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Little Devils Stairs - Sperryville , Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
6.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
4.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,480 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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Park at the end of VA670/Keyser Run Rd. and parking area for Little Devils Stairs.
38.73060, -78.25827

Because of the steep grade the first two miles of the Little Devils Stairs hike in the Shenandoah National Park can be tough if the day is warm. The best time to do this hike is the early spring when water levels are at a peak, making the numerous waterfalls along Keiser Run that much nicer. At one point the trail even passes through a small set of falls. Enjoy spectacular views of either side of the gorge as the Little Devis Stairs trail gets closer to the top of the gorge.

The second half of the hike follows the Keyser Run Fire Road back down past the Bolen Cemetery. This is a pleasant walk through some old growth. If you would like to make this hike longer add the 3 sections of the Piney Branch hike to make the circuit a little over 9.0 miles.

  • Mile 0.0 –The hike will begin up the right side of the parking area on the blue blazed Little Devils Stairs Trail. After 0.9 miles the grade will increase sharply as the trail climbs the ravine, and starts crisscrossing Keyser Run.

    The Little Devils Stairs Trail is hard to spot in places and you have to look for the blue blazes on the trees. However, if you believe you've lost the trail it's difficult to go too far off track, as the gorge is very narrow and trail runs along one side or the other of the stream. As you climb up the gorge there are several spots that require hand over hand climbing.

    Near the top of the ravine The Little Devils Stairs Trail becomes less steep, then makes several switchbacks before leveling off completely and arriving at the intersection of the Keyser Run Fire Road, and four way junction.

  • Mile 2.2 - Turn left down the yellow blazed Keyser Run Fire Road and in 2.0 miles enter an old hemlock forest before arriving at the Bolen Cemetery and intersection of the for the the Hull School Trail.

  • Mile 4.8 - Stay left down the yellow blazed Keyser Run Fire road where it becomes steeper for the final 1.2 miles back to the parking area.

  • Mile 6.0 - Arrive back at the parking area.
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Hiker Reviews For The Little Devils Stairs Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Hobo Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2018
Little sister hike to White Oak Canyon. Lots of bugs. Many small waterfalls, rock scrambles and steep climb. I did this loop from the Skyline drive Hogback/Overrun Falls parking lot. Took the AT to the Sugarloaf trail then Pole Bridge. That added an additional 4 miles.(2 extra miles of up on the way back that was brutal after the gorge climb.) After Pole bridge, then down then down the fire road. The fire road was steeper and longer than I expected. The gorge climb itself is only two miles. Making the fire road 4 miles. The lower parking area was completely full at 10:30am. There were young groups of 4, mostly couples and some dogs. I would not suggest attempting the hike from Hogback as it was a brutal 4 miles with a long up back to the Hogback parking lot. Over all this is a very nice hike in the gorge.

By: Julian Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 01, 2018
First hike of the year and a great one. The gorge is the best part of the hike, beautiful rocks and Keyser run has multiple falls. Jumping Keyser run is quite fun as well. This hike is most challenging in the first 2 miles with the last 4 quite easy. Would definitely recommend.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 27, 2018
My son (14) and I had a great time today hiking Little Devil's Stairs. The gorge along Keyser Run was steep and chalanging in spots especialy as we reached higher elevation and the rocks were iced over. Found a nice rock outcrop to stay dry for lunch. Bolen Cemetary in the forest was a little creepy. Reminded me of a Stephen King novel. All in all I really enjoyed the hike. The gorge was our favorite. I recommend this trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 24, 2018
Very enjoyable hike! I would recommend crampons if hiking in winter. Lost of snow on the rocks and trail at the upper elevations. The snow allowed me to follow the foot prints someone who hiked the trail before me. Very helpful considering the terrain over second mile of the hike. (Uphill rock scramble.) Climbing up, especially at the top takes some focus. I loved it! Beautiful crisp day, and I had the trail mostly to myself. It will be a stunning hike in about 5 weeks when the forest is blooming.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 17, 2017
Great hike - very quiet. Saw 5 people on the loop (up Little Devils Stairs, down fire road). No wildlife (someone on the trail earlier had seen a bear with two cubs). Did the hike in sturdy trail runners and they were enough for me - I wouldn't have wanted heavier boots given that 2/3 of the hike is on roads or smooth trails. The rock scrambles are pretty easy and the stream was very low at this time of year so no wet feet. No ticks. Very green - the only real view was an overlook off the fire road. The cemetery is worth a few minutes.

    View all 109 reviews for the Little Devils Stairs hike
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Late October (photos courtesy of Iris)
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