The following is a list of trails for those who are interested in hiking during their stay; this information below is very basic and not intended as more than an overview. Please contact the appropriate park for more complete information on any of these trails, plus dozens of others, as well as to confirm admission prices for your particular circumstances.
Shenanadoah National Park: (540) 999-3500
Andy Guest Shenandoah River State Park: (540) 622-6840
Note: Some park trails may be accessible from locations outside the park, and are therefore “free” to hike. Use these locations at your own risk, as you may be trespassing on private property.
Possum’s Rest—considered a moderate trail—is a 1.4-mile out-and-back trail near Chester Gap, VA. This is a trail with some uphill climbs. When you reach the Possum’s Rest overlook, just turn around and come back the same way. Expect to be on the trail for sixty to ninety minutes.
To get there from Front Royal, drive south about 4.3 miles on U.S. route 522 (Commerce Avenue, in town) to signs for Chester Gap. Turn right onto route 665, then immediately right again onto route 610/Chester Gap Road. Follow to the end at Chester Gap parking lot.
Thompson Hollow—considered a moderate trail—is a 5.8-mile trail that will take you to Overall Falls. As a standalone trail it’s extremely short (roughly half a mile), but it connects with the Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail to get you to the falls, so there is some overlap with that adds to its length.
To get there from Front Royal, drive south on US route 340 9.5 miles to Bentonville. Immediately beyond the local post office is Bentonville Rd./route 613 (left turn). Follow route 613 to Thompson Hollow Rd./route 630 (right turn). Follow Thompson Rd. to the designated parking area (it’s far back, so stick with it!), and then follow the markers on foot approximately 200 yards to the trailhead. Please do not drive beyond the park signage or leave the marked trail, as you will be trespassing on private property.
Shenandoah National Park:
Phone: (540) 999-3500
Admission Fee: $10–$20 depending on vehicle (consider planning around the park’s fee-free holidays!); pass is valid for day of purchase and the next six days
Note: Many trails may be accessible from locations outside the park, and are therefore “free” to hike. Use these locations at your own risk, as you may be trespassing on private property.
Old Rag Mountain Trail—considered a difficult trail—is a nine-mile, heavily visited loop trail near Syria, VA, that includes a river feature. It offers a number of activities and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
This hike is considered to be the best in Shenandoah National Park. It’s a relatively difficult climb; when you make it about three-quarters of the way, there’s some rock scrambling that slows your pace further. There are a number of switchbacks, so you won’t have to go straight up, but the trail is still steep. The descent, longer than the ascent, is much more gradual and ends on a fire trail (use the Saddle Trail, which ends on the Weakly Hollow Fire Road).
There are two or three places where you can expect exposure, so leave your vertigo behind. This summit and its ascent trail don’t offer 360-degree views, but there are beautiful vistas along the way. Parking is ample, but be aware that the trail is very popular and plan accordingly; holidays and weekends are likely to have a greater quantity of visitors.
Take US 522 to SR 231, which is 0.8 mi south of Sperryville, VA, and 12.7 mil north of Madison, VA. Go south 8.3 mi on SR 231, cross Hughes River, and immediately turn right (west) onto SR 602. Stay on left side of Hughes River. Route number changes to 601, 707, and then 600.
Beecher Ridge and Overall Run Trail—considered a difficult trail—is a 10.1-mile moderately trafficked loop trail near Rileyville, VA, with a lake feature. Dog-friendly and accessible from March until November, the trail offers a number of activities.
When you leave the parking lot, turn right at the first trail marker post and follow it to Tuscarora Trail. Turn right. At the next TM post, turn left onto Matthews Arm Trail for a bit to find Beecher Ridge Trail. Beecher Ridge will run into Overall Run Trail. Cross the run and start back up. Above the falls, this trail will join with Tuscarora and you’ll return the same way. It’s possible to reverse the loop, but if you do that keep a closer look out for the waterfalls, which may be behind you by the time they can be seen.
Follow Skyline Drive, in Shenandoah National Park, south from the entrance near Front Royal, VA. Just past mile 21 is a parking lot on the right. The Appalachian Trail passes through this parking area; where it leaves the parking lot to the south is the beginning of our trail.
Bearfence Mountain Trail—considered a moderate trail—is a 1.1-mile lightly trafficked loop trail near Shenandoah, VA, that features beautiful wild flowers. Accessible from April to October, the trail is mainly for hiking and walking.
After parking in the Bearfence Mountain parking lot, cross Skyline Drive and follow the blue blazes of the Bearfence Trail. The trail leads up a steep slope that eventually becomes a scramble climb the rest of the way to the summit of the mountain; blazes mark the best scramble route. The view from the summit is well worth the climb and is one of only three in the park that has a 360-degree view.
The scramble climb makes this trail a unique hike to a great view. Anyone reasonably fit and flexible should be able to handle the scramble climb, but hikers concerned about heights may want to skip this trail; near the summit, the climbing path occasionally passes within eighteen inches or so of sheer drops. This is also definitely not a trail for families with kids small enough that they have to be carried.
Parking is available. The trailhead is about five miles from the Byrd Visitor Center, which has restrooms and information; a camp store with a snack bar is adjacent to the center.
Jeremy's Run Trail—considered an easy trail—is an 11.7-mile heavily trafficked loop trail near Sperryville, VA, with a waterfall feature. Dog-friendly and accessible from March until October, the trail offers a number of activities.
This trail is also accessible from Rileyville, VA. The hike from the bottom provides swimming holes and a small waterfall in the first two miles.
Start at the back of the Elkwallow picnic area loop in Shenandoah National Park. There is parking at the trailhead.
The Knob Mountain Trail is approximately five miles, and the beginning shares trail with the much longer Jeremy’s Run Trail. If getting to the summit of Knob Mountain is your only goal, you can find the trailhead for Knob Mountain at mile post twenty-four of Skyline Drive; this is where the Elkwallow facilities are located. Park in the picnic grounds at the furthest parking area from the drive, as the trail begins here (it’s well marked).
Little Stony Man Loop—considered a moderate trail—is a 3.4-mile moderately trafficked loop trail near Syria, VA, that features wildflowers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and birding. Park in the Little Stony Man parking area of Shenandoah National Park, located at mile 39.1.
Stony Man Trail—considered an easy trail—is a 1.4-mile loop trail located near Luray, VA, that features wildflowers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and birding. Park in the Stony Man parking area of Shenandoah National Park, located at mile 41.7.
Millers Head Trail—considered an easy trail—is a 1.6-mile loop trail near Syria, VA. The trail is primarily used for hiking.
From Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, turn into the Skyland Lodge parking area at milepost 42.5. Pass the stables, veer left, and park in the grassy area at the gravel road on your left. Hike up the paved road a short distance to the trailhead post.
Marys Rock North Trail—considered a moderate trail—is a three-mile, moderately trafficked out-and-back trail near Sperryville, VA, that features wildflowers. Dog-friendly (leash required!) and accessible from March until November, this trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding.
Lands Run Falls Trail is an enjoyable jaunt down an old road leading to views of a pretty waterfall. Lands Run Falls is not especially high, nor can you see the entire falls from the trail. But the setting is lovely, and the trek provides a nice leg stretch. Dogs are allowed.
This is a 1.2-mile out-and-back trail in Shenandoah National Park. It’s considered an easy hike of thirty to sixty minutes.
Andy Guest Shenandoah River State Park:
Phone: (540) 622-6840
Admission Fee: Fees will vary depending on visitor origin and intention. Please check the State Park’s information on admission fees.
Note: Many park trails may be accessible from locations outside the park, and are therefore “free” to hike. Use these locations at your own risk, as you may be trespassing on private property.
Wildcat Ledge Trail—considered a difficult trail—is a 0.2 mile out and back trail located near Bentonville, VA that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking and mountain biking.
Travel 8 miles south of Front Royal on US 340 to the park entrance. Continue straight on the main park road for approximately 2.5 miles. When the road Ts, turn right and follow the road until it dead-ends at the campground parking lot. Wildcat Ledge Trail begins in the eastern corner.
Bear Bottom Loop Trail—considered a difficult trail—is a 5.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bentonville, VA. The trail is only recommended for very experienced adventurers and primarily used for hiking, horses, and mountain biking. Horses are also able to use this trail.
Cottonwood Trail—considered an easy trail—is a 2.3-mile out-and-back trail near Bentonville, VA. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking.