Kennedy Peak Trail is a 8.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Fort Valley, VA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
cross country skiing
Pretty easy and relatively short hike with a nice payoff. Kennedy Peak includes an old fire tower that includes a 360 view of the entire area. Follow the orange Massanutten blaze across the parking lot. The trail is mostly level with a steady moderate incline. One you hit the Kennedy Peak / Stephen's Trail split, follow the white blaze on your right. This portion is a bit steeper. Great payoff at the peak.
Yikes-- the beginning of the hike was great, nice wide path and well shaded on a hot day. But there is a VERY important hard left switchback about 2 miles in - just when you're getting close to the tower that is not marked. So we pressed on straight following the trail (clearly others have done this because there is a clear trail for about 1/4 mile). Our mistake was to not turn around and go back, but this turned into quite a treacherous and scary morning. After a hot 2 hour detour we made it back to the trail, with our dog and 6 month old. What was supposed to be an easy family hike turned into a nightmare. While I get we were at fault for not turning around, this and all future instances of this could be avoided by putting an arrow on a tree or a rock or a sign or SOMETHING to let people know to take a hard left. Maybe someday we'll come back to actually make it to the tower but definitely not anytime soon.
Nice quiet hike, not a lot of other people on the trail. Beautiful view from the top!
Great hike, it wasn't crowded which was nice. I saw a black bear on the second part of the hike as the trail began to climb the peak. It was above me on the hillside off the trail. I heard him first walking through woods, then I saw him looking down at me as I came around a bend. I clapped loudly whistled and kept on going walking away from him making much more noise as I went. Luckily the bear did not follow! The 360 view from the top was beautiful. On the way back I didn't have anymore bear encounters.
Great trail. Have done it many times with my father and solo. I have a house in Luray off Page Valley and it is a short drive to the parking area . Plan on sleeping on top of the tower this summer .
Kennedy Peak is a fun, ridge-top, day hike. We did it with our dogs and our active 6-year-old, and he had no problem although he was very tired by the end. We went on the second weekend in October, and the foliage was still mostly green. Would be fantastic in a few weeks. Since it's not on Skyline Drive, it is not crowded, and yet still offers wonderful views of the Shenandoah River and the mountains. The description is inaccurate--this hike is 5 miles, not 4. The first half of the hike is lower on the mountain, and follows a wide path through the woods. The second half is much rockier and the path winds its way around the mountain, connecting to Steven's trail and finally reaching a somewhat rickety fire tower at the top. People who want to cut the trip short can turn around when the path meets Steven's trail, as you get almost the same view at the top.
Great hike with a nice payoff. The peak includes an old fire tower with 360 vies of Luray, Shenandoah and points west.
This can be done as an easy out and back hike. Two miles out. I've done this numerous times as a follow up to moderate or longer hikes.
The trail can also be done in combination with the Stephen's Trail as a loop. After you follow the white blaze back down from the peak, continue straight and follow the Massanutten for about a mile or so. You'll reach trail markers for Stephen's Trail. Veer left and follow the yellow blaze. This portion is mostly down hill. This is a moderate, gradual decline. You'll reach the parking for the trail at the bottom. Closer to the entrance, veer left and you'll catch the orange blaze for the Massanutten back up to the US675 lot.
I did the loop this time and took a break at the fire tower for lunch. I actually did the loop clockwise.
There weren't too many folks on the trail. I passed a few trail runners on the way up Stephen's Trail. There were a few folks at the tower. But other than that, I had the trail to myself.