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Recommended Hikes

  

Below is a catalog from which you can choose a hike and then look up its description in the text. To properly plan for your hike and to avoid unpleasant surprises, please read the whole description before you start hiking. The catalog needs some explanation.

Hike number. The hikes are divided into three groups corresponding to the three section of the park. North section hikes are prefaced with an "N", Central with a "C", and Southern with an "S". The hike numbers are in sequence, by section, with the numbers starting with "1" at the northern end of the section and proceeding south. Hikes starting at the parks perimeter have the letter "P" added to the section reference letter and number.

Map Number. The maps, similar to the hikes, are also divided into the three sections of the park. In addition, the map numbers begin with an "M". Thus the first map in the central section of the park is map MC-1.


CCC Creating Hiking Trails
Photo from National Park Service

Start, mile, is the point on the Drive where you will park your car. Some hikes start from a campground or other developed area; for those the mile point of the entrance road is given. A few hikes, such as those for Old Rag start outside the park at the park perimeter. As noted above their hike reference includes a "P", but their description is indicated at an appropriate reference point on the Drive. For example the hike to Old Rag summit from Weakley hollow is referenced as, Hike HC-14(P), which means that it is the fourteenth hike in the Central section of the park and it starts from the park perimeter.

Description. Three different kinds of hikes are covered. A round trip hike proceeds to its destination and then returns by the same route. If your main reason for walking is to see things, this kind of hike is as rewarding as any other; on the way back you'll see things that you overlooked before. A circuit hike proceeds to its destination and then returns, all or most of the way, by a different route. A one way hike proceeds to its destination and does not return at all. How can you do that? There are several ways:

  • A friend drives you to the starting point, and picks you up at the end.
  • You get out at the starting point, and your friend drives to the other end. The two of you walk the same hike in opposite directions. If he remembers, he will give you the car keys when you meet. Then you pick him up at his destination.
  • With two cars: you drive to the start, and your friend drives to the finish; walk in opposite directions, and exchange keys when you meet.
  • Drive both cars to the finish point. Both drivers return in one car to the start, and walk the trail together.

Distance. Trail distances have been measured using Global Positioning System (GPS) data, Geographic Information System (GIS) output and sometimes by measuring wheel, recorded to the nearest tenth of a mile.

Climb. This includes not only the net change in elevation, but also all the ups and downs in the trail, was measured with an altimeter, accurate, hopefully, to within five percent. Climb is probably the most important single indicator for novice hiker to consider when contemplating a hike, but read on.


Sunset At Spitler Knoll
Photo taken by Steve Dacosta

Difficulty. This is a rough indication of how tired you'll get. Hikes are rated from "1" (very easy) to "8" (very difficult). The rating is based not only on distance and amount of climbing, but also on steepness, roughness, stream crossings, etc. But don't take the ratings too literally. A young athlete in training will find all of the hikes easy. A person not used to physical activity may find all of them difficult or impossible. If you are at all unsure of your ability start with the easy hikes and work up. Some twenty hikers of varying ages and ability level participated in the review of the hikes in this guide in preparation for this publication. Collectively, it was found that Heatwole's formula relating to time and difficulty was, on average, appropriate and that his advice on hiking remained as relevant as when it was first published thirty years ago.

Time required. It is assumed that you'll look at rocks and scenery and wildflowers. If your destination is a waterfall, or a viewpoint on a mountain peak, it is assumed that you'll spend a little time there. The figure is based on a formula: 1.5 miles per hour, with one minute added for each 20 feet of climb, and arbitrary additions for viewing the scenery, for rough or steep trails, and for rock scrambles. After testing several of the recommended hikes, you can adjust the listed times in accordance with your own pace.

Note: Pets are not permitted on a few of these trails. Check for "No Pets" signs at trailheads.

 

Hikes in the North District
Hike
Number
Map
Num.
Start,
mile
Description Dist.
miles
Climb
feet
Diffi-
culty
Time
HN-1 MN-1 0.05 Dickey Ridge Trail. Overgrown fields, small stream. Round trip. 2.7 440 2 2:10
HN-2 MN-2 4.6 Fox Hollow Trail. Homesites, cemetery. Self-guiding. Circuit. 1.2 310 2 1:20
HN-3 MN-2 5.1 Snead homesite. Orchard, barn. Round trip. 1.6 190 1 1:25
HN-4 MN-3 9.2 Lands Run Gap to Hickerson Hollow. Homesites. Round trip. 2.2 940 3 2:30
HN-5 MN-3 9.2 Lands Run Falls Round trip. 1.3 325 2 1:30
HN-6 MN-3 10.4 Compton Gap to Fort Windham Rocks. Round trip. 0.8 130 1 0:55
HN-7 MN-3 10.4 Compton Gap to Indian Run Spring. Round trip. 1.0 165 1 1:00
HN-8 MN-3 10.4 Compton Gap to Indian Run Spring and Fort Windham Rocks. Circuit. 2.6 340 2 2:20
HN-9 MN-3 10.4 Compton Gap to Compton Peak. Views, geology. Round trip. 2.4 835 3 2:45
HN-10 MN-4 15.95 North Marshall. Views. Round trip. 1.3 295 2 1:15
HN-11 MN-4 15.95 South Marshall, Views. Round trip. 1.6 295 2 1:20
HN-12 MN-4 17.6 Gravel Springs Hut. Circuit. 0.8 190 1 0:50
HN-13 MN-4 17.6 Big Devils Stairs. Spectacular canyon, stream, cascades. Roundtrip. 5.7 1850 6 6:50
HN-14 MN-4 17.6 Bluff Trail and AT. Views. Circuit. 12.8 2495 7 10:30
HN-15 MN-5 19.4 Keyser Run Road, Piney Branch, AT. Views. Circuit 6.8 1145 5 5:30
HN-16 MN-5 19.4 Keyser Run Road, Little Devils Stairs. Canyon, stream, cascades. Round trip. 4.8 1585 5 5:15
HN-17 MN-5 19.4 Keyser Run Road, Little Devils Stairs. Canyon, stream, cascades, cemetery. Circuit. 7.7 1845 6 7:15
HN-18 MN-5 20.4 Hogback Summit from spring. Views. Circuit. 1.0 250 2 1:00
HN-19 MN-5 20.9 Hogback Overlook and AT. Circuit. 0.7 100 1 0:35
HN-20 MN-5 20.9 Hogback Summit from Hogback Overlook. Round Trip. 0.4 115 1 0:25
HN-21 MN-7 21.1 Overall Run Falls. Semi-Circuit. 6.5 1850 5 6:00
HN-22 MN-5 22.1 Piney Ridge, Piney Branch. Cemetery, homesite, stream and falls. Circuit. 8.3 1725 6 7:25
HN-23 MN-7 22.2 Mathews Arm Campground, Traces Trail. Evidence of former inhabitants. Self-guiding. Circuit. 1.7 335 2 1:40
HN-24 MN-7 22.2 Mathews Arm Campground, Knob Mountain, Elkwallow. Circuit. 5.8 1130 4 4:30
HN-25 MN-6 22.2 Mathews Arm Campground to Overall Run Falls. Round trip. 3.8 1140 4 3:40
HN-26(P) MN-6 22.2 Thompson Hollow to Overall Run. Stream, cascades, pools. Round trip. 2.6
to
4.6
480
to
640
3 2:40
to
4:30
HN-27 MN-8 24.1 Knob Mountain and Jeremys Run. Stream, cascades, falls. Circuit. 11.7 2615 7 10:00
HN-28 MN-8 24.1 Jeremys Run and Neighbor Mountain. AT, Stream, falls. Circuit. 14.0 2765 8 11:40
HN-29 MN-9 28.2 Byrds Nest Shelter No. 4. Views. Round trip. 0.7 485 2 0:50
HN-30 MN-9 28.5 Beahms Gap and AT. Circuit. 0.4 60 1 0:20
HN-31 MN-9 30.1 Pass Mountain Overlook. Circuit. 0.25 50 1 0:15

 

Hikes in the Central District
Hike
Number
Map
Num.
Start,
mile
Description Dist.
miles
Climb
feet
Diffi-
culty
Time
HC-1 MC-1 31.6 Panorama to Pass Mountain AT Hut. Circuit. 3.4 670 3 3:00
HC-2 MC-2 31.6 Panorama to Marys Rock. Views. Round trip. 3.7 1210 4 3:40
HC-3 MC-3 33.5 Buck Hollow Trail. Stream. One way. 3.1 45 3 2:40
HC-4 MC-3 33.5 Hazel Mountain Trail, falls, "cave"Round trip. 5.3 1070 4 4:45
HC-5 MC-3 33.5 Marys Rock via Meadow Spring Trail. Views. Round trip. 2.9 830 3 2:55
HC-6 MC-3 35.1 Hannah Run. Mountaineer cabins (ruins). Stream. One way. 5.7 315 4 4:25
HC-7 MC-3 35.1 Hannah Run, Hot-Short, Catlett Mountain. Mountaineer cabins (ruins). Stream. Circuit. 9.1 2755 7 8:50
HC-8 MC-3 36.4 Jewel Hollow Overlook to The Pinnacle. Views. Round trip. 2.1 460 2 1:55
HC-9 MC-3 36.4 Jewel Hollow Overlook to Panorama via The Pinnacle and Marys Rock. Views. One way. 5.3 805 4 4:30
HC-10 MC-3 37.9 Corbin Cabin. Mountaineer cabins, cemetery. Round trip. 2.9 1095 3 3:10
HC-11 MC-3 37.9 Corbin Cabin. AT Mountaineer cabins, cemetery. Circuit. 4.3 1350 4 4:20
HC-12 MC-3 38.4 Nicholson Hollow. Mountaineer cabins (ruins). Stream, cascades, pools. One way. 5.8 130 4 4:20
HC-13 MC-5 39.1 Little Stony Man. Views. Geology. Round trip. 0.9 270 2 1:00
HC-14(P) MC-4   Weakley Hollow to Old Rag. Rock scramble. Views. Circuit. 7.2 2380 6 7:30
HC15(P) MC-4   Berry Hollow to Old Rag. Views. Round trip. 5.4 1760 4 5:20
HC-16 MC-5 41.7 Stony Man Nature Trail. Self-guiding. Views. Circuit. 1.6 340 2 1:40
HC-17 MC-5 41.7 Passamaquoddy Trail. Views. Circuit. 3.5 770 3 3:10
HC-18 MC-5 42.5 Millers Head. Views. Round trip. 1.6 450 2 1:35
HC-19 MC-6 42.6 White Oak Canyon. Spectacular gorge, stream, waterfall. Round trip. 4.6 1040 4 4:15
HC-20 MC-5 43.0 Limberlost Trail. Circuit. 1.3 130 1 0:55
HC-21 MC-6 44.4 Limberlost via Crescent Rock Trail Semi-Circuit. 3.3 495 3 2:40
HC-22 MC-6 44.4 Limberlost via AT; return via Crescent Rock Trail. Circuit. 4.6 780 4 3:45
HC-23 MC-6 45.6 Cedar Run Falls. Round trip. 3.5 1555 4 4:00
HC-24 MC-6 45.6 Cedar Run, White Oak Canyon. Two rugged canyons, nine waterfalls. Circuit. 7.3 2495 6 7:30
HC-25 MC-7 45.6 Hawksbill summit via Lower Hawksbill Trail. Round trip 1.7 690 3 2:00
HC-26 MC-7 45.6 Hawksbill summit via AT Views. Circuit. 2.9 860 3 2:50
HC-27 MC-7 46.7 Hawksbill Summit. Views. Round trip. 2.1 520 3 2:00
HC-28 MC-7 46.7 Rose River Falls, AT, Hawksbill summit. Homesite, stream, falls, views. Circuit. 9.7 2465 7 8:45
HC-29 MC-8 49.4 AT below Fishers Gap Overlook. Circuit. 0.3 30 1 :20
HC-30 MC-8 49.4 Fishers Gap to Rose River Falls. Round trip. 2.7 720 3 2:35
HC-31 MC-8 49.4 Rose River Falls, Dark Hollow and return via Hogcamp Branch. Circuit. 4.0 910 4 3:45
HC-32 MC-8 49.4 Fishers Gap to Davids Spring. Homesite. Round trip. 1.8 470 2 1:40
HC-33 MC-8 50.7 Dark Hollow Falls. Round trip. 1.4 440 2 1:25
HC-34 MC-8 51.0 Big Meadows. Stroll through the meadow. Wildflowers. 0.2
to
5.0
20
to
100
1
to
3
0:10
to
4:30
HC-35 MC-8 51.2 Big Meadows Lodge to Blackrock. Views. Round trip. 0.4 60 1 0:25
HC-36 MC-8 51.0 Story of the Forest Nature Trail. Self-guiding. Circuit. 1.8 290 2 1:30
HC-37 MC-8 51.2 Big Meadows Amphitheater to Lewis Falls. Views. Circuit. 3.3 990 3 3:10
HC-38 MC-8 51.4 Lewis Falls. View. Round trip. 2.5 795 3 2:25
HC-39 MC-9 52.8 Rapidan Camp via Mill Prong Trail. Historic site. Stream, cascades. Round trip. 4.1 870 4 3:50
HC-40 MC-9 52.8 Rapidan Camp, Laurel Prong, Hazeltop. Stream, cascades, historic site. Circuit. 7.4 1520 5 6:30
HC-41 MC-10 56.4 Bearfence Summit. Rock scramble, geology, views. Round trip. 0.8 275 3 1:05
HC-42 MC-10 56.4 Bearfence Summit. Circuit. 1.2 380 3 1:45
HC-43 MC-11 59.5 Upper Pocosin Mission (ruins). Round trip. 1.9 425 2 1:55
HC-44 MC-11 59.5 Pocosin Mission, South River, AT, ruins, cemetery, falls. Circuit. 8.5 1830 6 7:30
HC-45 MC-11 62.8 South River Falls. Round trip. 2.6 850 3 2:25
HC-46 MC-11 62.8 South River Falls via fire road and AT. Circuit. 3.3 910 3 3:05
HC-47 MC-11 62.8 Base of South River Falls, returning by fire road and AT Semi-circuit. 4.7 1,315 4 5:00
HC-48 MC-11 62.8 South River Trail Maintenance Building. Round trip. 1.7 225 2 1:30

 

Hikes in the South District
Hike
Number
Map
Num.
Start,
mile
Description Dist.
miles
Climb
feet
Diffi-
culty
Time
HS-1 MS-1 66.7 Hightop summit. Views. Round trip. 3.0 935 3 2:55
HS-2 MS-1 68.6 Hightop summit. Views. Round trip. 3.7 950 4 3:25
HS-3 MS-2 76.2 Rocky Mount Summit. Views. Round trip. 6.9 2065 5 6:40
HS-4 MS-6 76.9 Rocky Mountain saddle. Views. Round trip. 3.9 1140 4 3:40
HS-5 MS-6 76.9 Big Run Portal via Brown Mountain. Views. Stream. Circuit. 9.9 2465 7 9:05
HS-6 MS-3 77.5 Ivy Creek Overlook to Ivy Creek. Round trip. 2.8 695 2 2:30
HS-7 MS-3 77.5 Ivy Creek Overlook to Loft Mountain summit. Stream, views. Round trip. 6.4 1455 5 5:30
HS-8 MS-4 79.5 Frazier Discovery Trail Trail. Self-guiding. Circuit. 1.4 455 2 1:35
HS-9 MS-4 79.5 Loft Mountain Wayside: Loft Mountain summit via AT Views. Circuit. 2.7 570 3 2:25
HS-10 MS-4 79.5 Loft Mountain Summit from the Campstore. Views. Round trip. 3.5 515 3 2:50
HS-11 MS-4 79.5 Loft Mountain Amphitheater; Big Flat Mountain Hike. Views. Circuit. 1.8 265 2 1:15
HS-12 MS-4 79.5 Loft Mountain Amphitheater to viewpoint on AT Views. Round trip. 1.5 260 1 1:15
HS-13 MS-5 81.1 Doyles River upper falls. Round trip. 2.7 850 3 2:45
HS-14 MS-5 81.1 Doyles River and Jones Run Trails. Three waterfalls. One way. 4.8 1410 4 4:35
HS-15 MS-5 81.1 Doyles River, Jones Run and AT Three waterfalls. Circuit. 7.8 1825 5 7:00
HS-16 MS-6 81.2 Head of Big Run. Round trip. 4.4 1250 4 4:00
HS-17 MS-6 81.2 Big Run Loop Trail. AT Circuit. 5.8 1365 4 5:00
HS-18 MS-5 83.0 Browns Gap: Doyles River, upper falls, AT Circuit. 5.3 1000 4 4:30
HS-19 MS-5 83.0 Browns Gap: fire road, Doyles River Trail, AT Three waterfalls. Circuit. 6.5 1400 5 6:45
HS-20 MS-6 83.0 Browns Gap, Rockytop, Big Run Portal. Views. Circuit. 14.6 2900 8 12:20
HS-21 MS-5 84.1 Jones Run Falls. Round trip. 3.6 915 3 3:15
HS-22 MS-7 84.8 Blackrock summit. Views. Round trip. 1.0 175 1 1:10
HS-23 MS-7 87.4 Blackrock Springs. Historic site. Round trip. 2.2 425 2 2:10
HS-24 MS-8 90.0 Chimney Rock. Views. Round trip. 3.4 830 3 3:10
HS-25 MS-8 90.0 Chimney Rock, Riprap Hollow, Wildcat Ridge. Views, stream, cascades, pool. One way. 7.1 2000 6 6:45
HS-26 MS-8 90.0 Chimney Rock, Riprap Hollow, Wildcat Ridge, AT Views, stream, cascades, pool. Circuit. 9.8 2365 7 8:50
HS-27 MS-8 92.1 Wildcat Ridge, Riprap Hollow. Stream, cascades, pool, Round trip. 6.8 1670 5 6:15
HS-28 MS-9 94.1 Turk Mountain Summit. Round trip. 2.2 690 3 2:15
HS-29 MS-10 96.8 Jarman Gap. Circuit. 0.5 135 1 0:25
HS-30 MS-10 96.8 Jarman Gap to Beagle Gap. Views. Open pasture. One way. 2.7 825 3 2:25
HS-31 MS-10 99.5 Beagle Gap to Calf Mountain summit. Views. Open pasture. Round trip. 2.1 495 2 1:45
HS-32 MS-11 99.5 Beagle Gap to Bear Den Mountain summit. Views. Open pasture. Round trip. 1.2 355 1 1:05
   
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