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Hiker Comments for the White Rock Cliff Hike - 1 to 63 of 63   
Average Rating:

By: Zach Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 24, 2019
Beautiful views from the top. Hiked in and stayed overnight at one of the campsites right before the path down to the overlook point. Trail conditions were dry, but rocky descents were a bit taxing coming back. Would definitely return and take advantage of the camping right at the overlook, though this time somebody beat us to the punch.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 10, 2019
Really nice hike. The payoff is at the top, which has a couple very nice camp spots. There's one portion of Racer Camp Hollow trail where we missed a crossing over the water, and lost the trail. We continued following the water, but luckily we downloaded the terrain map to our phone to find our exact location and get back on track.

Also, I lost my black water shoes near the higher parking area if anyone comes across them!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 14, 2018
One of my favorite hikes in the area! Did it as day hike and it took a little under 5hrs, including breaks. No fall colors yet, but it was very peaceful and quiet. We only passed 2 other groups during the whole hike. The trails were a bit muddy due to recent rain, so make sure you're prepared if it's been wet. I have a small car - Nissan Altima- and made it to the top parking area without much of an issue. Just took it slow and careful. Definitely recommend if you're looking for a nice hike with a little bit of everything!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Some of the early trails are actually small streams (before the recent rain), so be sure to wear boots. I opted for the lower parking area (even with 4x4). Walking up the 0.3 miles made me glad I did, as the road was pretty torn up.

I turned this into an out-and-back hike by taking the Old Mail Path to the Tuscarora Trail. The ascent was pretty rocky and the grade was steep, but the final views were worth it. It took 2 hours out and 1.5 hours back (mostly down-hill!). I train for incline hikes so it was do-able, but I'm not sure this route would be enjoyable for the casual hiker (especially with a pack).

Starting out, I saw a group of hunters walking in ahead of me. By the time I got on the Old Mail Path, they were further down the fire road and I eventually heard them shooting a good distance away. The area currently has a primitive weapon rule in place (bows and muzzleloaders only). The trail markings were decent but you might want to save the map to your phone ahead of time (zero service). Saw a few horses on the trail and some friendly deer. Cool hike, will be doing it again.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 26, 2018
Did this hike solo on Sunday. For the first time in my east coast hiking career, I saw no other humans in the almost 5 hours i was out hiking.

The rating of this hike as moderate is accurate. On the forest roads, you can cruise along through the grass with ease however, portions of the Racer Camp Hollow section are fairly rocky, muddy, and slippery. The ascents and descents are sneaky though and very manageable even though my GPS said I went up around 1600 ft and down the same.

To echo older reviews, the blazes continue to be virtually non-existent, not the right colors, and of zero help. However, it's fairly easy to stay on trail if you bring a map as it's obvious. A few possible exceptions: 1) As you come up the trail portion of Racer Camp Hollow, you'll cross the stream a number of times and on this day, the path was the stream at times. I missed a crossing at one point but as the path petered out pretty quickly, this was easy to recognize and then turn around. 2) at the turn at the end of Racer Camp Hollow, you'll find yourself in two clearings of hunters camps with lots of possible trails to choose from. There are two camps/intersections here. At both, choose the path that's the most on your left. 3) this was purely dumb user error and not checking the map but at the end as you descend Old Mail Path and come to the fire road section of Racer Camp Hollow, make sure you cross the road and clearing and go right back into the woods. Don't happily bounce on down the fire road for 3/4 of a mile. This is obvious on the map, but the trail across the clearing is very obscured this time of year.

On mud, even though it hadn't rained much if at all in the last week, the first section of Old Mail Path and the trail portion of Racer Camp Hollow were wet and muddy. i was glad to be wearing my Gore Tex boots as avoiding wet feet would have otherwise been very tricky. Still, i didnt find this to be super troublesome, especially if you've experienced similar type hikes in the area.

The gnats that attack your mouth, ears, and eyes were relentless. No mosquitos though. Also, so so much spider web across the trail, even with a constant waving of a stick out in front of me.

Critters: no bears, human monsters, deer, ticks, or snakes even though i was on high alert. No bear scat even. I did see chipmunks, squirrels, lots of birds, and a big vulture thrashing his way through the thick canopy.

The leaves were just starting to turn and the variety of fungi everywhere was awesome. It's possible there is a bonanza of chantrelle mushrooms out there right now or maybe it was the poisonous Jack o' lanterns? Someone who knows should have a look. Great tree/plant variety too.

The lookout really is a stunner, especially after spending the rest of the time in dense, silent forest. Also, it was refreshing to not see a single piece of trash, though i didn't have a close look at the fire pits.

One last note about the road in. On the lower, well maintained section, there is a spot that's been washed out. This is still doable with a little car (tho i was in a truck), but that may change with continued precipitation. The upper section of .3 miles is doable with a smaller car as one was up there in the parking area however, i would have been worried about it if that's what i was driving. You'll have to back down if you change your mind on the way up.

By: Heide Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 25, 2018
Really nice hike through the woods. The only “view” was at the very top and it was worth the hike! The rest of the time you are in heavy woods. Quite a few stream crossings and muddy areas due to recent rain. The grade was gentle and this was not a difficult hike.

I would NOT hike here October - December when the whole area is open to hunters. The clearings are all established for taking a deer from a tree stand. They also open the area to vehicles for hunting access. Wear blaze orange if you hike here during hunting season.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 28, 2018
My partner and I backpacked this hike, spending a night in a great campsite near the overlook. It provided a good challenge with a 35 pound pack. At different points along our hike my group twice encountered a rattlesnake in the middle of the trail, and twice encountered young black bears very close to the trail. The bears were young enough that we feared their mother may have been close by, but we didn't run into any trouble. Make sure your group is making some noise!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Great hike!

Not sure it needs to be a level 3 hike. For me, it’s more like a 2. I did the hike in reverse, going from the Pink trail to the Blue trail, then Orange trail, which has the steeper profile. The only difficult part of the hike is the initial climb. The distance is long and elevation gain not that great. Even this part of the trail was simple. It should be even easier if you take the Orange trail first.

There were a lot of streaming crossings. It had rained within the last couple of days I worked my way around many some mud holes at the beginning. The trails is also used by people on horseback. You might have to dodge some horse poop here and there.

Please be careful where you walking. I almost stepped on a timber rattlesnake near one of the stream crossings along the orange trail. Along the Orange trail, not far from the intersection from the Pink trail, there is a lot of tall grass that covers a fire trail. Be careful in the tall grass snakes are hard to see in these areas.

Otherwise, it was a nice hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 21, 2018
Very busy weekend on the trails. A local equine group was having their spring ride (had to dodge many land mines). Passed several other groups of folks backpacking for the weekend. The trail is great. We enjoyed each part, from the lower stream crossings to the ridge and view of the Shenandoah Valley. The weather was perfect, and the large campsite worked out well for our troop of 18 people. Thanks for your review. We printed the trail map directly from your site and used is for navigation. I would be interested in seeing more hike options in this area of the George Washington National Forest.

By: Kilian Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Did an overnight trip and stayed at the high mountain campsite. Was an incredible day, 76 degrees and no bugs since it was winter! It's a good hike with some nice scenery changes and a few lovely walks along ridge lines. The Opa Overlook is nice if often windy but my personal highlight is the campsite(s) up near the overlook.

It can be a bit muddy but is never too difficult or steep. Probably the best hike in terms of solitude, views, trail within 2 hours of DC.

By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 11, 2017
A nice hike overall -- I hiked it as described, but parking 0.3 mile in at the closed gate. One of the photo captions says you need a high-clearance vehicle to get there but I did fine going slowly with my low-clearance car. I arrived at noon and met a couple returning from a morning hike but saw no one else for the rest of the hike.

I bump it up from three stars to four because of 1) the very nice Opa Lookout, and 2) the relatively low level of rockiness compared to other trails in the George Washington National Forest -- it was a fairly comfortable hike wearing my trail runners. A nice change of pace. The inclines are mostly not severe. I found a trekking pole helpful to keep my balance and not slip at times.

I saw reviews mentioning mud, so I waited a few days after the last rain I estimate I ran across about 20 muddy spots, but they were mostly very short (10-20 feet long) and mostly well packed so I didn't sink in or I could go around them. At the end of the hike my shoes were fairly clean.

Between the first and second campsite on the Racer Camp Hollow trail, I somehow crossed over the creek getting off the trail, realized my error, and got back on the right side with the aid of my GPS device loaded with the trail route, which I was glad to have. The blazes are mostly non-existent. But, if you're careful, the trail is apparent over the great majority of the hike.

A July review mentioned ticks but I didn't encounter any, nor any other pests that were bothersome.

By: Diana H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 22, 2017
Arrived at 11am and there were no cars (You do not need a high clearance vehicle to get to the top, I drove a honda fit). The trail is not well blazed and about half-way through it becomes very thorny for ~400 meters. The view at the overlook was wonderful and it was nice to not have to share the top with anybody. Giving the hike a 3/5 because there were a lot of ticks (found 2 on my friend and 1 on myself, so definitely check periodically) and the poor blazes.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 13, 2016
The view up top was awesome, looking out at Tea and Little North Mountains with Sheffer Gap between. From Opa Overlook, we were able to see the Blue Ridge/SNP in the distance behind both arms/ridges of the Massanuttens, and of course, the Great North Mountain complex in the foreground. We could see some of the taller peaks of the South District of SNP beyond the southern end of Massanutten Mountain. Awesome views.

This was a tough trailhead to find. Well, actually not. We found it just fine. It's just that there wasn't any signage or evidence on the ground that we were at the right place and here up at the tail end of Waites Run Road is pretty much the boonies with nobody to ask. Things I will note that may help you find the trailhead: Waites Run Road becomes a dirt road about halfway to the trailhead. You may see cars parked on both sides of the road where the Tuscarora crosses: trust your mileage and keep going. Where you want to be is where the dirt road makes a definite fork. You want the upper lefthand fork. If you go right and down, you're going to find yourself by a pond and you'll know you've gone slightly too far. There is parking where the road forks. Unsure of exactly where we were, we kept trucking up the left fork until we came to the upper parking area. The gate here was not closed and is not closed during hunting season according to the sign. Still not sure if we were in the correct place (no sign saying "You are here!"), we kept going and quite quickly saw the well-marked Old Mailpath trail. We turned around and parked, the only car there probably all day. From here, the upper parking area, our GPS had us at 9.45 miles for the day.

The pink-blazed trail was pretty muddy in spots with plenty of horse droppings and bicycle tracks. Though we were alone all day, you should be prepared to share the trail. I am thankful that most of the mud was still frozen when we encountered it in the morning. Coming back in the afternoon, we at least knew in advance where the gooey bits would be.

Blazes were infrequent, but these are the kinds of trails you can't miss except for a couple of less than obvious crossings of the creek on the orange-blazed trail. It is quite clear when you are on the wrong side of the creek, however, and easy enough to backtrack to find where you should have crossed the creek.

The character of the hike changed greatly once up on the blue-blazed Tuscarora and I really enjoyed that part of the hike, walking the VA-WV border. There aren't any blazes to speak of at the turn-off of the trail to Opa Overlook, but the trail is clear and clearly marked with stone cairns. I hadn't paid too careful attention to the map before the hike and I assumed that the overlook would be at the peak of the ridgeline. In fact, you cross the peak and start descending the north side for a few hundred yards before the side trail heads off to the east. The rock scramble at the end was fun and there is currently a well-marked white blaze on the rocks just where you start to climb. Once up, while you can get a decent view just to the right, go left and down about 6-7 feet over a mini-ledge and then back up to the right. Get ready to say "Oh, wow!"

Easy walk, easy climbs, a good bit of mud, varied ecosystems, some nice ridge walking, a tiny rock scramble, spectacular views.

By: B. Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 21, 2016
This is a really great hike! We parked at the base, heading the warnings about clearance, but certainly could have made it in my little car - the roads was fine. The trail was extremely well maintained but the blazes are infrequent and fading. Despite that, we didn't have any problems and the lookout is absolutely breathtaking!

By: Boone737 Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
The parking coords were good. It brings you to an intersection of the lower (south of main road) and upper (north of main road) parking locations. I just think the start of the description might have meant to say "Park on the right...". I turned north (left) and shed about .3 mi of uphill FS Road travel.

The area was beautiful and quiet. There were many more campsites than listed in the description. All of them nice. There isn't any water on the Opa Lookout, but there is nice camping there. The climb is not too tough to bring an extra liter or three if you want to spend the night. The view from the rocks is gorgeous, especially at night with the lights of the city below. The trail was generally in very good shape. The blazes could use some work, but once you were on the trail, you didn't need them anyway. (The blue blazed trail had far more green than blue blazes.) I found it very strange that I didn't see a single small mammal. I ran across a deer, and that was it. No chipmunks, squirrels, mice, or anything.

The trail description was good, however the mileages were generous in the long direction. (Or else my GPS was bad and I hiked extra fast over my normal pace.) The total distance from the FS closed gate and back was about 7.5 miles. Add in the .6 from the lower parking and you get 8.1. No where near the 9.8 described. Easily doable in a day hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 27, 2016
This is a really nice hike along the WV/VA border. It started out a little rough for us, as we took the wrong forestry road and hiked a good distance before confirming we were on the wrong path. Make sure you take Waite's Run all the way into Wilson Cove. From where the GPS location from this site took us, we had to drive about 4 more miles down Waite's Run. Cell service is non existent on the road, so make sure you have a good idea of where you're going before you get there.

After finding the correct location, we drove the .3 miles up the service road in our FWD car, no issues. The hike itself was great. You start along a stream, get through some dense forests, very peaceful. We camped at the mountain campsite and there was one other couple camping there, but it was not crowded. The view is amazing. Make sure to watch both sunset and sunrise as well as some star gazing if you're up for it!! It's an easy hike down the next day.


By: Cookie Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 21, 2016
We hiked this as a group of four over the course of a long weekend. We spent two nights at the Racer Camp Hollow campsite, and one at the high campsite by the overlook. Four days was too much, but we hadn't been hiking in a while, and wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable.

First, it's important to note that nowhere around the trail will it say "White Rocks Hike," or White Rocks anything for that matter. Also, if you use the coordinates on Hiking Upward site imputed to google maps, Maps will tell you that your destination is on the right when, in fact, you need to turn left onto the service road.

As noted, the first leg of the trail was indeed quite wet. Plan accordingly and pack extra socks, as it is hard to circumnavigate the wet spots with a full pack.

I would not rate this highly in terms of solitude. First, there was a horse race going on this weekend that was utilizing the trail. The trail is narrow, and many of the horses were young and/or not well socialized. This made passing difficult, as there is not a lot of room for hikers to clear off the trail and yield. Second, there were close to forty horses competing in the race, and their hoofs tore up the trail on Friday. It rained Friday night into Saturday morning, when the horses raced the race a second time. This made the trail completely impassible in parts. It was cool to see the horses, but I would advise that you do some research to see when they do this. I tried googling just now, but couldn't figure out who ran the races. Also, remember that hikers yield to horses. Horses aside, we still weren't alone. Thursday & Friday we had the mountain to ourselves, but Saturday we ran into four groups of hikers and another group on Sunday. Of other note was that the people that had campsites before us were not very clean. We packed out more trash that was left behind than we did of our own. If we were to do this again, I would plan for the middle of the week in order to have privacy.

Regarding the trail itself, there are not many switchbacks, and it is a healthy hike. There are many rocks, and poles are wonderfully useful for this trail. There is beautiful scenery, but it necessitates that you stop and enjoy the view it is difficult to take your eyes off the trail for fear of rolling an ankle. At the outlook, it is important to be careful on the scree and surrounding rocks, as the rocks are very slippery. There are no campsites past the high camp on the right, so you can drop your bags and head up the scree to save the load.

Make sure you fill your water bottles before you get to the hunter's camp (easily distinguished by the makeshift plywood table against the trees) as there is no water at the top, and it's a hike to get all the way down again.

The view from the overlook is amazing. Be careful on the rocks. Coincidentally, AT&T and Verizon work at the top camp if you're so inclined.

All in all, this was a beautiful hike and can be easily accomplished in a day. We enjoyed it and would come back in the future. Campsites are plentiful, with a total of roughly 10 scattered around the trail.


By: Jerry Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 6, 2016
I did the loop as an overnight two weeks after an epic snow storm in the east coast. Most of the 3 feet of snow had melted with a hard crust remaining on about a quarter of the trail.

I had initially planned to camp at the overlook, but there were two hikers ahead of me that went that way, so I made the turn up Racer Camp hollow instead to go a different way. I was thinking they would take the overlook campsite. Turns out they were day hiking the loop, and I met them between the two campsites in Racer Camp Hollow. I camped at the hunters camp on a saddle between hollows directly on the crusty snow. I had to dig snow out of the ring ring to get a fire going. My German Shepard and I slept good and woke to about 20F.

I did the return trip up Little Sluice and sat at the overlook taking in the view for a while. The hike both up and down Little Sluice was easier than I expected being very gradual accents/descents.

Of the three rather large campsites, the one I chose was probably the least attractive but still not bad. All of the campsites were a little too heavily used for my taste. I like a small existing fire ring and little if any other signs of use. my site had a plywood bench built between two trees and numerous nails in trees and chopped tree stumps. I never understood cutting down live trees. They won't burn well, it's illegal and it's way too much like work.

My favorite part of the trail was between the campsites on Racer Camp Hollow. It was more wild and less developed than other parts of the loop.

I plan on going back with a friend later this winter and stay at the overlook doing the loop the opposite way.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 17, 2015
Awesome trail. Not too bad a drive from DC considering how remote and more 'untouched' the trail is in comparison to the Shenandoah AT trails and a lot of the trails in NoVA.

There were more people along the trail and especially at the camp-sites along the peak near the overlook than expected for this time of year - probably because it's one of the last weekends before it continues to get to freezing temperatures up there. Regardless it was totally worth it, everyone we met were very friendly and pretty much minded their own business.

The blazes can be hard to see at times, there was only one instance where we didn't see the Orange blaze cut to the right across a creek and found ourselves along a very rocky area for a bit until we luckily saw some guys coming down on the trail.

There are a couple of tricky transitions. Getting onto the white overlook trail took much longer than I expected from the blue - after peaking you descend for a good bit before the turn and then you go along the white trail for a while descending further until the overlook campsite and overlook itself is apparent.

Getting to the overlook is not straight forward but fun scaling up some boulders and then veering left to get to an amazing view of the forest below and valleys beyond. There's actually a few places you can get out onto the edge to have a great view so be sure to explore.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 15, 2015
One of the few hikes this time of year where did not see anyone! I was very surprised at the frequency of campsites along first-half of route. View from White Rocks is one of few where immediate valley floor has pristine forest no man-made structures (Woodstock is miles away in next valley). This is a beautiful lunch spot, bring your binoculars.

This time of year, grab a trail-side spider-stick, many "Spiny-Backed Hermit-Crab or Spiny-Backed Orb Weaver spiders (Gasteracantha Cancriformis) [I think] had stung webs across trail.

Excellent route description I would augment slightly, after "From the campsite, the trail will head up the valley crossing the run several times before reaching another campsite in 1.6 miles." add... " If you find yourself bushwacking left of the creek, cross back over to right side to find trail." Glad I had poles during my bushwacking foray.

By: G & A Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 2, 2015
A great hike in one of our favorite areas in GWNF. There are very conspicuous trail maps posted at many of the trail intersections, which is great for your peace of mind if you're unsure that you're on the right track or for improvising extensions to your planned circuit. We ended up by-passing the Old Mail trail on the way back and instead looped back to Wilson Cove via the Racer Camp Hollow Trail to Wilson Cove Trail (both grassy fire roads), adding about 2 miles to the original route. We got a few ticks in the tall grass on the forest road, so be sure to check yourself before you get back in the car.

The hike is relatively flat, with a few gradual climbs here and there but nothing too arduous so the miles pass fairly quickly. It was a beautiful day, not too hot for early August, but and there were a few cars on the approach road, but we only saw two hikers returning to their cars as we were setting off. Only one very small stream crossing with a wide board conveniently bridging the stream.

Only one true lookout at the end of the short white-blazed spur... but it's a doozy of a lookout! We saw several hawks soaring and swooping impressively very near where we sat.

Giving it five stars. Well-recommended!

By: MH Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 3, 2015
Nice secluded hike in overcast conditions- perfect for an August overnight trip. The trail is a gradual slope and easy hike, and my first trip with a 35 pound pack was not a problem. Trails were very muddy in spots, but not overall. The overlook is a must see, and worth the detour. The only people I saw were locals running hounds after bear- I never saw any bear.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 28, 2015
I'll try not to repeat my review from just below, but I admit I must be lucky, a cool breezy day, clouds streaming across blue skies (they were moving fast!) and I did see the butterflies: fritteraries/black swallowtail(?) on the thistles again. I think my biggest point this time is that we had a front move through the previous day with torrential rains, with plenty of flooding (at least further east where I live in Howard Country MD) but the trail just wasn't that bad. Oh sure, wear your hiking boots, yes you'll cross the creek several times and the trail can be a stream bed, but most of it is over slate and rock, not mucky leaves so not impossible to get around. Another issue was finding the road out of Wardensville, it's well hidden, but just follow the signs to the "city park" it looks like a residential road but ends up being way through. I drove my sedan to the upper parking lot with no problem, but a little more scraping going back down. The road is one lane w/ no room to spare so as the article recommends perhaps park down the hill on busy days. (Albeit I meet few hikers on this trail). My other piece of advice is that as you head up Waite's creek, the trail crosses the creek from R to L then crosses back from L to R but it is hard to see the latter b/c it looks like a creek instead, the trail bears left quickly, just hard to notice at first. Anyway, have breakfast ad KA-KA-PON restaurant, country breakfast, (not real cheap though) grab some subs and water up at the KERR's and have a grate hike. I saw another bear cub driving out.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 24, 2015
We did this hike in May as an overnight. Take heed of the suggestion for parking. Our car would not have made it up the hill to the trailhead without bottoming out. Other campers drove minivans up the incline, but you could hear them scraping the entire time. The hike starts out with multiple stream crossings, some of them had a way to cross without getting your feet wet, others not so much. Be prepared to get a little muddy on the first section. Once you arrive in the meadow it was a pleasant hike up to the viewpoint. There were a couple of backpackers who set up close to the ridge, we found a small hollow and camped there for the night. The views were amazig. The route back was well marked and as long as you follow the map, it was a smooth trip back to the car, most of it being downhill. Overall, it was a great hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 21, 2014
This was a great hike to take just as the leaves are changing!  I thought it was well blazed and at some of the intersections there were even posted maps of the North Mountain area, which was really great.  I would actually give it a higher solitude rating than 3,  the only people I saw was one boy scout troop on a backpacking trip.  Other than that, there wasn't a single soul on the trails.  There weren't a lot of spots to get a good view, but the trails were beautiful anyway!  The streams were also low so there was almost no mud and all the crossings were a cinch. 

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 17, 2014
Hiked this trail on a pretty Sunday afternoon with my dog. We drove up to the trailhead in my old SUV, but not sure a car could make it as it's a little steep and rocky. I had attempted this back in June, but saw a guy chopping something in the woods near the trailhead, who, when he saw me, promptly stopped and walked deeper into the forest. Freaked me out a little so I decided to turn around and nearly stepped on a rattlesnake - took these as signs I should come back another time!

PROS: Solitude - I saw no one on this trail the entire time, aside from an adorable little bear cub. S/he ran into the woods before I could snap a photo, so we hurried along as mama was surely not far away. Difficulty - it's not a hard trail. The inclines are very gradual and the trail is easy to follow (though in some places it was a little overgrown). Most of the trail is through the woods, with pretty stream crossings and some views through the trees. The view from White Rocks is well worth it and the many campsites along this entire trail are excellent.

CONS: Some trails have a lot of overgrowth, some have tons of poison ivy. Others have large amounts of mud or rocks. THIS trail had a TON of spider webs. I stopped what seemed like every few minutes to take a web off my face. And these weren't just one thread - they were often whole webs. Eesh. I took to waving my trekking pole in front of me for most of the hike and by the time I got back to my car, I had cleared so many webs that it looked like some huge spider had woven a web all over my trekking pole. I know spider webs are to be expected, but it seemed like so much more than other trails. Maybe it's the area? Who knows. There are also a lot of ticks as there are several areas of tall grass.

I would love to return in the late fall or winter for an overnight!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 16, 2014
For those of you reading this way in the future, it was a wonderful, unseasonbly cool day,  low 80s,  puffy white clouds, blue skies.  As others have noted,  relatively gentle hike,  some sections probably serve as creek beds during wetter weather  with one slighly steeper portion at the far end of (Waites?) creek where you end up at the 2nd grassy campsite.   Two distinct pleasures this year,  a couple patches of thistles were blooming,  with dozens of attendant butterflies:  swallowtails.  some kind of fritallaries and one other.   Up at the white rocks,  there was a gentle sighing breeze and what I think were Barn swallowtails,  playing, flying, fighting and sometimes swooping within several feet of my rocky perch,  just a blast to tiredly watch.   Were they nesting nearby (around 5pm)  or feeding?  Also, vultures below.   Saw a young bear off of the racer trail.   Very nice day,  although the 10 miles is beginning to push it for me.  Ended the day in Strasburg,  listening to music at Cristina's.

The trail is well worn so easy to follow,  (on a dry day)  markings are there but not too often.  Just know the general shape of the trail so you head off in the right direction when you need to make the turns.   the White Rocks turn was not marked, but again, pretty obvious trail that goes downhill a bit.  I'm centering my score,  so I suspect my 3 star is everyone elses 4 star.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2014
Our group had 7 hikers on Sunday 05/25/14. There were mixed comments about this hike. One was the condition of the trail-"Lots of mud and in some cases lots of erosion". One comment: "a great hike!". One comment: "I don't see how you could do this in 4.5 hrs". (It took us longer, but in a group of 7, there's always more reasons for stops). "The streams were great". The overlook was nice, but expected better from some of the previous comments. Saw more people on the trail than expected. (14). Agree with another comment about the difficulty. It seems like something more than 3, maybe a 3.5. After seeing a map about other trails in the GWNF, we look forward to seeing more reviews of those trails to explore. Thanks to HU. Keep up the good work!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2014
This is a very beautiful area, however, there are two significant drawbacks: the lack of clear and consistent trail blazes, and the severe erosion of about half the trails we hiked on. I suspect that the unusually wet 2014 winter was the reason for the extreme erosion, and the lack of staff/volunteer support to keep the blazes refreshed and the trails groomed. The streams are beautiful: visually and aurally. The wildflowers are amazing: Lady Slipper orchids in abundance on our hike on the highest trail. Except for the trail conditions, I would give this a "Great Hike" rating, and would recommend to others.

By: Effigies Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 5, 2014
Would recommend gaiters for the Old Mail Path and Racer Camp Trail as there are several long stretches of boggy trail. The hike itself was very pleasant with less strenuous ascents than normally seen in the SNP. Keep an eye out for wild turkeys on the trail, I ran into several flocks but they were extremely skittish and disappeared almost immediately.

By: Brent Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 20, 2014
What a great hike! Don't let the 9.5 miles scare you it is long but fairly easy hike. I think this is my favorite hike so far in the area. There is plenty of wildlife and solitude. We didn't see a single person all day. Only one other car in the lot. The hike up the orange racer trail is muddy but you can walk around most of it. The view from the rocks isn't 360 but it's awesome. It's just down from the ridge so its protected from the winds, sat up there for 45 mins. Perfect day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Great hike (though very muddy so wear the right shoes). This site does a great job of telling you which way to travel (life saver--thanx!) so make sure you where the Old Man Trail meets with the Racer Camp Hollow Trail you follow the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow trail. This makes a relatively easy undulating hike (though as mentioned, the trail is poorly marked in several locations (and the Blazes are wearing off))so pay attention. If, by mistake (or choice), you take the Old Man Trail all the way, you'll be hiking up a constant, LONG (and at times relatively steep) hill to get you to the "white blazed trail" (where we could never find the mentioned "white blaze", but there is a large firepit/stacked rocks for sitting 10 feet off the trail.) Once you find the firepit/seats) almost immediately across the trail on the main path is the cairn and campfire charcoal on the ground ato mark the beginning of the "white blazed" trail. Follow this to the "end" and the trail where it forks. Right fork allows you to almost immediately see the camp area. If you go left, within a couple hundred yards, there's a rock scramble which takes you to the scenic overlook shown in all the guide books. Bottom line, lots of fun, not too hard, but definitely go "counterclockwise" (vs clockwise) for the circuit, unless you specifically want the really long, continuous uphill rather than rolling terrain. Times on the guide page were also about right. We made the loop in 4 hours (plus 1 hour of stopping for photos, lunch, "soak it all in", etc.) PS. GPS REALLY helps to calculate where you are and when you should come across key features. Taking the counterclockwise loop, we knew the "white blazed overlook" would be at mile X. Sure enough it was, otherwise would've been tough to find (especially since it was mostly hidden behind a bush from the direction we were traveling.) Last note: make sure when you start the trail, and it says "Turn right on the pink blazed Old Mail Path, be careful to follow the pink blazes as the Old Mail Path can be very muddy and obscured in places" that you take the fork to the left around the benches, as the trail to the right will lead you someplace else.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 6, 2013
We did this circuit as an overnight backpacking trip (4/6-4/7/13). There was 5 of us and most were inexperienced hikers, but everyone managed pretty well. The trail instructions were on point. The  weather was 50s during the day and low 40s at night, but the large campfire and natural rock shelter kept us all pretty warm. I have done many hikes on HU and feel like the difficulty on this hike should be a 4 due to the prolonged inclines on the first half of the hike. My two negative remarks: all the people camping at White Rocks and the lack of water toward the top. Literally, a group tried to setup camp 10 yards from our camp which wasn't cool, but they eventually realized a hammock on the edge of the cliff with 30 mph winds and temps in the 40s wasn't the smartest place to set up camp. Overall, we had a great time on this hike. I just wished there wasn't so many people.

By: Xtrekker Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 5, 2013
I liked this hike but it didn't have the views I really wanted. Very little to no traffic on the trail which was nice. The trail is POORLY blazed and it is easy to miss the trail head all together. They have added 2 benches and a billboard at the trailhead with 2 posts in the ground off to the right side which can be misleading to some because it looks like the start of the trail. But the trail is actually off to the left of the benches not the right. Its an easy hike up to the summit. Seems to be a decent amount of choices for ground-dweller's sites. If you're a hammock camper, you will enjoy this hike for camping a lot. Doesn't have the greatest views but it's pretty quiet.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 9, 2012
This was a very fine hike warm, sunny weather, little, if any, undergrowth, many stream sightings, and wonderful views across the mountains and valleys!  I especially appreciated the usually gently altitude increases there was not the steep ascents like found on, say, The Roller Coaster of the AT or even parts of Signal Knob.  This day was special because of the snow left over from last week's storm.  As the beginning of the trail it was shirt-sleeve weather, but once we got up into the ravine where the wind had blown in so much snow I needed to put on my coat.  There was still about 3" of snow on the southern end of the trip.  Once we got atop the ridge of the Tuscarora the sun warmed us up and the coats came off.  There is alot of debris on the trail, especiall on the racer Hollow Trail as it goes through the woods.

This is a super trip for the scenery in the woods, streams and looking out across the world.  This is not a sidewalk type path there are rocks and mud and logs and uneven trail.  This is one of those places many hikers will overlook don't you miss it.

the guy was right it is a little confusing at the start as to which path to take: go to the left of the bench as you face the bench the path is to the right of the road and the left of the bench.  You will find a blaze about 75 yds. down the trail.

By: JAJ Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 12, 2012
Went for a 3 day/2 night hike in the area of White Rocks.

Once you get off the fire road and see the little bench area with the "you are here" sign, go to the left of the sign into the gap of conifers.  You will not see a pink blaze for 50-80 yards.  If you go to the right of the sign you will see a pink blaze or two immediately and then be lost in trying to find a trail.  We went right and started off on the wrong foot.  This gave us the oppurtunity to bushwhack and find an interesting place to camp the first night, though not one of the nice campsites that we expected. 

We bushwhacked most of the morning until we met up with the trail again and instead of going to White Rocks, we hiked west up to Sugar Knob.  We camped at one of the sites with a nice firepit near the cabin for the second night.  The next day we took the Tuscarora Trail all the way back to the forest road.  On our way we saw some very nice, large and sheltered campsites with massive fire pits.

All and all a good hike.  I took 1 star off because the pink blazes were misleading.  I enjoyed bushwhacking, but some people get discouraged quickly (SS).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 5, 2012
This is a beautiful hike! Not too difficult for a novice backpacker getting in shape for the season to come. Four stars for varied terrain, solitude and (limited but awesome) views. Camped at White Rocks (no water source... plan ahead) -- hoped for super moon, but got super rain! BEWARE OF TICKS! Even with long pants and plenty of spray, we still pulled 5 ticks off each other. All the campsites along the way were well set up and vacant!

By: Mike&Melissa Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 3, 2011
We turned this day hike into a overnight backpack trip due to time restraints. The hike itself is not bad. Not much to look at until you reach White Rocks. The view however is very rewarding. We camped at the White Rocks lookout site. Very windy! If you want a great spot to watch the sunrise...this is a good one! The remaining portion of the loop is completely downhill and we made it back to the trailhead in about an hour and a half.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 17, 2011
We chose this hike for its location, reviews, and the camping. We did this as an overnight backpacking trip. We started out at the main parking area, where the gate was closed. As we put on our packs, it started to rain (so much for a forecast of only 20% chance of rain). Matt's pack was 41 lbs and mine was 38lbs.(we read the reviews and carried 10 liters of water between the two of us) The first part of the hike is very muddy and the creeks were flowing good because of all the rain. The first mile was not horrible, but was strenuous. We took the trails the way HU directed. There were many campsites along the orange trail, one was pretty nice (where the trail turned) that we stopped and had lunch at. The next about 1.5 miles was pretty tough, lots of uphill. We stopped and made camp at the end of the orange trail. The campsite was okay, the table was really nice. The only problem we had was that it was right on the trail. We only saw 2 people, and they were locals on horseback (The horses decided to leave us a nice present at the head of the trail, when the wind blew just right, you could get a good wiff). There is a pond at this campsite, but we are not sure how deep it would be during dry months. The next morning we broke camp and started the next 2 miles uphill to white rocks. If we would have known that the next 2 miles, or so, were not as bad as the first climb up the hill, we would have loved to camp on white rocks. The campsites were nice with a great view!.
The rocks were nice, great views, where we had lunch. Definitely worth the hike! The hike down the mountain was very uneventful and steep, gave the legs a great workout! There are no creeks or water from the third campsite for the rest of the hike, until you hit the last pink trail again. So make sure to bring enough water. We didnt see any wildlife, or really many bugs, or anyone else on the trail.

By: Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
My wife and I set out for a 3 day back-country hike on these trails. It was a strenuous hike considering the season, the rocks and the mud, but we got some good exercise. We missed the right turn for the Old Mail trail (it descends into the woods quickly after a sharp bend on the fire road), so we hiked on the fire road for a while, where we encountered a 5' timber rattlesnake, with a small rattle.

We eventually turned around and followed the trails as described on H.U. We camped at the large site at Racer Camp Hollow the first night, and enjoyed the stream. The second day we hiked to the next campsite, saw there was no water to filter, so we hiked on to the next campsite on the white trail, where of course when we got there we saw no water, so we actually had to hike back to our car.

On the way back we encountered our second timber rattlesnake, about 4' and full rattle. It was lying partly on the trail, obscured by the brush. I almost stepped on the snake, and of course it feinted and rattled loudly. It was a slow hike back, since the trail was overgrown and visibility was poor, knowing the presence of rattlesnakes.

The only water we encountered was at that first large site, and we were under the impression that there were more streams on the rest of the hike, so we ran out of water and had to leave. Due strenuous hiking with camping gear and little water available on the trails, and the presence of timber rattlesnakes, we probably won't go back. This hike is probably best left to a day trip.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 14, 2011
It's a good hike, not too strenuous with a solid pay out of a beautiful vista. The trail itself is in okay condition. It's clear and well blazed, but it's very very muddy. At least it was while we were there. There are several stream crossings that need to be negotiated creatively but all in all a solid hike. Would love to do parts of this as a backpacking trip as there are plenty of great campsites to use. We didn't run into anyone when we went other than a hunter leaving when we got there, however it was overcast with a high chance of rain so I wasn't surprised.

By: Adam l. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 14, 2011
Hiked in Saturday afternoon (must of just missed you guys, as I saw no one the whole run) to the overlook via the shorter Old MailTrail/Tuscarora Trail route. OMT/Tuscarora steep and somewhat washed out and rocky. Lots of rain lately so the creeks were really running and the fords were interesting with a full pack. Glad I had my walking stick Camped at the top, with my head in the clouds (and clouds of little flies - got a small smokey fire going to deal with them) Finally saw some sun on the way back down.

By: Joey Dawson Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 30, 2011
My 11 year old son and I did this loop as an overnight 4/30/11 - 5/1/11. Finding the trailhead with a GPS was not a problem. The road up to the gate where this is more parking was interesting in my Civic, but doable. The parking at the bottom was not much better. The road into the trailhead is narrow, gravel, and not in the best of shape. It follows a beautiful flowing creek (Waites Run) for most of the way. We made it to the campsite in about 3 hours. The going was slow because the trail was very muddy and in bad shape. We had to be creative at numerous creek crossings and bushwack our way around some very muddy sections. The trails were pretty well blazed, and following the directions from this site we had no problems. The first campsite on Racer Hallow looked to be very nice. It was directly beside the creek and there was a large fire ring and a very large area for tents. Would have loved to stay at this site, but we wanted to cover more ground the first day. We made it to the campsite near the Tuscarora trail and set up camp. There is no flowing water near this site, we had to backtrack about 1/4-1/2 a mile back down the trail to filter water. Overall the site was very nice as it had a large fire ring, a very large table and a few level spots for tents. Second day we hiked up to the White Rocks lookout. There is a bit of rock scrambling involved, and you have to adventure around a bit to find spots on the rocks. We only noticed the one campsite near the overlook. There was a couple staying there. Made it back out in a couple of hours. Overall, this is a great hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Did this hike as an overnight. As it has been below freezing quite a bit, the trail was solid. The stream crossings were on solid ice. We were surprised by the lack of snow. We chose to do this hike in reverse and it was quite nice doing so. The view from the White Rocks was spectacular and that alone made this trip worth it!

There are two campsites near the overlook. One is where the overlook leaves the main trail and the other is half way between the main trail and the overlook. Water is not available at either.

On the Racer Hollow Trail there are 4 campsites. The three lower sites all had good access to water. The closest water to the very nice upper campsite at the intersection of the Orange and Blue trails was 1/2 mile below. Depending on how much snow and rain we receive for the rest of the winter will probably determine if water becomes available closer to the upper campsite.

If we continue to have a dry winter/spring, I would not expect water at any of the campsites by June.

A very nice moderate hike. I would say the difficulty rating is spot on.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 8, 2011
Started this hike 9:40 am with light snow falling.  My new hiking partner Chance, a Border Collie rescue, and I set out.  We parked at the lower parking lot to squeeze every ounce out of this hike as possible.  Once we got going I quickly noticed the trail was very well maintained.  I have hiked most of  the trails in the area and this one seemed to be almost like a highway.  The diffuculty of 3, I would say was dead on.  The only part  I would say that could have been anything more than a 3 would be the 1.6 miles after the campsite.  This seemed almost like it was 12.6 miles and would be the toughest of the entire trail.  When we reached the top it started snowing to beat the band, and the wind picked up, almost white out conditions.  Chance however, seemed to be enjoying himself.  It was at that point I made a note to self.  Hydration packs and water bottles freeze.  The temp. was 24 when I started and with the wind it felt to be almost -4.  Long story short the hike was awesome, the snow falling, and sheer speed I was able to achieve this hike.  This hike doesn't have the views, in my opinion, as the close by half moom trail. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 25, 2010
We had a great two day, one night trip.  We saw a bear cub on the road close to the trail-head, he ran along the road looking like a dog with a funny gallop. 

We decided to do the route in reverse, since we had better weather forecast for the first day, so that is when we wanted to see White Rocks lookout.  The hike up to the ridge was a bit easier than we expected - worked up a good sweat, but not too strenuous.  The lookout was stunning - better than we expected.  Picture
We continued to scramble towards the left for a while until we found a little perch at the end, only big enough for one person at a time, where you had a great view off to the left and felt like you were hanging off the cliff.  Picture

From the overlook, we continued around the loop clockwise, and we camped at the furthest campsite at the intersection of blue and orange.  It was a very nice campsite.  Loved the built-in, high counter that was great as a kitchen.  Good fire ring and logs around the fire to sit on.  The only problem we had was no water near the site.  We were hoping there would be, but instead had to walk downhill on the orange trail for almost a mile before finding a small stream.  One interesting thing was plenty of large piles of bear poo in and around the campsite and on the trails near that site.  We counted close to twenty, some looking fresh.  But we never saw any bears, unfortunately.  We were awakened the next morning by a frazzled man who said he lost after going for a jog while staying at some cabins. Weird.

The next morning we finished the loop, passing by the other three sites on the orange trail which looked like good options as well, each next to water sources.  We were back at our cars early enough to have lunch at a sports bar in Strasburg while watching all the 1pm football games before driving back to home to DC.

By: Michael Gross Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 1, 2009
This is a great hike with something for everyone.  A "3" rating for difficulty is very accurate.  I (35) went with my dad (63) and my son (6), and we all found it relatively easy with gentle inclines and declines.  (We hiked the first 1/4 of the trail, from entrance to the campsite at Racer Camp Hollow Run - about 2+ miles.)

As far as directions are concerned, be sure to read all of the previous reviewers' comments - and this is about 10/15-minutes past the Waites Run parking/trail entrance.

When you pick up the orange-blazed trail/FS road at the wildlife clearing, the map directions here mention two more wildlife clearings before you enter the forest.  Note, there are THREE, so don't get confused.

The large campsite along Racer Camp Trail has a lot of amenities - plenty of space, huge fire-ring, adjacent to the creek, log benches, and a board nailed to a tree stump that makes for a great kitchen counter!  However, be VERY careful when choosing where to set up your tent!  We arrived during a downpour and there were RIVERS running through the site!  There were definitely dryer spots, but the flat ground was cut in half by the rainwater rivers.

We were at the large campsite over the weekend and didin't see or hear another soul.    FYI, ten minutes past the large campsite is another campsite, smaller, but very nice with a small fire ring, flat ground, and soft forest floor.  Plus, about 10 minutes beyond THIS site, is yet another - slightly rougher - site.  This info could prove invaluable, so if you are reviewing a trail, please let the rest of us know about any other campsites along the trail!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 25, 2009
WOW!!...! What a hike!

My wife and I are not vastly experienced or in the best shape, we figured we could tackle a hike with a difficulty rating of 3, since we did a 4 two weeks ago. This hike was very challenging, to us, maybe it was the high 80's and humidity but we thought this hike was more difficult than the last. I'm not complaining we enjoyed pushing ourselves. The streams were not flowing and totally dry in some places, and it was very muddy in some spots as to be expected by past reviewers. We only saw 3 hikers, all near the lookout. The lookout was amazing!!! Well worth the effort. After the lookout a thunderstorm started to roll in and we had to high-tail-it back to the parking lot, thankfully it was mostly downhill and no lightning.

Make sure you review the other posts with the Google direction error.

By: PatPending Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 25, 2009
My son and I did this hike in reverse to take advantage of the camping along the Racer Camp Hollow Trail.  The Old Mail Path was not as diffcicult as I had expected in this direction which was nice.  I believe we passed the last reviewer along the Tuscarora Trail.   Which ever way you travel, the view from White Rocks is worth the trip.  Very nice and we found some blueberries at the top (a nice bonus).  We made camp along the Racer Camp Hollow Trail just as the rain started - lots of rain.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 18, 2009
The view from White Rocks is worth all the efforts to get there. If you run out of water by that time you can continue down Tuscarora Tr (blue) to a stream with good water. It will also add a pretty good workout.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 13, 2009

GOOGLE HAS LEFT TURN OFF WV-55 WITH INCORRECT NAME.  It's Sanfield Rd 5/1 not Waites Run Road.  It also has a brown City Park sign.  You know you've missed it if you come to 55 & 259 as other hiker mentioned. I mentioned it to a local at the nearby gas/truvalue store and she said, "We don't yet have cell phone service don't much care about google."

Hike was the muddiest I've done yet.  We finished in 3 hours & 45 minutes and then waited another 1/2 hour for one of our group who missed the turn back onto the pink Mail trail.  There were supposed to be 8 of us, but 3 only made it to 55 from D.C. area before they evidently got lost.  Hopefully they found an equally good hike.  Our hike gave us a good workout, but not sure I'll drive the 2 hours again when I can find better ones closer.

By: Adam Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 9, 2009
A great hike.  My wife and I were itch'n for a backpacking trip and were looking for a short loop that had camping areas on it.  This was just about perfect.  We got a really late start that day and we didn't make it to the parking lot until 5:30 and still had plenty of time to make it to the first campsite on old mail trail.  This was a great campsite plenty of room and right next to the river.  All of the foot bridges over the stream crossings were in place but it was very MUDDY.  I would not let the mud scare you away from this one but you do need to be prepared for the first mile to take about an hour or so (at least it did for us, but we also went after 5 days of rain).  There were also a lot of spiders in the muddy swampy area (not around the camp site).  We checked ourselves a lot and didn't find any ticks on us.  Might have seen two on my backpack.

All in all a great hike.  Didn't see any other people.  Can do it in a day (5 hours) or can take your time and make an overnight of it.

The road up to the upper parking lot is not quit as bad as has been posted.  We made it up easily in our Accord, just take your time and don't be stupid.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 3, 2009
Great hike.  Beautiful view from white rocks.

We preferred the eastern half of the circuit over the western half, not only because we were going down hill but also for the scenery.  The western half did seem like it would have been more scenic in the summer, but in early spring we sometimes felt we were walking through a gray and muddy, tree cemetery.  If you'd like a shorter / easier hike, you might just hike straight up to white rocks and/or to the orange-blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail and then return (no circuit). 

A few other pointers: 

1.  Most directions tell you to turn off of WV Highway 55 onto Waites Run, but this sign doesn't say Waites Run there.   This is right near where 55 comes into 259.  Rather, look for the 5 over 1 sign (a circle with a 5 on the top half of the circle and a 1 on the bottom half).  This is for County Hwy 5/1.  Otherwise, the google directions were simple enough.

2.  It's easy to get mixed up on the white-blazed spur trail toward White Rocks.  After 0.2 miles, it's more accurate to say that the trail comes to a "T".  A right turn would take you to the high-mountain campsite, with numerous little trails spreading out from the campsite.  Instead you should go left at the "T" to continue on the white-blazed trail.  Another 0.1 miles takes you to the rock scree.  We actually found it was pretty easy to follow the white blazes up the rock scree and to the White Rocks vista. 

3.  There's a great view to the west from a small out-cropping of rocks when you're on the blue-blazed Tuscarora Trail.  This is *roughly* 0.5 miles south of its intersection with the white-blazed, spur trail to White Rocks.

4.  Finally, as you're returning from white rocks, the directions say go downhill on the blue-blazed trail for 0.5 miles, then go left on the pink-blazed trail.  This is a pretty sharp left turn.  We were chatting and missed the turn.  Unfortunately, about 0.3 miles later there's a different left turn onto a different pink-blazed trail.  Took us a good mile or so along that pink-blazed trail until we figured out we realized our mistake.

Happy hiking!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 14, 2009
Took advantage of a nearly 50 degree Valentine's Day to make this hike.  Warm enough to strip off the fleece and make most of the walk with a shell and tee shirt. Nestled among other great hikes in the GW Forest section near the WV-VA border, this one is terrific especially the section on the Tuscarora Trail. The views are truly amazing.  White Rocks Point is a great place to rest, rehydrate and soak in the beautiful surroundings.  Lots of camp sites throughout make me want to come back with the tent.  Would argue that it's more difficult than the HU rating of 3.  Took me close to 4 hours.  The Old Mail Trail and the section before turning up to the Tuscarora trail were soggy, rocky and good for goats.  Bad wind storms the previous week put lots and lots of downed trees in the paths throughout.  Beautiful streams to cross some with make shift bridges others by the Grace of God and some well placed rocks.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 1, 2008

Ideal hikes start at the base of a mountain and follow a series of trails to a summit with spectacular views.  The White Rocks hike fits this description perfectly. 

I drive a simple Honda Civic and had no problems taking it all the way to the uppermost parking area (referred to on the HikingUpward trail description as "additional parking for five vehicles").  However, I probably would not have made it in anything other than ideally dry conditions like I had today.  After parking, I did this hike as an out-n-back, following the pink, blue and white blazes to the top.  At first, the trail in the valley was a bit mushy, but as it ascended it dried out and transformed into a typical Appalachian ankle twisting obstacle course of sandstone and fallen limbs.  But all of the effort was worth it.  The reward was a wonderful broad outcropping - White Rocks- which affords views of Woodstock, Massanutten Mountain, and Shenandoah National Park beyond.  

On your way home, don't forget to hit the Freeze King in Wardensville for the best chocolate shake in town.

By: ricenpeas Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 10, 2008
Weather called for thunderstorms, but my buddy and I took a shot at it anyway.  I'm very glad we did, it only rained twice, about 10 or 15 minutes each time, and though we got good and wet, the canopy prevented a thorough soaking. 

Really liked how remote this area felt, even though it's 20ish miles from I-81.  We parked at the lower parking spot where the road splits, wasn't sure if my little sedan would bottom out on that road going up, but once we walked up I could see there's really only 2 spots that the car could potentially bottom out, and it's not too rutted or washed out.  The lot up by the gate is spacious, five cars easy.  The most exciting part of the hike was right when we got out of our car and heard 3 gunshots over a few minutes, and they came from VERY close by.  Later on we befriended some horseback riders who live in the area who said that there's a plot of private land surrounded by the national forest, so those folks kind of do whatever they'd like.  So my friend and I were sure to talk in a louder voice for a while before we got past that section.

This hike overall does have a number of very muddy spots (due to horses, methinks), mostly at the beginning, but the majority of them are passable with minimal tromping.  The trail is also overgrown in a few places, with long grasses covering the trail.  Almost all turns on this circuit are signed, and most are well marked (blazes are not as frequent as you may like in some sections, but if you just stay on the trail you're fine).  A couple nice climbs (nothing too bad) and of course the fantastic overlook at White Rocks make this a great getaway.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 5, 2008
Lots of rain the day before and sporadic drizzle the day of.  The hike itself was very pleasant.  We saw no wildlife what so ever which seemed very unusual.  We camped at site #2, very damp conditions as all vegetation and wood was soaked.  Ony saw a couple hourse back riders on Sat and a single hiker on Sunday.  I would like to try it again under drier conditions as there was quite a bit of mud in the low lying sections. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 4, 2008
Hiked this trail between rains on the 4th.  The first mile or so was through a good bit of tall grass (though the access road had just been mowed), which without gaiters left my legs rather wet.  Though I'm not a big fan of hiking on roads, it was for a rather brief period of time, and just made the rest of the hike that much more enjoyable.  After leaving the access road and heading into the woods the hike improved significantly though.  We saw plenty of wildlife, deer, grouse, etc.  The overlook was a great place to grab lunch and take in the terrific scenery.  Overall I was quite pleased with the hike, and will try it again on a drier day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 14, 2008
Me and some friends were out there this past weekend. Trails were in ok shape (it just rained alot the previous days). We saw horseback riders and thats about it. Camps were in great shape. Overall a very good hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 11, 2008

All day long I saw no people. Trails and campsites are in excellent shape. The view from the lookout was superb. The walk to the top of Sugar Knob and to Cedar Creek on Tuscarora trail made the hike a little more interesting. I saw a few deer, but no bears or any signs of bears.  

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 1, 2007
Enjoyed this hike very much.  We camped right near the eastern lookout and had a great time.  The Old Mail Trail is a bit mucky and brushy, but we didn't have any trouble staying on it because it was well marked.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 19, 2006
My wife and I hiked this loop the weekend before Thanksgiving and it was great. All of the gates were open on the road, so we were able to park right on the Old Mail Trail, pink blazes (4x4 recommended here).  The area had just got a lot of rain a few days before so all of the rivers were extremely high causing us to search up and down the river to find a save place to cross. Since we were spending planning on camping, avoiding getting too wet was a high priority.  In addition to the camp sites noted in the description, there are several others that looked like prime locations. Once we passed the great sites along the river as noted on the Racer Camp Hollow Trail (orange), there was a large camp site occupied by hunters just before the intersection of the Tuscarora Trail (blue blazes). It seemed like a low area, so I’m not sure how this would be in the spring and early summer. The next one was on the right side of the trail near the end of the White Rocks Lookout Trail (white blazes). This looked like one of the best spots, but unfourunatly it was already taken by the time we got there…extremely disappointing since we were doing this loop so we would have a good view of the eastern sky to see the Leonids Meteor shower that night. We ended up spending the night on the left side of the Tuscarora Trail after the intersection of the Old Mail Trail. I didn’t make it a waypoint, but the site was around N38 58.993 W78 35.159. The only issue with this site was the lack of water, make sure you fill up climbing up the last hill on the Racer Camp Hollow Trail. This was a great loop that I would highly recommend. Making it an overnight trip will allow you to take a little more time to enjoy all this area has to offer.

By: Nelson Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 4, 2005
This was a neat trail, and there are 2 great camp sights back to back. The great views in the pictures were not there during the summer because of all the trees. We had total privacy and did not see another person the entire hike. A word of caution however, there is a nest of yellow jackets both at the first campsite and at the big meadow. Also, we saw a rattlesnake towards the third campsite and decided not to camp there.

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