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Riprap Hollow - SNP, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.5 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
5.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,225 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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Park at the Riprap Trail parking area. 38.17711, -78.76509

Riprap Hollow is one of the best circuit hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park. The views from Chimney Rock, and along the ridge of Rocks Mountain, offer great vistas to the west and north. The spring fed stream in Cold Spring and Riprap Hollow is very scenic, and has a 50ft wide swimming hole fed by yet another mountain spring.

From the Riprap parking area walk the 50 yards along the blue blazed trail to the intersection of the white blazed Appalachian Trail. Turn right uphill on the white blazed trail for 0.4 miles to the intersection of the Riprap Trail.

Turn left on the blue blazed Riprap Trail as it descends through a hollow on the ridge before climbing and arriving at the first vista point in 0.7 miles. In another 0.3 miles reach the second vista and Chimney Rock. From Chimney Rock the trail will begin to descend into Cold Springs Hollow. In 1.7 miles from Chimney Rock the spring fed stream that has come in on the left of Riprap Trail will pass through a small gorge and over a 20ft waterfall.

After passing the waterfall follow the blue blazed Riprap Trail for another 0.3 miles to a large swimming hole. Just past the swimming hole the trail will cross the stream, and pass a trail marker and an overgrown trail that leads to an old Riprap Shelter on the right. Continue straight on the blue blazed Riprap Trail next to the stream for another 0.7 miles to the intersection of the Wildcat Ridge Trail.

Turn left on the blue blazed Wildcat Ridge Trail and shortly cross the stream again before the trail starts heading uphill through a small gorge. In 0.6 miles the Wildcat Ridge Trail will make several switchbacks and become much steeper, as it follows the Wildcat Ridge for another 2.0 miles to the four way intersection with the white blazed Appalachian Trail.

Turn left on the while blazed Appalachian Trail for the remaining 2.8 miles back to the Riprap parking area.

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Hiker Reviews For The Riprap Hollow Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Riprap Hollow hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Hobo Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 12, 2017
At 10:30am the parking lot was half full. The trail was easy to follow and included part of the AT. The trail is a short AT up then a long slow blue Riprap trail down that will be more challenging coming back up. A little more elevation than I expected. Once again I was reminded "I'm hiking on Skyline Drive these are mountains." Hikers- I meet the friendliest hikers on or near AT trails, this trail re-enforced that theory. Very friendly hikers and dogs. The views from Chimey rock were awesome. I've hiked most of the trails on Skyline so I'd say the special features on the Riprap trail were the rock formations including a large rock boulder area. A word of caution if you have kids or dogs, this year I've seen a number of rattlesnakes and copperheads in the boulder and rock overlook areas. The snakes won't bite unless cornered or stepped on, so be VERY careful about leaving kids "go play in the rocks." While rattlesnakes may sound like a problem they are friends of hikers, as they keep the lyme disease down by killing rats and mice. Also note it is ILLEGAL TO KILL ANY SNAKE IN VIRGINIA. A very enjoyable hike with a west view. After the hike I stopped at the Riprap overlook which was cool to see where I hiked. HYOH

By: Keith (no trail name yet) Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 11, 2017
18 degrees and sunny when I started (9am), 33 degrees when I finished (3pm). First time on this loop. Despite the cold temps, I had a great time. The leaves on trail were deep enough to obscure some of the rocks, so I had to take care on foot placement. The climb out was not a lot of fun for me. I took plenty of breaks and paced myself. Not many people on the trail that day. It was nice day to get out.

By: VSOP Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 25, 2017
With the weather letting up on the heat and humidity it was a great day for a solo day hike. Got started early but learned that taking US 29 to CVille on a weekday morning to get to the south end of SNP was a mistake with traffic backing up to a mile short of Ruckersville. Turned around and took US 33 to Swift Run Gap an then south to MP 90. Clouds were blowing over High Top on the drive down so it was a cool start and it only got to about 80 during the day. That short bit of blue blaze out of the parking lot is extraneous. Hard to get lost on 10yds of trail. But it did throw off one group of hikers that I ran into later in the day. The brush on the north end of the loop on Rip Rap was getting close to the trail bed but the trail was in good shape and passable. The views from the outcrops on the north end of the loop were worth the trip. And the gorge at the bottom as I approached the swimming hole were unique in terms of other SNP hikes I've taken. Water was low but flowing. The swimming hole was tempting but I opted for lunch at a spot on the old trail above it. There seem to be a lot of "no camping" posts around but there were also a lot of flat spots in other places in the valley to pitch a tent or hammock. The Wildcat trail was in good shape and seemed to have had more traffic. The grade is pretty good on both trails but it's a constant "up". Blazes on the trail were pretty fresh. A pair of SOBOs on the AT leg reported a bear about mid way but I never saw it. Overall, this could become a favorite.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 04, 2017
I hiked this on a Friday in August and only saw a few people. The views from the rocks were outstanding. Because of the shade I never got too hot. Descending into the valley after Chimney rock was one of the loveliest sections with a cool babbling brook and lush canopy of trees. The swimming hole is very nice. I would only suggest this hike to people who are in good shape as it is a very strenuous hike with alot of elevation change. It is a workout! But if you are up to the challenge, it is a FANTASTIC hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 05, 2017
First, Thank You Hiking Upward! You have a fantastic and much appreciated site.

Review: You know how you can go to a restaurant and everyone shares the sampler appetizer? After tasting it, you kind of wish you just ordered this for yourself rather than ordering an entree? That is this trail. It doesn't have the best stream and swimming hole, but it is really nice. It has nice vistas, but there are better. It has a nice hike through mountain laurel, it has pine forest with dirt trail, nice bottom hardwoods with a rocky trail, and so on. Each time I can think of better, but none that gives me a nice taste of everything like this trail. Depending on how you like samplers, this trail could be rated anything from a 2-5. I gave it a 4 because it is a great hike that I'll definitely come back to, but I still have my favorite entrees elsewhere.

I hiked this clockwise (opposite of description) having seen a number of reviews suggesting this and I believe they are right. Just feels like I've earned the vistas if they are near the end and I think it makes the climb a little easier. Other than that, trail was in great shape with only a few rough spots or fallen trees. Impressive fire damage near Chimney Rock. Next, having hiked lots of trails in this guide that are rated a 3 or 4 for difficulty, I think a 4 is probably overstating it here. It is a little longer, but I've hiked 3's that I thought had more strenuous sections.

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