Explore DC Hike Candidates - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

DC Hike Candidates Map

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.

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.

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

24 days ago

A difficult trail due to the rocky terrain. However, the views of the valley offer a great reward. One of my local favs.

Very rocky trail... great workout.

Great hike.... amazing view.

very rocky, but worth the hike to the top. Great views, have done this hike 5 times and still look forward to doing it again.

Great trail with an incredible view at the end. Very rocky, would recommend boots with ankle support and a hiking stick. Plus walking across state lines.

Great hike. And nice views of the valley below.

I have to say im torn about this hike. Its something everyone should do.. Just something missing about it. The views are very nice at the top but not the greatest. If you are looking for a local hike this is very good. But I would not recommend more than an hour drive for this hike. Parking is very limited. I would not have rated this hike as hard, but more moderate, however it can be more dangerous than hard due to rocks.

We left Pen Mar Park and it was chilly. We reached the Raven Rock Shelter in a couple hours and settled in for the night. Awoke to 5 degrees yet slept well in shelter. Great job on the shelter; well built and welcoming.

Great trail, the amount of rocks make it hard to see all the views but the one at the end is more than worth it.

3 months ago

Great trail with good elevation change. The late fall views are amazing. Make sure to have enough water and sturdy footwear.

trail running
3 months ago

As always this trail rocks , bring your poles and get some ! Lots of dry leaves to make the rocks that much more fun . Love the view it’s kind of my happy place . Appears to have expanded the parking area by 1-2 cars ha .

Absolutely magnificent view from the top. One if the best overlooks in the area.

Moderate hike, great views - very well maintained & well marked Trail!

rocky but not terrible. nice view, camped .5 before heading up to raven rocks

This is a well maintained trail with rolling ridges and a beautiful reward at the overlook. It should be noted that we clocked this hike in as 6.9 mikes, not 5.

The view was unbelievable! Simply breath taking, the hike however is very rocky, almost 90% of the trail was navigating rocks, and it was a 6 mike hike (3 there, 3 back), not five. My medium poodle had no trouble with the rocks or steep inclines. View made the trek worth it, not sure I would do again.

Totally agree with many of the recent reviews— the hike is moderate with a few steep areas that present a few challenges. It’s enjoyable and the view at the top is certainly worth it and the trail itself is just gorgeous. We saw lots of dogs on the hike and they seemed to do just fine even in the rock scramble areas. I love that it’s closer to DC than Shenandoah Nat’l Park or Harper’s Ferry. Fun hike, definitely recommended.

4 months ago

I actually do not hardcore agree with what a lot of people on here are saying regarding this being a "hard" hike. I would say it leans more toward moderate, but certainly a little more difficult given the elevation climb. It's significantly easier than Old Rag and not as rocky as White oak (both rated hard). The most difficult thing about the trail is the elevation climb 1.5 miles in. If you are not somewhat experienced, it will kick your butt. It's also only 2.5 miles in and then 2.5 back out. on the way back out, it is mostly a decline with a couple small hills. Again, I don't think this hike is hard, but it is a little more challenging than a moderate hike. I did this within 2 hours. The view is worth it, even on a rainy morning!

4 months ago

Beautiful trail! Rather rocky though, a bit hard on the knees.

This should be rated hard given the elevation and steepness. Nonetheless, great views if you can take the challenge.

Loved the challenge. It was hard but rewarding. I recommend experienced hikers. It’ll be hard for those who are newbies. My small dogs have hiker harnesses on and had to be lifted on a few occasions. My friend, my Jack Russell terrier & Rat terrier and I had a blast but the ending was harder because your just so exhausted. I’m so glad I did this hike. I’m ready to do the other side. I also recommend high top hiking boots due to so many rocks and obstacles. If you go - good luck and have a blast. It’s worth going.

4 months ago

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