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Hike the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,181-mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains.101 miles of the A.T. winds it's way through Shenandoah National Park, many trailheads are easily accessed from Skyline Drive.Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park

Thru hiking or section hiking? The A.T. is open to walkers, hikers, and backpackers.  It is closed to motor vehicles and bicycles.  It is closed to horses, except in certain limited sections where they are expressly allowed. Section hikers are encouraged to plan hiking in mid-July through mid-May (not in or near June) due to busy "thru-hiker season".

Getting to the Appalachian Trail by Car:

Below are Trails accessed from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. We encourage you to get a map of the Trail. More detailed information, including maps and trail guidebooks, is available from Appalachian Trail Conservancy at (304) 535-6331 or contact our local resource, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) for trip planning assistance.

Appalachian Trails from Skyline Drive

Hike Name

Compton Gap to Compton Peak* in Shenandoah National Park

Closest Town Front Royal
Difficulty Level** Moderate
Distance 2.4 miles round trip
Features Good views, basalt formation, Compton's Peak

The parking area at Compton Gap is located south of Front Royal, at Skyline Drive Mile-post 10.4


Hike Name

Mary's Rock* in Shenandoah National Park

Closest Town Luray
Difficulty Level** Moderate
Distance 4 miles round trip
Features Panoramic views, wildflowers in most seasons, 360-degree view
Directions The trailhead is located next to Panorama in Thornton Gap, at the intersection of US 211 and Skyline Drive (9 miles east of Luray). 

Hike Name

Hawksbill Loop*in Shenandoah National Park

Closest Town Luray
Difficulty Level** Moderate
Distance 2.7 miles round trip
Features Highest mountain in Shenandoah National Park, views
Directions The hike begins from the Hawksbill Gap Parking Area at Skyline Drive milepost 45.6.  This is about 15 miles south of US 211 in Thornton Gap.

Hike Name

Lewis Spring Falls* Shenandoah National Park

Closest Town Harrisonburg/Shenandoah
Difficulty Level** Moderate
Distance 3.3 miles round trip
Features Views, waterfalls, cliffs at Blackrock
Directions Start from Big Meadows Lodge amphitheater parking, near Skyline Drive milepost 51.

Hike Name


Closest Town Harrisonburg, VA
Difficulty Level** Moderate
Distance 2 miles round trip
Features outstanding views from Blackrock
Directions The Jones Run Parking Area is a Skyline Drive milepost 83.8

Hike Name

Bear Den Mountain*in Shenandoah National Park

Closest Town Waynesboro, VA
Difficulty Level** Easy to Moderate
Distance 2.2 miles round trip
Features Panoramic views, hawks during the annual fall migration
Directions There is a small dirt parking lot in Beagle Gap at Skyline Drive milepost 99.3


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did you know?

Benton McKaye, the “father of the Appalachian Trail,” was also instrumental in passage of the Wilderness Act. Shenandoah National Park carries on Benton McKaye’s legacy with 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail and almost 80,000 acres of designated wilderness.


These last dog days of summer are the perfect time to leave the the sand-and-surf set behind and head for the hills. Plan your getaway now.