nice campsite there.

Day two was much easier than day one. We crossed through beautiful forests, had great views the entire way, and were able to knock out the remaining 11 miles with ease.

I would recommend bringing some type of water shoe for day one as there are about 20 river crossings. Day two is better suited for hiking boots as there is quite a bit of rocky terrain to navigate. Overall the loop was very enjoyable! We can't wait to go back.

By: rob perrett Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2015
waited a whole year to do this one again. it was worth the wait! 

i chose to do this as a day hike this time - hiking time 7 hrs plus and hour or so of exploring.  the crossings were fun - i just waded through.  there was no use in rock hopping as the draft was as high as i've seen it.  there was even more blow down this year, but that made it kind of fun.  Hiner spring was flowing nicely.  the water was perfect for drinking.

no fauna to speak of although there were plenty signs of recent bear activity.  this is my favorite Virgina hike. happy trails!

By: alert67 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 27, 2014
This is a great hike backpack hike for groups of different sizes and experience levels.  Fifteen Boy Scouts and five leaders took an overnight backpacking trip on various loops this trail provides.  Nine of the older, and more experienced, Scouts with three leaders did the full loop up to Hiner Spring then back in via the Shenandoah.  The younger six Scouts and two leaders looped from Ramseys to Shenandoah via Jerrys Run.  Great learning time for all with a great wilderness feel.  There were many places to set camp and fire rings for toasty evening banter.  The draft was almost bone dry and the Jerrys Run group needed to bring up all the water for their overnight.  The Hiner Spring group slowly got all their water from the spring.  This was the only source of water near the campsite.  There were a few places, when fording Ramseys Draft, that had pooled water to pump from if needed.  The flowing, fast draft described in other reviews was missing from this trip so Be Prepared with a water strategy.

The hardwoods and wooded trails are pretty and some old growth, huge oaks are on the Shenandoah with the best trail views on that leg too.  The highlight is Hard Scrabble Knob.  Start out early from the parking lot and you will be able to set camp at Hiner Spring, take a nap, then boot up to the knob for some great color in the early fall.  It is a pleasing reward for the effort getting to the top.

Godspeed and Be Prepared.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 20, 2014
We did this as an overnight on a beautiful weekend. It had not rained much at all in the previous weeks, so the draft was bone dry and we didn't collect the water as it was stagnant. Other than low water, this hike was really pretty. The trees as described were huge and many were fallen over the trail. I actually think that the dry conditions helped us keep the trail in several spots, but the trail was easy to see even under the brush. It was unfortunate we weren't able to see the draft flowing, though.

We camped at the top of Hardscrabble Knob, which was nice, but not really any views. If you climb to the top of the rocks you can see a some views, but it's probably a lot better when the leaves are gone. There's a Geological Survey marker from the 1950s on one of the rocks, which was pretty cool to see. The campsite we used was right next to the abandoned shack, but the underwear, TP, and other trash around the site was disappointing. If you go to the left on a trail after the shack, you'll come to another site that is much better with a huge fire pit.

Along the trail up to Hiner Springs, we came across several campers and day hikers, but no one at the top Hardscrabble Knob. The hike up to Hiner Springs was strenuous, but not crazy steep. Hiner Springs is very pretty and I can see why people choose to camp here. Plenty of places to set up. The second day of hiking was beautiful, too, walking along the side of the mountain. Some of the leaves were already changing color. Would love to return when there's a little more water and cooler weather.

By: Kiehl Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 18, 2014
Great hike and great route. Not too many problems crossing the draft this weekend, but the path was quite overgrown with many down trees. Spotted a large timber rattlesnake on the way up.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 31, 2014
I chose Shenandoah Mountain Trail based solely on information from hikingupward. Thanks!! It was amazing. I entered the park on a Saturday at 0730, setup camp at Hiner Spring by noon, and began hiking the remainder at 0600 on Sunday – beautiful morning up there! The map and summary on this site worked well for me - no issues. (although I was charged by a male grouse - expecting a bear so it's all good)

This was my first overnight hike. I couldn't have made a better choice. Thanks and Happy Trails beautiful people!!

Rob - avid day hiker / newbie backpacker.

By: Mr. Dislexyc Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 17, 2014
Me and two buddies were planning on doing the Ramsey's Draft loop, but when we showed up late Friday, the first crossing was flowing way too high and fast so we did this hike in reverse instead. We didn't research this hike and had only talked with a few guys about what to expect and where we could camp. We ended up taking a wrong turn at the first junction because it said Jerry's run. Long story short we hiked an extra hour out of the way and had to come back, until we set up camp at Jerry's run trail junction.

The next day we hiked to Hiner Spring and got there in 2 hours, we kept a pretty steady pace. We also ran into an issue here because the Ramsey's draft trail was unmarked and non-existent due to the heavy rain we got 2 days before, so the trail was now a stream. There are a ton of places to camp there, however a lot of them were soaked from the rain. We ate lunch at Hiner Spring and then hiked the draft for around 2 hours. After about 5-8 crossings, we found a camping spot. Sunday morning we left camp around 8:30 and were back at the parking lot by 10:00

This was our first time there and we will definitely be coming back often. There were a TON of downed trees on the trail that were massive, it's a shame a lot of the trees are dying off. As far as the draft crossings go, I wore a pair of FiveFingers and wool toe socks and I had no issues, my friends wore either chacos or shoes with and without wool socks. It was actually very refreshing even though it was a little chilly outside. The deepest the water was for us was knee deep, we passed some guys that crossed it Friday and they said it was past their waist.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 16, 2014
Did this hike on a 1 1/2 day overnight excursion - hiked it in reverse, which I wholeheartedly recommend doing! The uphill ascent via the Road Hollow and Shenandoah Mountain Trails is gentle and easy (unlike the brutal uphill you get on Ramsey's Draft), and it warms you up for the rockier, more difficult trail on the second day. Water levels were high everywhere due to the recent heavy rains, which meant that I had no fewer than 19 significant water crossings on Day 2, 16 of which were legitimate river fords across the fast-flowing Ramsey's Draft, often knee-deep. Be sure to take 2 good poles/sticks with you for safer river crossings. The forest through here is absolutely magical and beautiful - there really is a difference in these old-growth virgin woods. There are numerous great campsites all over the place: just watch out for deer flies and gnats. Lots of birds (scarlet tanager, thrush, pewee, veery), chipmunks, and deer.

I give this loop 5 stars for its beauty and remoteness, but do be warned that much of the Ramsey's Draft Trail portion of the loop (for me, the second day) is NOT well maintained - there are downed trees everywhere (some of them enormous), lots of weedy undergrowth and branch debris, and at times (as others have said) the trail nearly vanishes - even more so when significant portions are underwater. That being said, if you're looking for a true (short) rugged wilderness experience in the Virginia woods, this should suit the bill!

By: Karl Mueller Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Nice mid-spring hike, leaves haven't come out on the trees yet. The Draft is definitely a fun series of fords and rock-hopping--only dunked a boot once. Watch the draft trail though, since it's not blazed you might be side-tracked onto a deer trail (I did a couple of times).

The camp sites at the spring near the top of Hardscrabble seemed really popular.. If you're doing this for solitude, you might want to pick an off-day or camp further down-river.

On my way out, I met a couple of the volunteer trail maintainers. They really do an excellent job keeping everything clear. Hats off to these hard-working folks!

By: SwagTeamExtremeHeem Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 14, 2013
We did this hike during the government shutdown and had the whole forest to ourselves. There are many campsites during the first few miles up the mountain. Budget extra time for the multiple river crossings- the rocks were treacherous. The campsites near the summit are at the mercy of the clouds, and we struggled to start a fire as we were in the middle of one. View from the top (next to the fire tower) would have been baller if not for the cloud coverage.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 18, 2013
I tackled this hike as an out and back, starting up the draft then cutting over across Jerry's Run to the Shenandoah Mountain trail North. The West side of the draft is much different than the five ascents that await those who start up the ridge to the East of Ramsey's Draft and much less rocky, with gentle grading for most of the time heading upward. Cloudy skies but only a light mist made for comfortable hiking and some quality alone time. I ran into a few campers close to Hardscrabble Knob (thanks for the chat, guys!) and checked out the cluster of rocks over a quick snack and an ill fated attempt to make use of the fire pit. I headed back down the Shenandoah Mountain Trail south and instead of a left at Jerry's Run, I continued to the Road Hollow Trail, winding my way back to the Mountain House parking lot. As is the case with all hikes around Ramsey's Draft, if you like several hours to yourself, this will do the trick.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 27, 2012
This is going back a little bit, but Ashley and I did this backpacking trip the weekend that Hurricane Sandy arrived. We calculated that we could get it in and get home before things got crazy. Our calculations were on point, as drove through a blizzard on our way out on Sunday afternoon/evening. So, while everyone else was hunkering down, we had the entire 6000 plus acres of Ramsey's Draft Wilderness to ourselves. We drove up after work Friday, camped at the trailhead, and hiked up the draft on Saturday. The draft was low, so we didn't have any trouble with the 15 or so crossings. We weren't very far into the hike when we began to realize the magnitude of the destruction of the giant hemlocks. Wow! Sad, humbled, and appreciative don't begin to describe the emotions we felt as we navigated over and around these felled giants. We camped and enjoyed a fire in a dense fog at Hiner's Spring. In the morning we set out, hiked the spur trail to Hardscrabble Knob and then embarked on the highlight of the trip. The Shenandoah Trail is absolutely beautiful, perfectly maintained, and a joy to hike. It's hard to describe, but this trail is memorable even in the absence of spectacular vistas, definable ascends or descends, and streams, drafts, or runs with eye catching waterworks. Really, you just have to hike it to understand. At the end of the day this hike has it all, a beautiful draft, challenging elevation gains and losses, great campsites, and a respectable distance. Highly recommended!

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