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I often prefer hikes with more views, but the gorge rock scramble makes this hike worth it. You are along the creek/river on the way up and it makes the climb a blast. Doing the entire loop makes it closer to 8 or 9 miles. The fire road on the way down is a bit boring, but in the summer when there is a lot of green, early on the fire road is the single best location for a view over the valley, plus the fire road leads to a great old cemetery that adds historical context. Parking was not too bad, even showing up around 0900 midsummer. Strongly recommend doing the route counterclockwise.

Pretty easy hike, but a nice view and payoff. The earlier in the day you go the better since the view is westerly facing and afternoon sun will limit the quality of your photos.

I have done this three times, each of the last three years, it is always best in the fall, but doing it in December means less crowds. The loop is a better way to do it, although the distance is closer to 11 miles that way. Going straight up and down means fighting the crowds coming up through the scramble, which is not fun for either direction. If you are doing it in the summer or fall, I strongly recommend avoiding the weekends or starting early. Arriving around 0800 will leave you waiting in lines on the weekend that can stretch for an hour or more at the start of the scramble. This hike is a lot of fun and a real sense of community develops along the way. Not good for pets at the scramble. Make sure to pack a lunch and enjoy the view at the top.

1 day ago

Good hike, went clockwise, meaning the best views were in the first third of the hike. You can add a couple miles by going a little farther up to Skyline Drive. The "waterfall" was a bit disappointing but the overall hike was great. I saw a mama bear and two cubs along the trail which made the hike extra interesting. Only one really good view along the hike but was worth the hike. The climb is very smooth and not too taxing.

Not very impressed with this hike. For starters, it was VERY crowded on the trail. That’s never particularly fun and takes away from the outdoor experience. Second there wasn’t much to see on the almost 3 mile hike there (and back for that matter) and thirdly, I wasn’t wowed by the viewpoint. There are many better views if your willing to drive an extra 30 minutes. All in all, I doubt i will return.

The trail head is actually really easy to find, and you park in a gravel lot right next to the trailhead. Don't go through the housing development...walk towards the trailhead. It is the CCT (Gerry Connolly Cross Country Trail) that starts from the parking lot.
This trail has a diverse set of terrain to cover and a good mix of flat and climbs. 2 river crossings (big boulders and pillons to walk on while crossing). Gets pretty busy near the Great Falls Area--pretty empty on the stick part of the lollipop loop.

Starting at the trailhead, go right— this path will put you on the AT and it is a much smoother climb to the summit. If you loop it this way, it’s just short of 3 miles around.

Summit has great views around the valley. A little crowded on the weekend but not too terrible.

Well worth the hike. Will do it again when the weather is warmer.

Amazing hike. The rock scramble is tough but great fun.

Started from the Carderock Recreation Area, combined Billy Goat Trail A, B, and C with the Overlook Trail, made a nice 10 mike hike. Carderock has a lot more parking spaces than Anglers.

just beautiful...watch your ankles...but.just beautiful

SPECTACULAR trail. Fun, challenging (but not too much) and good to warm you up in the winter. Beautiful views, good climbing, and so much fun. A must do!

8 days ago

Got the the trailhead in the early afternoon on a Monday to find I was the only one in the parking lot. Didn't meet another hiker going out or back. First mile or so is pretty tame going through open forest. After that it begins to get a bit steeper. Once you reach the ridge the views are amazing the rest of the way. Particularly the views at Buzzard Rock. Truly spectacular for this area. At this point you can turn around if you'd like. You will find views of the surrounding mountains but none better than you've already seen, only ups, downs, and about 4 more miles round trip. I pushed on just to get the distance in. All in all it's a great hike with some solid views. Trail is a bit rocky so I couldn't push the pace as much as I liked. Took about two and a half hours total. I'd recommend shoes with ankle support. I recorded the hike and it was a cool way to keep track of your time, pace, and elevation but it drained my battery terribly so I doubt I'll use the feature again.

Some clarification on this hike, which might be helpful. From the small (get there early) parking lot on Pine Grove Road (immediately to the right off of Harry Byrd Memorial Highway), it is 2.5 miles to the most significant overlook, a perfect destination, nice place to take in the view and a snack, and a logical turnaround point for a decent out and back day hike. As tracked here on AllTrails, the Raven Rocks map brings you further along the AT to mile 2.7, and then veers south on an unmarked trail that delivers you at mile 2.9 to a cellular tower and access road (the actual Raven Rocks are to the north, but off trail and not visible from the AT). The tower is not a great destination, and frankly detracts from the hike. It would be much better to turnaround at the 2.5 mile overlook. The overall hike is not really "hard;" moderate plus would be a more apt description to account for the elevation gain, multiple ridges, and rocky trail. "Rocky" is relative, though. New Englanders and thru hikers will tell you that this is nothing compared to the White Mountains in New Hampshire! Plus, what rocks there are here certainly help to counter erosion. Enjoy! This is a nice trail that gets your heart pumping, and the views are nice rewards.

We did this hike during the winter, and we loved it! The rock scramble on the way up was super fun. We ended up taking the Pole Ridge Trail to Piney Branch to Hull School back down to the fire road. In all, it was about 9.5 miles. Took us 4 hours total, and the only part that required some athleticism was the rock scramble at the beginning! Nice little day trip.

So fun! The scrambling is challenging but fun. Gorgeous in the fall.

Would love to go back during sunset or sunrise. Great views and quiet this time of year.

A really short hike with great views and a cool scramble.

10 days ago

Probably more moderate, in reality, but there are some pretty draw-out climbs that can be tough on the quads. North Ridge links with a few other sections (including the AT) in Sky Meadow State Park, and has some really great views of the surrounding area. Trail is pretty well maintained and wasn't all too busy (even in the middle of the day), though there are some sections covered in fallen trees/branches from recent windstorms in the area. Overall a fun day hike!

Another great day hike. Took my gf and her son out for the day and had a blast. Heavily trafficked, but you’re still able to find your own space

hard hike, trail is mostly rocks. worth every step.

Great views on the initial ascent up the mountain. It’s was pretty muddy considering all the recent rain but the higher I got, the dryer the trail. After a stream crossing, and another long climb, the North Ridge meets up with the AT. Here the trail turns into open pastures and more great views.

Gorgeous view of the Shenandoah Valley!!! We did it carrying a 25lbs backpack on a 30 degree weather and made it all the way to the “v” point and had a little picnic right on the top with a 360 degree view. Ready for our next trail adventure!

Went on a gorgeous early March day. Saw tons of birds and the river/canal/falls were all beautiful. Unfortunately section A was closed due to flooding, and sections B and C were fun but pretty easy. All in all a nice day!

Strenuous going up the gorge but definitely worth it. Great view of mountains at top when no foliage. Stop by family cemetery on fire road about a mile from parking lot to learn a little history. And get there early- parking is very limited.

Great hike. Good difficulty level going up, with interesting rock scramble. Nice walk down the trail to cool down and relax

Lots of rocks on the trail, lots of debris and very little pay off.

We opted to check out Elizabeth Furnace since we had a nice break in the weather. We’d heard good things about the park so figured we’d give it a go but ultimately didn’t care for the trail we did. There are some pretty cool features and it was great to be outside but the trail ends in an intersection of other trails and doesn’t offer much else. If we ever do this one again it will be to link up with the Buzzard Rocks trail.

Side note: as someone previously mentioned, the trailhead is hidden away. It is directly to the RIGHT of the covered table area. Follow the light blue blazes.

One of my favorite hikes to do!! Challenging in a good way!

Great hike!

Great hike.... amazing view.

This was the most fun trail I’ve done. Getting ready to do again soon. Challenging? Yes. Doable? Most definitely. Just do your due diligence and wear gloves with some traction to help get you up some rocks as many areas are slippery due to the amount of traffic it gets. Also, eat and drink what your body needs before, during and after or else you can cramp up, etc.
Stop and enjoy the scenery. I prefer to start early to avoid most of the crowd.

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