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

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Hiked yesterday as cold front was whipping in. Snow on the fire road was about 3” deep and it made it a little sluggish after the climb. Ascent was beautiful but trickier than my many others due to ice. Glad I had my hiking poles. Note to newcomers —park straight in, aligned with road. Lately a lot of early arrivals parking perpendicular to entrance taking up two spots. It fills up quick and road in does not accommodate more than 5 cars

Love this trail! Have done both ascend and descend. Prefer the ascend. Trail is covered in snow (roughly 12”) but pretty packed down along the traveled trail.

Had an amazing time hiking Old Rag. Did it with a group and the trip up and down totaled about 9 hours. Steady incline throughout until the last mile or so and you really being rock climbing. It was quite exhilarating sliding between boulders to get to the next part of the trail. The views at the top were like no other. I love Old Rag and look forward to going back soon!

Very Strenuous to the average person like myself (29 years old not in the best shape I could be), but it was worth it! The waterfalls on the incline and decline were all incredible.

Pretty intense in the snow

This is an interesting trail with impressive views at the top. Camping is not allowed once you reach a certain elevation (closer to the top, and signs will be posted.) When you reach the trailhead, taking a left will put you through the most difficult half of the trail. The second half is much easier. It was a very beautiful place at the top of the mountain to see the watch the sunset and sunrise.

hiking
9 days ago

Lovely hike! I found it to be a bit easier than Flat Top, next door. Trail is in good condition (for now; snow storms this weekend will change that), despite the lapse in appropriations due to the government shutdown. I did, however, pick up a lot of litter. Please remember that even biodegradable items like citrus peels are trash on the trail. Check it out: https://lnt.org/about/faq/can-i-leave-biodegradable-waste-eg-apple-core-or-banana-peel-woods-long-i-hide-or-burry-it. If you have the energy, consider bringing a trash bag to pack out trash during the shutdown to minimize our impact on these great resources. Bathrooms are closed now, but the Blue Ridge Parkway approaching Peaks of Otter from the South is still open. The parkway is closed just North of this area. Be sure to check out Buzzard Roost while you're there; just a quick jaunt to your right once you reach the ridge (you might see this rock outcropping to your right on your ascent and think it's Sharp Top). Sharp Top itself has many "false summits," as you approach, but you'll know you're there when you see the building/signs. Excellent, unobstructed views. Highly recommended!

Stats (all including Buzzard Roost)
3.30 miles RT
1438 ft. elevation gain
1:30 hours RT

hiking
12 days ago

Absolutely beautiful hike, one of my favorites because it has an amazing view for me and beautiful waterfalls for my sister. The first half, I thought I was going to die from all the stairs but higher up is less steep. Thanks to all the recent rain and the general humidity around the falls, there were some pretty muddy spots but all were passable. There were a few trees I had to duck around but they weren't bad, I'm assuming they'll be taken care of when the shutdown ends.The bathrooms were closed but everything else is as usual. The fee ($3) is collected in an envelope that the individuals take care of so that is still. It took a little over 2 hours to hike including sitting and enjoying the view for about 10 minutes. Definitely recommend.

hiking
12 days ago

Quite muddy today. Still a few trees down on the trail.

I went to Old Rag twice I love the heights and big boulder and so much fun along the way. I will come back to it.

This is my favorite hike in Virginia (so far). It’s got amazing views and the rock scramble is so much fun! Bring enough water and take your time! The false summits have great views to rest at if you need them.

Heads up - the parking lot and the surrounding ~5 miles have no cell phone service. There is some sparse service at the summit. Try not to lose your car keys or anything

hiking
14 days ago

Long this trail went by myself took me 132 minutes from start to finish with quick pictures! Highly recommended!

hiking
16 days ago

Clean trail, not overpopulated, amazing view!!

One of my all time favorites to hike any time of the year! More than the 8.6 miles listed if you hike from the parking lot and down fire trail back. The rock scramble is awesome and there’s normally people up there if you need assistance or get stuck that will help you! Beautiful view at the top, normally not that crowded. Can have some congestion at certain parts of rock climb depending on how busy the summer/spring/fall days are. (Fee free weekends get packed) Make sure you have tons of water and snacks! Takes about 4-5 hours with frequent stopping depending on how long you stay at the top. You’ll think you’re at the top 3 different times before you actually are!

Beautiful and challenging hike upstream and then easy walk down through very quiet and spooky forrest. Early January late afternoon.

Great hike. Great view. Nice area at the top to do lunch and take it all in before the descent. Highly recommended.

Overcast day, but still an enjoyable hike. Nice view.
The trail is rocky with a few steep climbs. Not a well marked trail. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a trail marking until reaching a junction. Just pull up this app and find your location on the map.

challenging hike but definitely worth it when you get to the top. the views are Great

hiking
18 days ago

Great, fairly easy hike, and the waterfall provides stunning views. Hiked this on 1/1/19, and there are still trees across the trail, according to the locals, caused by a extremely strong windstorm (the trees on the mountain literally snapped in half, and that went on for miles). The roads to the parking lot are clear (coming from Nellysford). Also, due to the government shutdown, the bathrooms at the base are closed, so make sure you go before getting to the parking lot. The $3 parking fee still applies.

This was my third visit to Sharp Top. 61° at the base parking on New year's day. Legs burnnin a third of the way up. Too many stone steps to count but a great workout! The view is wonderful! Unfortunately it was blowin a Gale on the summit decided not to do Buzzards Roost. Definitely do this one!

A great New Years Day hike with my 17 & 15 year old sons. The rock scrambles were no joke! We had a blast. And this map was super helpful in helping us keep track of our progress.

19 days ago

Forever my favorite! It’s a all day affair between driving there and hiking but the hike itself is a challenge but it’s worth it

¡Excelente caminata! Fui el pasado miércoles 26 de diciembre de 2018 con mis padres y hermana de 66, 65 y 37 años respectivamente. Fue nuestra primera experiencia en un trail categoría "Hard". Comenzamos a las 8:00 am y terminamos a las 3:30 pm con más o menos 50 minutos de descanso y a un paso cómodo. Fue retante pero muy variada y divertida, especialmente el "Scramble Rock". Todo el trail está muy bien marcado y mantenido. Hay varios lugares con hermosas vistas. Definitivamente si deseas pasar un grandioso día de "hiking" lo recomiendo.

Delightful hike end of December. The hike is technical, especially toward summit. We did this with 2 active 40somethings, 3 young adults, and a 6 year old. All loved it.

As you climb the mountain you’ll cross over the stream multiple times. If you have waterproof boots I recommend wearing. If not bring a spare pair of dry socks (we needed ours).

The fire road down was lovely, very pretty forest.

Great trail!
Beautiful waterfall
The trail is pretty wet so be prepared for small crossings

Gorgeous trail. Best waterfalls I've seen since moving to VA.

I love this hike! It has thick hardwood forest, rock scrambling, and sheer granite faces. It’s also fun to link this up with White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trail circuit hikes. If you’re in the park this is a true icon!

Awesome in winter. Water was high. Very quiet. Lovely!

This hike will have your quad muscles screaming all the way up and your knee joints begging for mercy on the way down. The ascent was strenuous but the pretty sight of the waterfalls would make you forget the burning in your legs. The descent was more challenging with wet rocks almost everywhere. I fell down, butts first, a few times because my shoes were losing traction. No serious injury though, just bruised bums.

Also I’m not sure what happened to the ‘steel bridge crossing the river’ at the fork in the description but it was not there when I went, which was 2 days before Christmas. The crossing was still possible but take extra caution here since the water level was close to mid-knee high (I’m 5’3).

Despite the wet rocks, socks and bums; I found this hike to be immensely enjoyable and quite adventurous. I did the Old Rag mountain loop a few weeks prior and while rock scrambling is more technical, I think this one takes it in being more strenuous. Take it slow, enjoy the serenity of the nature and be safe!

It gets crowded, but it’s a mid-Atlantic classic hike. Go for it, just realize it’s not a walk in the park. Be smart about water, snacks, and footwear.

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