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hiking
4 hours ago

As AllTrails lists this route as an 'out-and-back' and we summited Chaplains, we thought we could be able to descend via Precipice. After attempting to descend for about 0.2mi, it seemed unwise to continue because of the grade and ice forming over the steep face...let alone going down the iron rungs. While signs warn that this isn't recommend to descend from Chaplains via Precipice, the app's distinction of an 'out-and-back' gives a contrary and potentially dangerous impression.

Beautiful overlooks throughout, challenging rock scrambles and a well maintained fire road on the way back

hiking
7 hours ago

Exhilarating trail. Tough in some sections but not impossible. First rung&ladder challenge is the toughest... if you can do this one, you can do the rest. In the colder months, leave plenty of time because there’s ice in many areas. For a short hike with a relatively small increase in elevation, this trail packs a punch. Definitely can’t do this just once!

What an amazing trail

Beautiful caves, great trails.

This park is beautiful. I will definitely be visiting again! Lots of caves to explore and it’s very well kept. Bring a head lamp if you’re going into the caves !

Amazing hike! The ascent isn't too bad until you get to the boulder scramble and then it gets a little challenging; definitely requires a little strength, agility and balance. Hiking footwear recommended. There were places where simple running shoes would have been less than desirable. All in all, once you get to the top, it couldn't be more worth it. One of the most rewarding experiences of my life to date.

This is my second time hiking this trail and its one of my favorites. I love the challenge. This is a difficult trail that involves climbing over, through, and down boulders. It’s not for the weak at heart, children, or dogs.

This trail is amazing. Be careful during rain tho.

amazon hike! arrived 9am on a saturday and had to park in the neighboring lot for $10. GO EARLY. not only will you get to park in the normal lot but there will be wayyyy less people to wait behind when you get to the top rock scramble. we made it to the top in 1 hr 20 minutes but took almost 1-1.5 hrs to go through the rock scramble portion cause there were so many people, many of who do not hike often. however, even with the line it was so worth it and so fun. tests your strength to go through the scramble. walking down was easy.

best hike ever

9 days ago

This is the best trail I have ever done! The most beautiful trail for the entire time of the hike and even more gorgeous at the top!

I would do this trail again in a heartbeat!

This was an amazing hike. Of course the highlight of the hike is the rock scramble and spectacular views! Started our Hike Saturday morning about 9:30am. The lot was full and we had to park in a private lot for $10. We did not get back to the truck until 6pm. The crowd and backups in the rock scramble slowed us down. Would love to do this hike on a weekday with no crowd. I am a short guy so that made it more difficult LOL. I have also done “Humpback Rock” and “MaCafee Knob”. This was definitely the most challenging.

Third time summiting Old Rag. I really believe it is Virginia’s best hike...assuming you avoid the crowds. We arrived at 6 AM on a Sunday, with 15 or so other cars in the lot. We only saw a handful of folks on our way up, and only had to contend with 3 or 4 people on the rock scramble in its entirety (no waiting!). At the summit, there were maybe 5-10 other people, but we easily found a private spot to enjoy the views and lunch for 45 minutes. The descent down the backside of Old Rag and the fire road is a nice reprieve from the arduous hike and scramble up. We arrived back at our car at 11:15 AM to hordes of people and cars arriving (the Old Rag lot was full and there were dozens of cars parked at the private lot next door). If you value quiet and privacy over camaraderie, I highly recommend getting here early!

trail running
10 days ago

Ran all 31 miles of trail in about 9 hours with friends. We used pine creek outfitters and got dropped off at the rattlesnake trailhead. Very wet this time of year, and lots of stream crossings, downed logs, etc so it took a little longer than expected. Pumped and purified some water, ate and used restrooms at Bradley Access point, which was perfectly set up about halfway thru our run. Lots of vistas but we missed some of the best ones on the north side because it was dark by the time we got there. Great trail for running this time of year!

Spectacular views during the fall. We elected to cut south along the reservoir amid way down the walk from Craig Castle. Pretty scenic shoreline and also avoids the walk along the roads we saw others complain of in previous reviews (shaved off some time too). Excellent photo ops.

The southern part of the trail is excellent. No more can be said than that. Just go....however, the scramble and boulder stair case gets so backed up that you could be there for hours if you decide to go late in the morning. I saw one poor bastard that walked from the northern section of the route get stuck in the blasting wind.

I highly recommend downloading the area on Google Maps beforehand as there is no/limited cell service there.
Otherwise, to repeat others: go EARLY (and also maybe not on the last nice Saturday of the season when the trees are in peak color); I planned to arrive by 7am but I snoozed on my alarm clock. Lot had just filled up when I got there at 8:40am, so I was one of the first people to park at the adjacent private lot and paid $10 to the lady there. From there the walk was a bit tiring and crowded getting up to the rock scramble. Just pace yourself here.
Rock scramble: If you are out of shape, I wouldn't recommend it. I work out, so it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was bit worried as some reviews said it was really hard. It was more like a really good workout. If my two friends could do it high and if Tina Fey could do it at night, I figured I'd be able to hike it. 3 spots we had to wait in line to pass and people were helpful (if you need assistance). After the summit, the downhill is easier and turns into a less exciting trail back to the lot. Finished in about 5h50min.

hiking
11 days ago

Very fun hike! I’ve done this circuit a handful of times. Took my 8 year old son and he was able to complete. It did however take us all day. Great views! The scramble at the top is always the best part. Like an adult playground. Depending on the time of year and day you go, it can be a little busy. I prefer weekdays during late fall.

Completed 10/30/18 - the trail is long and gradual. If you like to get the climbing out of the way, this trail is not for you. There was a couple inches of snow from the loj and once we reached the top there was more than a foot of snow. Clouded-out conditions once we reached the top, but the alpine zone was unbelievable, even without the mountain views it felt unreal. I wouldn't do this hike without spikes or snowshoes in the winter. Probably don't need snowshoes right now since there was huge rainstorms past couple of days, but waterproof hiking boots and spikes will be much needed. Lots of hidden puddles, mud, and run-off all under the snow tuesday made this trail a lot more daunting. The overall experience and trek of this hike made this my favorite journey I've ever embarked in Nature to date, the high peaks are surreal.

Mount Marcy was a great hike. My wife and I just hiked the mountain on Nov. 1. The temperature was high 30s and a mix of precipitation. The snow started halfway and got a bit deeper as we went up. The trail changed from thick mud to seemingly endless boulders. There was a lot of snow covered ice and we needed to put on the microspikes to get traction on the rocks. Water streamed down the entire trail and could be seen in spots not covered in snow. There are a couple river crossings that required rock hopping. The water still came over our boots. My feet were wet for most of the trek thanks to leaky goretex boot linings. Wool socks made this more tolerable.
I'd say the trail wouldn't be technically difficult on a good summer day. However, the ice and snow made it a tougher and more time consuming trek. The mileage also made Marcy a physical challenge.
The summit area was completely covered in thick clouds that poured icy rain. We could barely see the trail behind us through the heavy fog. One must be careful not to lose their way in these conditions. Needless to say, we never encountered another soul on the trail throughout the hike. It was still worth the journey.

hiking
12 days ago

Precipice made Beehive seem like child's play. The beginning of the trail starts off with some pretty cool boulder hopping. You have nice views within 10 minutes. The rest of the trail is a series of switchbacks, ladders, steps, and bridges. You're on cliff faces the majority of the way up. I felt safe, but wet rocks/rain could make for a pretty dangerous ascent. We hiked up and over, down the Orange/Black trail to the road, and followed the road back to the Precipice lot. We did this after sunrise on Cadillac and saw only 2 couples. Awesome hike during peak foliage!

the trail is very well marked.
it begins with a boulder field where you have to be a mountain goat and then it turns just plain rocky.

I was so impressed by how well-maintained the trail is! The stairs and bridge made the trail feel very safe despite being on a pretty steep incline. Even though it was a short distance, the rocks to climb and bigger switchback near the topmost tier of the falls made me feel like I was still getting a great hike in.

I could see it getting very busy during the afternoon (and was told so by someone I bumped into on my way down), but getting there around 8 am allowed me to park in the first lot with easy access to the trailhead and have the trail nearly entirely to myself - including the upper observation deck, on which I got to look at the falls by myself for quite a while. It’s a gorgeous view and was a perfect fall hike.

Well maintained trail! Beautiful views!

My self and two of my friends did this trail from north terminus to south. my plan to do it this way was so that i could begin the hike at 0400 and be waiting on top of chimney rock for the sunrise. My god was it worth it. I sat on that rock brewing coffee and enjoying the perfect scenery until 9am.

This was my favorite spot on the entire hike. I will be going back just to spend a weekend here. You must see it.

the trail has countless overlooks, some with beaten paths, others you can just walk west to the ridgeline. plenty of campsites premade around and the trail was pretty well kept even after all of our recent storms.

to the east is private land lines in and out of the hike. so be cautious of hunters/hunting dogs.

THE ONLY WATER SOURCE IS A SPRING AT THE 12MI MARK. this is crucial for correct planning. its very easy to walk by as i did.

from south to north the trail will continue blue blaze onto a fire road (nice well packed black gravel) down and over pipeline clearings, then downhill to campsites where the trail begins into the woods again. It is at THIS point, a grass fire road to the left of the trailhead. walk roughly 30y down that road and the spring is on the left with rocks holding down some chickenwire to prevent leaf n debris from entering it. (It looks like a rectangle stone storm drain with chicken wire ontop)

when i was hiking this i had spent a long time trying to find it and i wanted to make a point to give a very deffinitive location of this "spring" its yeild will depend on rainfall but all 3 of us got 6 litres and it didnt budge. plenty of water for us in october.

in total, this hike is beautiful, quiet, relatively easy, short distance from town, and offers alot more than you will put into it.

I will be going back.

NOTE: North Fork Mountain trail is roughly 24.3 miles long. From One Terminus to the next. One water source at 12mi. And a shuttle service is offered at the north terminus for the 25-30min drive back to where you started.

15 days ago

Fun hike, a must do if in the park

I've done this hike twice and it doesn't get any easier the 2nd go. I always have a hard time finding where to park because my GPS cuts out before I get there. Once you start hiking it's pretty steep but I wouldn't suggest hiking poles unless you really need them because the rock scramble at the top definitely uses your upper and lower body. both times it took me about 4 hours from start to finish and that's even with asthma. The views are so worth every bit of temporary pain. Go do it!

A great hike with a few challenging moments in the rock scramble. My father and I were carrying backpacks (we way overpacked with sweatshirts and hiking poles we hardly used) which made some of the narrower spots in the scramble difficult. It was extremely chilly at the summit, but the midday view was amazing. Not too crowded. We lunched at the Byrd’s Nest Shelter, and the entire trip took us 5.5 hours. This was our second hike (ever)— wish there was more scrambling!

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