Explore the most popular camping 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
2 days 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

hiking
7 days ago

Got a little lost at one point and there was one place of some fairly serious rock scrambling, but the view was amazing and a picnic at the top just fantastic.

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

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

Worth?
Sure..

We did this coming up from the fish hatchery. Pretty blah hike up. Spy Rock almost 360° view pretty cool. Ran into GM and Chef for Devil Backbone brewery on trail. Went and checked DB out after it got 5 stars.

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.

Somewhat difficult to run, but a very nice trail. Missed the turn to Glass Hollow Overlook, so be on the look for the turn. Going all the way to the shelter is really nice and well worth it.
I missed having a detailed description of the trail on AllTrails, but I found one online here - https://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/DobieMountain/

backpacking
1 month 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.

camping
1 month ago

Myself and 5 of my students did the longer version of this hike. We parked off the parkway at mile post 23 and hiked down mine bank creek trail, then to st Mary’s river trail, then to st Mary’s fall trail. The hike was amazing, exploring the old mine was fun too. It’s very easy to find, the trail runs right through it. We had the first 2 trails to ourselves, but in the falls trail we ran into ~10 other people. All these people came in from the st Mary’s fall trail parking. After exploring the falls we hiked back and camped on the st Mary’s river trail. The next morning we hiked back out, which is a pretty rough, steep hike. However it follows a creek, so plenty of views and water. In total it was probably around 13 miles, but most of it was easy walking. The trail is not marked, but it was easy to find your way. Hiking to the falls up the falls trail is fun with all the creek crossings, but the campsites take away from it beauty. There’s many of them , large, trees smacked with machetes, and toilet paper. I would recommend camping on the river trail, far more secluded. I would do this trail again and look forward to doing it when it’s a bit warmer so we can swim!

Hiked on a hot (83F) early spring day before the trees had sprouted leaves. I bet this would get 5 stars from me with improved shade or a slightly cooler temp. Views at the peak are wonderful, plus there's a number of camping spots complete with fire pit and log benches.

The hike to the top goes by quickly. With frequent breaks (every 7-10 minutes), we reached the top in about 75 minutes. Plan to hang out at the peak for a while.

We camped at the campsite and enjoyed this hike the climb up was a challenge in a good way. There was a few trees on the trail but nothing that hindered the experience. I will say the trail markings are all the same color and it appears to be off shoots of the main trail, we didn’t go down any of them but could be very confusing.

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

hiking
1 month ago

Was a decent trail. Follow the orange trail markers and make a left where the blue markers are. Nice view at the top and a few places to backpack on the way.

We hiked in and found a spot to set up camp for an overnight stay. Still wanting to explore a little further we set out to see the sights in the remaining daylight.

The river and streams were pristine. There was no avoiding traversing the waterways as they were clearly marked as part of the trail. Which by the way, is listed as moderate but by most folks’ standards, it would easily be considered difficult. The trail was rocky, steep and narrow (at many spots almost too narrow considering the drop off).

When you’re not crossing the river, the trail follows along side it from above at varying elevations. We spent the better part of day 2 enjoying the challenging hike and exploring the water access.

There’s an amazing swimming hole with its own natural slide along the way to the top. This spot is an absolute must stop! Not only is it lined with gorgeous smooth rock for picnicking, sitting or sunbathing on along the trail side but it butts right up to a beautiful jagged rock wall on the opposite side. The likes of which I have only seen in Mexico & the Caribbean. Surprisingly, we were the only ones taking advantage of the crystal clear water! It was invigorating to say the least. Even in July it was far from warm.

What we found at the top was better than what I could’ve imagined-a waterfall that spilled over into a pool from which another waterfall fell. The pool at the top was a bit more crowded but truly amazing and big enough to be shared.

This trail is one I won’t soon forget and definitely one I hope to return to in the near future!

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Views were spectacular and easy enough for kids. Straight uphill to get there but all downhill coming off the mountain and a good wide “road” if you park at the hatchery. Little spotty figuring out the best way to get up and down the rock but we all did fine and well worth the climb.

walking
1 month ago

Nice hike. It is a well maintained trail. Fair amount of horse droppings along the lower trail. Even after reading the previous reviews, I missed the turn down from the upper trail. The turn is marked with white survey tape on a branch and the trail markers Change from orange to yellow. I recommend using the apps gps function for this transition. Enjoy the views.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Could not find the start of this trail either. No markers anywhere. Found three different National Forest map signs and the trail is not marked officially. I'm sure its in the area but I was traveling with a group of 7 so we just took a stroll through Cedar Springs Road. It was still a nice hike but not what we came for.

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
1 month ago

Fun hike. Not crowded. Everyone else at site was walking humpback. Will do again. My dog loved it! :)

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