Explore the most popular backpacking trails in George Washington National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
1 day ago

In short, the overlooks were underwhelming because of the rain/fog. The waterfalls made up for it and were overwhelming because of the amount of rain. May-Har trail was fantastic and with clear skies, the overlooks would have been too.

we loved this but our dog was way more excited to get to the top and splash around

Found 18 ticks between the two of us. Be prepared and bring your eco friendly tick repellant.

I took my mother on this hike for Mother’s Day. It was more technical in spots than I was expecting but definitively manageable. The views were beautiful. We hiked to the second overlook for a total of 2.7 miles.

Not a easy hike, it is steep! Very very steep!

Walked in to the camp site and back. Was a difficult walk with the rocky trail but got better along the way. Crowed parking area, but people spread out enough to make a friendly trail but not crowded. Will do it again soon as an overnighter.

Great hike close to wintergreen. When parking, be sure to use the trail entrance on the other side of the road. View point is .5 miles in. We did the full 2.5 but didn’t see another view point after the initial one. Would do it again!

backpacking
29 days ago

I would rate this hike as difficult. Some of the steepest terrain I have hiked on the AT. Made it an overnighter at Harpers Creek. Very crowded...but enjoyable! The only downside to me were the rocky trails. Really have to watch the ankles. Gorgeous views and some of the prettiest Forrest scenery around!

Two amazing views, a mostly uphill experience.. Spent 8 hours on the whole trail including time for pictures.

My son and I did this loop 10 years ago. This time it seemed a lot more challenging than last time. This is not a trip for beginners. The uphill climb to Little bald Knob took a bit longer than anticipated and experienced a sleet storm while we ascended. Yes, crazy Virginia weather. When we got to the stream we had had to cross, the current was stronger than we anticipated so we made a decision to backtrack and cut our trip short instead crossing the stream with our dog. On a positive note, the views and the hike were excellent. It was colder than anticipated and we saw very little wildlife. Still not bad hiking if you like a challenge.

Love this trail. Great for the dogs. Some river crossing but enjoyable.

hiking
1 month ago

I like this hike. It’s less than two hours drive from Richmond. If you’re a strong hiker you can do it in a day (7-9 hours), it has vistas, climbs, streams, waterfalls, rock scrambles, App Trail hikers to say hi to, a little bit of everything. And then at the end you can drive an AT through hiker to down to Devil’s Backbone at the base of the hill in exchange for him buying you a beer :)

I would call it difficult not moderate though.

This hike is one of my favorites in the area, but think maybe it should be marked as hard. Great views at the end but also cool waterfalls on the way up. Trail is a bit confusing after the waterfalls and before the AT. Follow the signs to the trail head for a quarter mile up the hill. Great breweries on the way back to C’ville as a reward

This is one of my favorite hikes when I get out of class or on a weekend. I hit the falls first and then go to The Priest or Spy Rock for the tremendous views. On of the best in C’ville—views and waterfalls. The trail is a bit confusing for a quarter mile after the falls before the AT. Stay on the road and follow the signs

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike, with fantastic views on the second ridge. But not sure why this is marked as moderate—unless you break it into two days. For one day, it is difficult

This was ok, but I expected more views. It was some good exercise though

hiking
1 month ago

While we had fun on this hike, the terrain varied like our emotions on the hike. The actual trail begins at the trail head of Boone’s Run which lead to some confusion. The trail is hard terrain and requires boots as it has insane changes in elevation, but amazing views and water scenery. There is no parking except on the street or by a shooting range.

This is an excellent hike for people who want to combine two moderate hikes, Crabtree Falls and its beautiful waterfalls, and Spy Rock and its 360 degree views, into one longer hike. It is over 12 miles with more than 3000 foot elevation gain so the hike is somewhat strenuous, but it provides a good 6-8 hour hike with some of the best waterfalls and stunning views that central Virginia has to offer. The hike can be crowded near the falls on a weekend and again near Spy Rock but over five miles between the two is mostly empty. This hike follows the Appalachian Trail and the well marked Crabtree Falls trails with a popular cut-through connecting them so it is easy to follow. Best in the late spring, summer, and fall.

Beautiful vistas - especially the very first after hiking over Bee Mountain. Just a bit more difficult than moderate with some rocky and steep areas. We hiked with a pup and it was tough on her paws. Also longer than 12 miles total (closer to 15). Made it an overnight backpacking trip and camped at Harper’s Creek. Harper’s creek was flowing (March 31/April1 weekend) with quite a few other backpackers camping at the site. Good times.

Definitely not what I expected when it said moderate hike. If you’re not in the best of shape it can be exhausting going up. But the views are absolutely phenomenal. It’s a great couple hour hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this on a sunny mid-March Sunday, with temperatures in the morning just above freezing and headed into the 60s by afternoon. The trail is strenuous -- and we did have to navigate some slick ice and snow on western side of the slope (in the winter shade). The clockwise loop includes some very steep ascents both early and late in the trail, but the views are very rewarding. The waterfalls on Mau-Har Trail are reminiscent of a mellower version of White Oak canyon -- but without the crowds. It's doable in a day if you're fit and hit the trail early, but you'll want lots of water and snacks. (We were on the trail for about 8 hours with breaks).

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike on a warm Sunday in March. Did it in a single day, took seven hours at a moderate pace. The distance came out as closer to 14 miles than 12. Still a lot of snow on the trail making it muddy on the AT going up to the ridges. Went counter-clockwise and enjoyed the water on the way down, but since most of the good views on the ridges are south and west facing, it meant the sun was in my face by the time I arrived at the ridges in the early afternoon. If you are a photographer, I would recommend going clockwise instead.

backpacking
2 months ago

Good challenge! Lots of steep ups and downs. Did this loop clockwise, camping at Campbell Creek overnight. Much longer hike Saturday (about 10 miles), but I needed to give myself enough time to drive home Sunday (Northern Ohio). If you're in good shape, you could probably knock this out in a long day. Good campsites around each shelter, and a few good sites along the Mau-Har trail. Water was flowing great at each source, and especially along the Mau-Har. No water between Mau-Pin Shelter and Harper's Creek Shelter, so pack accordingly. There were a few good views, but one was particularly amazing. Ran into about a dozen or so other hikers.

I’ve always gone straight up to the top of humpback but this is a great alternative if your just taking your time to get to the top. I finished the 4.1 miles I recorded in just under 2 hours and enjoyed the empty trails.

We hiked this on one of the windiest days of the year with 4 very small children & it kicked our butts! The view was worth it, and we’d definitely do it again, but this was a huge challenge for us! We parked in the Priest Wilderness parking lot on 56 & hiked in from there to the overlook. Did about 7 miles total, as we skipped going to the shelter.

This is not an easy hike, moderate to difficult is more realistic.

From Rockfish Gap I hiked to Mayo’s Homeplace and back to Rockfish Gap. Mild 50 degrees and light rain after first hour. Good moderate pace,with slippery spots.

I will be back to hopefully complete the full hike. I stopped off to grab a 5 mile portion to break up a drive to Powhatan from Staunton. Trail was in great shape for this dusk hike.

We hiked clockwise and for the first 4 miles or so it was fine. Lots and rocks and definitely tough footing but doable. Then we had to cross wintergreen ski slopes...definitely would check what their season is if doing this hike in the winter. We had to hike across a snowy slope. It was cool, but luckily the season had not started yet. About a mile after wintergreen, the trail became extremely difficult to follow. Lots of different trails intersecting, downed trees and just a general lack of directions. We had GPS but it was tough to figure out where to go. We ended up turning around and hiking back the way we came, so I don’t know anything about the hike past about 5 miles in. If someone else has hiked this, please post your review...don’t think I’ll be hiking this one again due to lack of directions. I will say, the beginning of the hike was beautiful with the waterfall and dramatic rock features.

This was a trail and view I was proud to have all to myself on an early Monday morning. This is an area well known for herds of people pollution, this is why I was amazed to have it all to myself! I tracked 4.4 miles around the Loop Trail using my GPS & Fitbit. I did the counterclockwise route. You can tell by the wore out areas on the amount of people that use this trail. The part of the trail to the A.T. are not used as much and is a very enjoyable route back to the parking area. If you want great pictures without people pollution go on a weekday and go early! I returned to the parking lot to see only one other car and another pulling in as I was stowing my gear!

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