dogs on leash
off road driving
cross country skiing
Pros: Great looking scenery, truly feel deep in the woods on this one. No noises from outside world. 95% of trail is pine needles for roadbed. I mountain biked the trail. This was a fun trail overall. Marked well.
Cons: I felt it was marked well, but very confusing. If I didnt have my map from alltrails I would have been lost for sure. Trail is supposed to be a bhike trail, however the section (2miles) from courthouse rd to Courthouse rd gets progressively worse to the point that it was not passable biking. I had to walk the bike from White Oak Rd to Courthouse Rd.
This is a rocky trail and challenging. I recommend using poles or stick in case of loose rocks. You are rewarded with a great view back into Virginia. Parking at the trail-head is limited, but there is another parking area on the southern portion of Blue Ridge Mountain Road close to Bear's Den Park.
This hike is great. Swimming holes, waterfalls, a great view, and a cabin. When including the spur to the cabin, the hike becomes 8.1 miles with a 2130 foot gain. It was recommended that I go to the overlook first and follow it up with the cabin, and I'm glad I followed that suggestion. The falls are not quite as magical as White Oak Falls, but the view is 10x better and the solitude can't be beat.
I went on a Friday. There were a few field trips there, but I was able to squeeze my vehicle into the lot. I climbed up the White Oak Falls Trail, turned left onto the White Oak Fire Trail, then turned left again onto the Cedar Run Trail which took me back down to the parking area. It was a 7.6 miles journey with a 2263 ft climb, and worth every step once I passed the all of the people at the lower falls. Get there early or go on a weekday if you intend to park for free.
DO NOT GO UNLESS YOU HAVE 4WD because me and my friend tried to it was beautiful (the pictures anyways) and we were so excited but her car would not have made it a quarter of a mile BEFORE the trail head some cars were parked along the road but before the trail head is a no parking zone so we did not get to see the Devils bathtub
For a really local hike, its great! The Holmes Run part is very average. Paved bike path, views of the stream but somewhat dirty. Passing under 395 is a little creepy as some folks were hanging around the long underpass during the day when i went. Once you hit the Dora Kelly Nature Preserve, it is decidedly moderate! If you stay on the hiking trail there is quite a bit of hill climbing and some switchbacks. The trail pops out of the forest and then joins back up with the bike trail that climbs even more. It's quite lovely. Made the slightly icky Holmes run section very worth it!
Absolutely beautiful! After I parked, I started my walk to the trail. I saw quite a few "no trespassing" signs on either side of the road, which made me nervous, but I continued on straight and I found the trail. The trail is public, and marked with blue lines on the trees so you know you're still on the right track.
There was 1 other person on the trail by the "pools". After chatting with her, I found out she lives there. She was impressed I found it, but the directions were spot on!
The Castle Gorge Trail/Loop was excellent!:)…10.8 miles……..I parked at the Gorge and went counter-clockwise, going up the steep accent first while my legs where fresh and that’s the best way to do it as most of the second half of the trail was going down. I took my time and stopped to eat and enjoy, it took me 9H15M, very nice and beautiful…….I will return and do it again and take even longer to enjoy the endless streams and water-falls. I did see bear poop, so beware and keep your eyes open.
Hiked this today and it was cloudy and cool! Great hike, though it is a bit rocky! I had never hiked before and this was definitely a good start! Would recommend following the trail marks from Shenandoah, this park map isn't accurate. Also parking was a little confusing, it is in front of a chained-off private property. Overall loved it, definitely will go back.