5 Hikes in Shenandoah National Park with the Best Views

An Adventure with Nick & Rachel

5 Hikes in Shenandoah National Park with the Best Views

  1. Bearfence Mountain Trail

bearfence MountainNick & Rachel

There are two routes for Bearfence Mountain. One contains a rock scramble with 360 degree views and the other takes you to the viewpoint without the rock scramble. Both trails start at the parking lot. The Rock Scramble hike is 1.4 miles roundtrip. The Viewpoint hike is 1.1 miles roundtrip. There will be a fork shortly into the trail. Continue straight for the rock scramble or go right for the viewpoint.

The Rock Scramble starts off pretty easy but then you are immediately thrown into climbing over and through boulders. There really is no warm-up. And just as quickly as the rock scramble begins once you’re off that last boulder it becomes a pretty easy, flat hike again. This trail is rated as moderate but I would say the rock scramble portion is difficult. If you have a fear of heights, this one is not for you. And if it’s wet or icy, it’s not safe! There are some tight squeezes and jagged rocks. Follow the blue blazes through the rocks. This trail does offer some amazing, 360-degree views though.

The Viewpoint hike is rated as easy. You get a nice hike through the forest and to a small viewpoint where only about 5 or so people can be at a time. The views from the viewpoint are beautiful. This hike is great for those of all skill levels.

Both trails do take a small portion of the Appalachian Trail. We turned it into a loop by taking the Rock Scramble trail up and the Viewpoint trail back. Pets are not allowed on these trails.

2. Stony Man

Stony manNick & Rachel

Stony Man is a short and pleasant hike and has some of the best views in the Shenandoah National Park. Stony Man is the second highest peak in the park at 4,040 feet. The hike is 1.5 miles round trip and takes a portion of the Appalachian Trail. It is rated as easy and is a great hike for all skill levels. The trail stays relatively flat. There are a few overlooks when you reach the end of the trail. However, the main overlook has the most amazing views. They are almost 360-degree views. This is a very popular hike due to the shortness and ease of the hike with spectacular views so make sure you plan your trip accordingly. It’s best to get here early. Pets are not allowed on this trail.

3. Little Stony Man

little Stony manNick & Rachel

There are multiple ways to reach Little Stony Man. It all depends on your time and energy commitment.

The easiest trail can be found right after mile 40 on Skyline Drive. The entire out and back trail is only .9 miles, so it's the perfect hike to take in the sunset after a long day, take a break from driving, or just pick a hike that is family and dog friendly since Stony Man, a little up the road, does not allow dogs. From the parking lot, just follow the signs to the Little Stony Man summit, bearing left at the first trail sign. In less than .5 miles, you will reach the rocky outcrop of Little Stony Man.

To extend your hike take the Little Stony Man Loop. It is 3.3 miles and is rated as moderate. You get multiple beautiful overlooks along this trail as well.

From both of these trails, you can continue on to Stony Man. As you continue along, you’ll reach the intersection with the Passamaquoddy Trail, which descends into the valley. Stay to your left to keep on the Appalachian Trail which will take you to Stony Man. The unobstructed views from Little Stony Man are incredible.

4. Hawksbill

HawksbillNick & Rachel

This is the highest peak in the Shenandoah National Park at 4,049 feet and offers some of the most amazing views. There are several routes to reach the summit.

Hawksbill Loop Trail is a 2.9-mile circuit with 860 feet in elevation gain. From the north end of the Hawksbill Gap, parking area take the short connector trail to the Appalachian Trail. At the trail post, turn left onto the A.T. south. You will continue on the A.T. to the trail postmarking Salamander Trail. Follow the blue-blazes on the Salamander Trail. At the next trail junction, turn left onto the Upper Hawksbill Trail and this will lead you to the summit. To return to the parking area be sure to take the blue-blazed Lower (NOT the Upper) Hawksbill Trail.

Upper Hawksbill Trail is 2.1 miles roundtrip and you get 520 feet in elevation gain. This is the easiest but not the shortest.

Hawksbill Summit Summit Hike is 1.7 miles roundtrip, is rated as moderate, and you get 690 feet in elevation gain. This is the route we took and although it is the shortest it is definitely the steepest and rockiest. It is a workout but the payoff at the top is worth it. The views are stunning.

5. Mary’s Rock

Mary's RockNick & Rachel

There are actually two trails that lead hikers to the top of Mary’s Rock. One approaches the summit from the north, the other comes up from the south.

The northern approach is a little longer at 3.7 miles out and back. It begins and ends at the Panorama parking area at milepost 31.6 on Skyline Drive.

The southern approach is the shorter of the two at 2.7 miles out and back. It begins at 33.5 of the Skyline Drive from the Meadow Springs parking are You will begin by taking Meadow Spring Trail. It is a mostly rock and dirt trail. Along this trail, you get to see what remains of a former home once lived in by one of more than 450 families that lived within the boundaries of the national park in the 1930s and 1940s. You’ll continue onto the Appalachian Trail to reach the summit. Just before the final steps to the summit, the trail connects with the northern approach trail, guiding hikers coming from both directions along a spur trail to Mary’s Rock. You’ll retrace your steps back to the parking area. Just remember that after .1 mile the spur trail ends and you’ll need to continue right to go southbound on the Appalachian Trail. The path to the left leads you to the parking lot for the alternate trail to Mary’s Rock.

The southern approach is the route we took. It is a beautiful hike with expansive, panoramic views of Shenandoah National Park and the valley below. This is a popular hike and the viewpoint can get crowded so make sure to arrive early.

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Hi! We are Nick and Rachel and together we found our passion for the outdoors. Since starting our channel we found that we enjoy inspiring others to explore and get out in nature while protecting and respecting its natural beauty. With our videos, we hope to immerse you in the adventures we take. Whether it's cooking a meal over a campfire or hiking to a mountain peak and overlooking the beautiful Blueridge Mountains and beyond. We look forward to seeing you on our next adventure! Please like, share, and subscribe. Thank You! If you like this type of content please check out our YouTube Channel: An Adventure With Nick And Rachel The Link Below will take you to all of our social media accounts.

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