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Hiker Comments for the Torry Ridge/White Rock Falls Hike - 1 to 19 of 19   
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 24, 2019
Take Note: The White Rock Gap trail is no longer Orange blazed, it is Yellow can see where the Orange was painted over on some of the blazes.

My hiking bud and I got to the White Rock Gap parking area around 7:00AM. No other cars were there and it was an unusually cool 56 degrees for an August morning. There was a misting rain that pretty quickly diminished into a mostly overcast day. If you go by the printed route, the 1st 3-miles on the White Rock Falls Trail are challenging but the rest of the hike, except for the steep decline to the lower lake, is pretty easy...there are even mountain bikers on Slacks and White Rock Gap trails, which is a little disconcerting as there are areas where it would be difficult to get out of their way. There are some great vistas on the White Rock Falls Trail, more than just 2. The directions given after you get to the lower lake are a little confusing. It says to go right and we walked to the top of the dam and went right, which just took us in a circle back to where we came off the trail. A better direction would be to go around the left side of the lake. The .9 mile hike up the paved road through the Sherando campgrounds is pretty disappointing! You would think that with all that wilderness there would be a trail to take to the upper lake. The best part of this hike was the solitude, except for one mountain biker and the campers at Shreando Lake, we didn't see anyone else!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 24, 2019
Started from Sherando Lake Lower Lake, following signs for the lakeside trail and then to the overlook rock. After a short, steep ascent reached Torry Ridge (yellow signs). The ridge is the nicest part of the trail for me. At the intersection with the Slacks trail, I went right up to the Bald Mountain, which was still covered in snow. Returned back to the Slacks trail, and followed it to the White Rock Gap trail, back to Sherando. The last part was rather boring.

By: Dan Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Tried to hike this trail from Mt. Torry Road in Sherando, but turned around within a half-mile. Ice storm damage from Nov. 2018 storm was severe. Many, many trees down on the trail. It was a difficult obstacle course. Will take some time to clean up. Thank you to everyone who does trail maintenance. (Four stars when it's clear again.)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 3, 2018
Started this hike from the parking lot at the dam of lower sherando lake (37.925951, -79.003325) going counterclockwise.Took the orange trail on the west side of the lake up to the blue loop trail, which has all the elevation gain. Overlook Rock was nice but nothing special. The yellow Torry Ridge Trail is relatively easy. It got a little confusing near the Slacks Overlook parking lot. There are TWO spur trails from the parking lot that connect to the blue Slacks Trail - one from each corner of the lot. On the parkway, we looked for a few minutes for the yellow White Rocks Trail, but couldn't find it. I was pretty disappointed we didn't get to see the waterfall on that trail.
We continued back on the Slacks Trail. On the trail map, the portion of the Slacks Trail from the Slacks Overlook to its connection to the orange trail is ENTIRELY inaccurate. It is a much longer and meandering, but still not difficult hiking. Additionally, its connection with the orange trail is at least a half mile closer to the Blue Ridge Parkway. At the connection, you can see the White Rock Gap parking area. The maps posted in the area show the trails accurately and list the Slacks Trail at 2.6 miles in length. The one camping area on the map is accurate and very nice, right next to the stream. I thought I saw another campsite as you got closer to upper sherando lake, but not sure.

This gets three stars because we couldn't find the yellow trail and thus missed the waterfall and vista, and the slacks trail on the map was inaccurate. Our total hike was 10.25 miles, and the only real highlights were Overlook Rock, the Torry Ridge walk, and the campsite. Had I been able to do the whole loop it might have gotten a 4 star review.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, February 1, 2018
We did the 7.5 mi counterclockwise loop. Started from parking lot at north end of the lake. We crossed the spillway immediately and began the steep ascent on the Blue-dotted trail (sign to Bald Mtn) to link up with Torry Ridge (Yellow Blaze trail). This blue section was VERY steep and you gain ALOT of elevation in 4/10 of a mile. Once on Torry Ridge its an easy, level hike. This was Feb so views were gorgeous but even in summer, I suspect there will be some nice vistas. From Torry Ridge we took a gradually descending Slacks Trail (Blue Blaze) down to White Rock Gap Trail (orange blaze). We diverted at the sign were these trails meet to the packing lot (200 yds) at Slacks Overlook. Nice picnic table there for lunch and a trash bin. Lower end of this descending trail was alongside a very nice stream with rushing water--not sure how it will be in Jul or Aug but very picturesque this date. Finished walking past camp grounds and then hiked alongside the lake back to where car was parked. Bottom line: glad we got the steep section done to begin with. No sign of other hikers (didn't expect any) but mountain bike tracks in evidence.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, January 25, 2018
I really enjoyed this hike. Cold day, on a weekday, so for me, so it was empty of any other hikers. I started from White Rock Parking BRP MM 18.5) and crossed the street to the south to trailhead for White Rock FALLS trail. Well marked with yellow blaze. Trail nicely maintained and although this was my first hike there, judging by the crushed leaves on the trail, this must be well used even in winter/fall. The waterfalls are nice but not magnificent--more like pleasant. Still, seeing/hearing them added to the hike. The bulge shown on the map is definitely the way you have to go--I thought the base of the bulge might be a shortcut and strangely, it had double yellow markings (??)--not sure why. It an interesting diversion but not a shortcut--it ends at cliffs. Not sure why the markings but there is a crevice in the cliff you can climb up to get to the bulge. (not recommended).Easy to moderate hike that loops around to bring you back to BRP at Slacks Overlook (BRP MM 20). The trail paralells the rushing stream and there are three crossings of the stream--two have bridges. The waterfalls are nice the stream was fast running and the sound as you hiked was marvelous. Lunched at Slacks overlook, which is a BRP overlook so there was a litter bin and picnic table there, which was convenient. From the overlook went to Slacks trail, a short distance. Left was to Torrey Ridge Trail right was Slacks Trail t(Blue Blaze) that hooks up with White Rock Trail. Easy hike, not much elevation change. Runs into White Rocks trail--left to the Lake right to the parking lot. I went right--the day was cold (23F). All told maybe 5 miles, maybe slightly less. A GREAT hike for exposing kids to multi-facets of hiking (views, waterfalls, some climbs and enough distance to make it a challenge for them, while not being so tame it's boring. Plan to do the Torry Ridge loop (7 miles) next week.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 20, 2017
Hiked this several times, all from White Rock parking area and in same direction as described. Steep little climb coming up from the falls but a couple of really nice outlooks on the way. Torry Ridge is best when leaves are off the trees for great views. Trail down to Sherando is steep and badly eroded. Be careful here! If you choose to go down the steps at the upper lake and hike along the edge of it rather than follow the description, simply cut uphill at some point along the lake and the White Rock trail is about 100 yards up from the lake. I prefer this to following the description.

For those who want to see the falls and outlooks with a shorter hike, follow the description until you cross back over the BRP, but then turn right at the Slacks Trail junction and then right onto White Rock Trail junction. This give you have a nice 4.2 mile loop. Caution: if you try this short hike in the opposite direction from guide, make sure you start from the trailhead at the western end of the White Rock Gap parking lot (to the left when looking at the display board). The trailhead on the other end of the parking lot (right of the display board) bypasses the Slacks Trail junction and you might go all the way down to Sherando before realizing it. If you look closely at the printable trail map, you’ll see the other trail shown as a light dashed line that connect with the White Rock trail near the camp site.

By: ckosm3ip Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 26, 2016
We had good weather for this hike and loved that the trail was mostly covered with shade. We had a nice lunch at the lake. Don't go around the dam as that is not the orange trail. We had a difficult time finding the trail after the campground as not well marked. Not very many views but overall was a very good hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 12, 2015
Hiked the trail today starting at the lake, counter-clockwise. The first leg was arduous with lots of loose rock, steep climbs and switchbacks. That segment offered the best and really the only great views - overlook rock looks over the lake and it was beautiful. Torry Ridge was nice and level. We had planned on hiking to the White Rock Falls but we missed the turn to that trail and ended up taking the Slack route. The stream bed down at the bottom of the hike was pretty and the water was cool and refreshing. The last leg of the hike was mostly paved once we passed the fishing lake all the way back to Sherando. We only saw one other group (a couple) hiking for the entire 3.5 hours - until we got the the fishing lake. The camper lots were about 1/4 full but the parking lot for Sherando Lake was full when we finished our hike (2pm) flora/fauna: Lots of Fence Lizards, we came across some Indian Pipe which I don't see very often, lots of wrens on Torry Ridge Pros: Great view at Overlook Rock solitude, very little trash except for two big bags of trash down by a streamside campsite. Cons: Pretty strenuous first leg no views after we passed Overlook rock very buggy down in the valley

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 24, 2014
First of all - drinkable water is available in the campground, about 2/3's through the hike,so you don't have to carry all of your water in. I think I picked a perfect day to do this hike. The drive up to the Parkway was beautiful because of the spring colors, but the trees up on the trail had not leafed out yet, so the views were nice. With a lunch break and foot soak break (the creek was wonderfully cold), the hike took me 5.5 hours. One thing I liked about it was all the varied terrain. As someone else said, the most difficult stretch is in the first 2 or 2.5 miles or so, really after 1.5 miles. There is some pretty steep uphills there, but your reward is a lovely waterfall along the way When it crossed the Parkway, the picnic table mentioned in the directions at that point is not visible from where the trail emerges. Cross the road and turn left and then turn into an overlook area, and you'll see the picnic table on the right, and the trail is clearly visible behind it. The trail rolls through a much more open (and somewhat barren) area for a while, then back into woods as you head toward the campground. The campground is a good place to refill water bottles (watch for a hose bib sticking out of the ground and marked "Drinkable Water"), and use the nice restrooms. When you leave there, you will climb steps up to the top of the Upper Lake dam, then find the trail again all the way at the right end of it. It climbs quite a bit from there back to the parking lot, but not steeply. It crosses the creek several more times, so don't miss an opportunity to stop and put your feet in. I think I would I would like to go back and do this hike again in the fall, and maybe in reverse.

By: MarshMudMan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 6, 2014
Overall, this was a nice hike. We did the hike as described here on HikingUpward. In our opinion, the best parts were the initial 2.5 miles (White Rock Falls trail down to the creek and then back up to the Blue Ridge Parkway) and the last 2.5 miles (from the campground back to White Rock Gap). The two miles on Torry Ridge itself were fine. The hiking was nice and easy, although the trail was rocky and reminded me of some of the sections of the Appalachian Trail up in PA. Since the trees haven't leafed out yet, there were some really nice views from the ridge. The trail from the ridge down to Sherando Lake was steep, as indicated by the elevation profile for the hike. We were glad to be hiking down that trail and not going in the other direction. One thing that neither of us liked was the ~1 mile walk on paved roads through the campground. There weren't a whole lot of people around Sherando Lake (although judging by the size of the parking lots and campground, I'm sure it is quite busy in the summer) but walking on roads didn't appeal to us at all. One good thing about the hike was the solitude. In our ~5 hours in the woods, we saw just 3 mountain bikers and two people on foot (not counting the couple dozen people in the campground and around the lake). Doing this hike was a nice way to spend a spring day, but there are plenty of other hikes listed on this site that I would hike a second or third time before I do this one again.

By: sallypie Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 14, 2013
We hiked this loop after a rainy week, and it easily rated as a "5" for streams under those conditions. Except for the first section of the Slacks trail, and along the Ridge Trail, we were within sight and/or sound of either a stream or Sherando Lake the whole time. There were tons of stream crossings, many of which are probably nonexistent during dry weather but which actually required some strategizing today. Overall, a great hike. We were fogged in so we didn't get many views, but the few we glimpsed were tantalizing. I definitely plan to return on a clear day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Hiked this starting at Sherondo Lake in mid-May with two girlfriends. Saw just one other group of hikers on the trail. From this starting point, the first few miles are slight incline, but pretty easy going. The climb after the waterfall is pretty steep, but not too long and the views from the top are wonderful. You don't gain as much elevation as other hikes this long, which makes this hike easier than many other 8-10 mile hikes I've done. I'd give 3 stars for difficulty, but perhaps 4 is warranted given the distance. Dipping our tired feet in the lake at the end of the hike was a nice touch. We didn't actually see any bears, but we saw lots of evidence on the trail that they had been around. Drank 2 liters of water and it was quite warm the day we went.

By: Stephen Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 20, 2013
I did the hike as described, counter-clockwise, starting from the White Rock Gap parking lot... Note that the first segment of the hike, from the parking lot to the intersection of the Slacks and Torry Ridge trails is used a part of the Bel Monte Endurance Run trail race, which coincidentally was taking place while I was hiking it! (so I saw lots of runners) This was an enjoyable hike, with a couple of really nice vistas, and a lot of stream action. The streams were running strong, which made a couple of the stream crossings on the challenging side. It took me 4 hours to complete, with only short breaks...

By: Caroline Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Very much enjoyed the hike! It was pretty tough for the first two miles or so but after that it was easy but not boring. The Torry Ridge trail was a bit rocky and narrow (lots of spider webs caught in my face) but the views made up for it. I would definitely return back in late fall when all the foliage is gone so that hiking along Torry Ridge would be more worthwhile.

By: Brian Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 19, 2011   I hiked this one yesterday with 14 members of the Central Virginia Trailblazers group, and we were very impressed.  We started at 10am and finished just before sunset.  It's a bit tougher than we expected, but the outstanding views made it worthwhile.  Most of the leaves had already fallen, but the lack of foliage on the trees made for better views, especially along the Torry Ridge trail.  I would recommend trekking poles for the stream crossings and the rocky, steep descent to Sherando Lake.  I think this hike is going in my top 5.

By: Ghostrider Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
At this time of year, with the heavy rains we just had, the White Rock Falls Trail is a sensory feast: rushing creeks, roaring waterfalls, several great views. I parked at Sherando Lake and did the whole 9 1/2 miles counterclockwise. From now on I'll probably skip the Torry Ridge Trail portion since it offers few decent views and is a very rock-strewn path. White Rock Falls Trail, though, is one of the nicest trail sections I've ever hiked.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 5, 2009
This was a great hike on an early fall day. We followed the loop just as the HU site suggested. The creek along the White Rock Falls Trail was very low. It would have been nice to see the falls during higher flow. The first 2.5 miles of the hike is definitely the most difficult as you drop down to the falls then work your way back up to the BRP at the Slacks Overlook. Once you attain the ridge the hike gets much easier. A steep decent gets you down to Sherando lake for a place to cool off mid hike. The White Rock Falls Trail past upper Sherando Lake is a gentle incline back up to the White Rock Gap parking area. The White Rock Gap parking area was unsigned when we were there. It looked as though there had been some work done on it recently. We did not see any timber rattlers. We did see a couple of hunters practicing with their dogs, "treeing" bears. We stopped to chat with one young man who said that one of his dogs had a bear in a tree just a few hundred yards off of the west side of the Torry Ridge Trail. He was wearing jeans with thick canvas "chaps" over them to protect from rattlesnake strikes as he followed his dogs through the brush. We also had the added joy of hunting down one of the famed HU hiking sticks, which we were able to find. A great day on the trail with a visit to the DB Brewing Co. on the way home.

By: JBuj Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 9, 1916
We had a great time on the Torry Ridge hike, although it was foggy all day and we missed most of the lookouts. Its uncommon to encounter a lake during a hike, so this one was fun! We had lunch by the lake and enjoyed checking out the campsite after. It I really fun to be able to hike to something! There is plenty of variety during this hike, sure to satisfy everyone. I'd definitely go back again, especially during summer.

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