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First time I have hiked this. We hiked directly after hiking the Maryland Heights. Hot day but lots of fun. Around 15 miles in total

Just finished hike. The swimming hole is nice. It is about 200 yards to the right when you get to loop. The view of the large water was amazing about 3 miles straight up to left. The rest of the hike is really just in the forest with the bugs. Did see rattle snake which I posted picture of and two snakes on the water fall above the swimming hole. Have to say very disappointed in the hike and think there are way better hikes at Shenandoah then this. I recommend swimming hole then drive to top and see water fall from Matthew's Trail as other poster said. Last this is not moderate, it is hard.

13 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike! Definitely need waterproof shoes if you're not one to like getting your socks wet. I hiked in chacos and loved it!

I wouldn't rate this trail as moderate though. It's definitely a toughie. For inexperienced/out of shape hikers, I would recommend going straight to the waterfall. I throughly enjoy backpacking and do it often so am in shape enough for the full loop, but I was with my dad this time around and was not an easy trail for him.

View is totally gorgeous and lots of fun swimming trails too! We brought our dog and she had a blast!

19 days ago

A quick and easy one night trip for two best friends and two dogs. Very close to the trail’s head we ran into two other hikers who claimed to have gotten lost from the campgrounds and weren’t prepared to be out as long as they were. One of them was sitting slumped against a tree, sweating and looking pale. The crushed beer can and cigarette butt next to him made us wonder if that was the real reason he got sick. But we shared some of our snacks and water with them before hiking on. It was a little discouraging to see how nonchalantly people can mistreat nature, but they were the exception to the rule and everyone else we encountered on the trail was friendly and respectful!

The hike was absolutely beautiful, although the very best moment came within about the last mile when we saw a black bear and her four cubs playing on a log! I definitely recommend this one to anyone who wants a little bit of everything.

20 days ago

Make sure to follow the directions to the location from the app; do not use the name to search directions on google maps. You will not end up at the correct location.

Once you use the correct directions, you will end up at a great and challenging site. Waterfalls, rattlesnakes, butterflies, rabbits and a great terrain to give you a challenging hike.

Once you park, you will walk up to a mile marker that allows you to go left or right. Make sure to go left for an easier hike and right for an intense uphill workout. Have fun, check yourself and pets for ticks before you get in your car!

Did this trail about a week ago during the rain. Definitely some of the best views in the area. Went by myself ignoring the reviews where people said not to go alone, and I’m going to have to reinstate the danger to the people who think just like me. Once you get to the top it’s a likely place for someone to twist an ankle, and as others have said, it is a lightly trafficked. As long as you keep it safe you will have a great time when I got to the top I saw 2 giant Turkey Buzzards blocking my path and scared me half to death, I started making noises to scare them away, because I didn’t know if they were dangerous or not. However after doing my research I found, turkey Vultures in North America are not harmful and only tend to eat dead animals haha. But let me tell you those things are freaky looking. Anyways, safe travels everybody!

Just a heads up- the recent rains have not done a lot of damage to these trails, with one exception: the orange blazed trail had a large downed tree right at the start of the large hill, about 3/4 of the way to the blue trail heading towards Loudoun heights. The trail is at best marginally passable. I was able to squeeze through the tree, but it took a considerable amount of effort.

Pretty good ! Hiked with my 15 and 16 year old daughters . Had a flash flood warning yesterday and it rained the entire hike today so needless to say most of the “creek” crossings were just about swimmers . Waterfalls were SUPER COOL with all the runoff and pressure from a few days of rain. Unless you’ve done it before use the app as it gets a little wonky when the Belcher (yellow blazes) runs in with the Blue’s but nothing crazy ! Overall we had a blast even though I don’t think I’ve ever been wetter haha !

Don't believe the previous review. While I'm off, I switch my hikes between Loudoun and Upper Maryland heights on a daily basis to exercise. Loudoun heights is at best slightly easier than upper Maryland heights, but only if you have the stamina to ascend for a longer period of time, and don't have issues with a significant and longer ascent after you get to the overlook.

1. If you want the trail to be harder, take the Orange trail 3/4 of the way up the mountain. It will be easier than the white trail until about 1/4 mile from where it meets the blue trail, where there is a steep hill.

To find the orange trail on the ascent, look for a section of bushes about 3/4 up that you walk through followed by a right turn. The orange trail will be on your left.

2. If you'd rather go easier, take the AT (white blaze) to the top of the mountain. There will be a sign indicating that Keyes Gap is in 4 mile, with an arrow to the right. Go to the left on the blue blazed trail, which will take you to Split Rock overlook after it merges with the Orange trail and two other lesser overlooks.

Neither trail is easy; upper Maryland heights has a briefly steeper ascent. Loudoun height's ascents are longer. Both are very easy at the top, and after the main overlook, the ascent back to the top before you go back down the mountain is much longer on Loudoun heights than Maryland heights, though it is a little steeper but shorter on Maryland heights.

Personally, I've always had a more difficult time on Loudoun heights than Maryland. That is because of the duration of the ascents.

Hiking times (as of Friday 7/22):
From the parking area to split rock: 56 minutes.

From split rock to the parking area: 47 minutes.

(But remember I've been doing this all summer so I'm used to it.)


It was good, I loved the fact I could pick black berries along the way. It was nice to see the other sides perspective.

Not bad

Being so used to the Maryland overlook , the Loudon was so much easier , but does have its peaks where it poses some difficulty. At times, the trail is a little narrow! It wasn't much an issue for me because I was hiking alone, but if the trail ever gets busy --which I'm not sure it has equal amount of foot traffic as the Maryland trail. All views are so worth it! The hike as a whole took me roughly 4 hours, with a few moments where I stopped to get some water and help other hikers find their way! The few streams that do pass through the trail didn't pose any difficulty , however; I'm sure during Rainer months it could be a little more difficult in some portions! Overall, such an amazing hike and I plan on bringing my bestfriend back with me!

1 month ago

Hiked today. I actually missed it first time - kept going on orange blazed trail, and had to come back. Loring S. review down there is the most useful as far as direction goes. Except - there is no pile of rocks any longer indicating where you turn right on purple trail. Anyway, start with yellow blazers trail, then follow trail with orange blazes. If you keep follow orange blazed trail and it descending to overgrown trail down - you have missed the right turn to purple blazed trail to Strickler Knob. Come back. Purple trail is not that hard, just take it slow, find your footing, look for purple blazers on stones (I wish they repainted, and put more of those).

A bit harder than moderate if it’s a hot day. We had a few dogs with us and they struggled. Bring plenty of water as there’s no creeks on the trail for the dogs. Pay the parking fee or you will get hit with a fine. The parking lot gets very busy so getting there before 830 on a busy day is a must. 4.25/5. Worthwhile trail, it’s a shame the highway is there.

1 month ago

Great hike for a hot day because nearly 100% shaded. The elevation map was accurate with the highest elevation and hard work over about halfway through the hike and the downhill getting the knees. Saw a bear a ways off the trail. Then at the end rewarded ourselves with a dip in the swimming hole. Wonderfully refreshing. Light traffic except for the swimming hold area which was very popular. Two lovely waterfalls and a beautiful valley view. Moderate is correct but the mileage made it into hard if you aren’t used to longer hikes.

This was definitely more strenuous than we expected. Maybe it was too hot(+100F) and also it's actually 8 miles if you add the distance from parking lot to the bridge.
First uphill part was challenging (not too steep but long) but after that everything was enjoyable. Trekking pole and long pants will be good as you will need to go through narrow trails on top of mountain. The view of Split Rock was rewarding.
We met many thru hikers on the way up, but there was no one as we get off AT. Split Rock was small place and there was no one as we take 30 mins break there, which was good for us.
We met 2 deers and 1 raccoon about 10-3 yards away too.

The view from the trail is amazing, but be aware that this trail is not rated difficult because it's steep, it's all rocks. At some points you will be jumping over gaps in rocks where the ground is at least 10 feet below. Also the trail is very confusing since there is no actual trail to follow, just a bunch of rocks and trees and a few trail markers. It's pretty dangerous, so be very careful. I ended up falling, getting cut up and bruised pretty badly and getting lost trying to get to a point where i could climb back up and find the trail. If you want to go here, do NOT go alone.

1 month ago

awsome hike took the right instead of the left gradual incline vs step incline waterfall and scenic pictures were worth it

The hike is shaded and a little steep. It turned out to be an awesome hike in the woods with plenty of wildlife and a spectacular view of Harpers Ferry at the very end.

This is a vigorous 6.4 mile hike - if going all the way to Split Rock, taking the AT up and traversing the southerly Loudoun Heights trail in one direction and the northerly trail in the other direction. The Split Rock viewpoint is a very worthy destination and rest spot to enjoy an iconic view of Harpers Ferry, the confluence of the Shenandoah River and the Upper Potomac River, and Maryland Heights to the north. The elevation gain is a modest 1,516 ft. It took us about three hours of hiking time. The sounds of traffic on Rt 340 below are a bit distracting for portions of the trail, but on this post-rain day, the more mellifluous sounds of the roaring, swollen rivers was a nice counterbalance. Don't forget to pay the $10 parking fee (self-pay) in the National Historical Park lot; the rangers are active here.

Nice hike, a bit strenuous in the beginning and somewhat rocky. You have to watch for poison ivy but no bugs on this hot humid summer day! I’m used to hiking over at Buzzards Rock where it’s pretty quiet, so I want used to seeing so many people on the trail . If there was a cadre with a nice iced latte in that meadow, That would be magical;) recommend this hike!

Very difficult but very rewarding. It’s worth the hike

I love this trail. The terrain is varied and there are some areas that are pretty challenging, especially when muddy. I hike with my German Shepherd and she’s able to handle this trail easily. There are some really narrow spots where I have to pull her off the trail to make room if someone is passing, but that doesn’t happen often. We generally go early in the morning and run into few other hikers. Parking is easy in the lot next to the bridge if you get there early enough, but on sunny weekends or after 10:00 or so it’s hit or miss.

Nice two and a half hour workout. Watch out for the poison ivy and the bees in the field. I did get a glimpse of the monastery on Blue Mountain but other than that there are no Scenic Vistas. I only ran into four other hikers along the way.... on a Tuesday. All-in-all it's a great hike close to home. It's always good to be our in nature!

if you're looking for some solitude, this is one for you.

5Jun18-weekday afternoon overcast 70° hike. The whole Loop took about an hour and a half with stops. Drank 2 liters of water along the way. This hike started off at the Dickey gift shop and an incredible view of the Shenandoah Valley. The only people I saw the whole time on this hike was in that area. I never saw a soul on the loop except for my poles haha. as far as Wildlife goes, there were a lot of bear warning signs... But all I saw were squirrels (and one platypus ;-)

I did the loop clockwise and it began by climbing for the first 20 minutes. this is where I broke the majority of my sweat. The trail is pretty even some rocky outgrowth. But It pretty much leveled out after that and was mostly downhill. There were a couple of Spurs I could not go to because I wore shorts....and I could see poison ivy creeping up over the trail. If I had the hike over again I would have work long pants for this time of year because of the poison ivy. When I got back to the parking lot, I just washed my calves and ankles with soap and water since the bathrooms were still open. all good :)

The only place the trail got tricky to follow (because the overgrowth) was at The Farmhouse itself. I started going left when I was supposed to follow the trail down to the right, over a recent rain made Creek and then join a big trail.

* Really nice peaceful hike, would love to do it again in the winter just to see how it looks then.

Happy Travels!
the RAWG

Took this trail when I was backpacking and it was pretty good. The waterfall was nice but nothing really special. Average Shenandoah views.

The start of the trail was an easy walk from the parking lot. We took the white, orange and then blue route the way up and saw all three overlooks. The way up is pretty steep at the beginning but definitely doable. Steady downward slope all the way back made it a bit slippery since it just rained all night.

Be advised: The parking lot has a $10 entrance fee but no one was there to collect it so our car had a ticket when we got back.

I loved this hike. I hit a snag though bc I read the review that said to take the first left, blue. The first left, at the first fork, was red/orange. I stayed on it though, and it was beautiful. So, for me, I parked on 32 as recommended, took the white (AT) to the red at the first fork. After the first fork, the red turned to orange. Then, I hit blue. Coming back, I took the blue to the white and back to the car. 5.14 miles from the car. Beautiful hike, and exhausting and only 5.14 miles! The humidity was high, and there was no breeze!

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