Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

It is a pretty gentle climb, be ready for water crossings. After several inches of rain the night before the crossings we're all still manageable.

hiking
8 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.

Great climb... Breathtaking views!!

Great view at the end for a relatively short hike.

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.

very steep but worth it with that view!!

Fantastic panoramic views from the top. Very many hikers on a Sunday and parking lot was overflowing. Totally dog friendly!

on Story Book Trail

1 month ago

Short easy walk to a very beautiful overlook with lots of sandstone, limestone and shale and white pine trees. One of the most beautiful places we visited

Nice trail for a first time hiker. Not too long but still challenges you with the steep ascent and offers a very rewarding view and interesting rock face at the top. Watch out for mud and ice on colder days in winter/ early spring.

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.

Great hike! Heavily trafficked but the view at the top of the rocks make the trip on a crowded trail worth it.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

At the trailhead there are 2 options, which can be confusing. One takes you to Crab Tree falls and is right from the parking lot. This review is for the other one, the meadows trail, which you access by continuing a little further down the road in the direction you came up, beyond the parking lot. Did this trail in early April. Looked a little abandoned, but was a lot of fun. Very foggy in the AM which leant quite an erie feel to the walk. The sun burned the fog off though and it was nice and peaceful. No sounds of civilization at all. Although we got a bit turned around in the last meadow and didn't go out to Pinnacle Rocks. Still had a good time though. A lot of deadfalls, but the trail is fairly easy to follow until the last open meadows area, where it gets indistinct. We found the forest service marker in the ground at that point, which was quite interesting.

Relatively easy walk. Saw some bear scat and paw prints in the soft moss covered first mile of the trail.

There is a 4 mile gravel road drive to get to this hike, which we weren't expecting. Luckily we have an SUV. Not so sure this would be good for a family car with low clearance. There are two small water crossings on the drive up the trail for your vehicle. Would be really muddy after a rain I suspect.

hiking
1 month ago

Great view from the rocks

Good climb for a short hike. View at the top is spectacular. Trail is nicely built to keep a steady and modest rate of climb.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great trail for a short day hike! Best in the spring as the river dries up later in the summer. Lots of beautiful scenery!

Great moderate hike although it was made a tad bit more difficult hiking through the snow. The snow on the trail was packed down due to all the foot traffic which made it easier to trudge through then fresh snow but also made it slippery on the steeper parts. We were glad we brought our trekking poles as they helped tremendously on the steeper, slippery sections. The trail is very well marked in yellow the entire way up and easy to follow. Relatively easy a good deal of the way with some steeper areas especially the last half mile to the tower. The fire tower at summit more than makes up for the lack of a ton of sights most of the way up as the 360 views of Virginia and West Virginia peaks was incredible!!! You can go inside the tower and get out of the elements if needed. Great family hike and moderate is a good description

Awesome view of the wv snow covered mountains in the distance, nice little challenging trip up too.

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.

too many people Vista not really good no water came in from keezletown Road up to the top got to see an old settlement that was cool still enjoyed it

Lots of rocks on the trail, lots of debris and very little pay off.

We opted to check out Elizabeth Furnace since we had a nice break in the weather. We’d heard good things about the park so figured we’d give it a go but ultimately didn’t care for the trail we did. There are some pretty cool features and it was great to be outside but the trail ends in an intersection of other trails and doesn’t offer much else. If we ever do this one again it will be to link up with the Buzzard Rocks trail.

Side note: as someone previously mentioned, the trailhead is hidden away. It is directly to the RIGHT of the covered table area. Follow the light blue blazes.

best app for all the trails, deff the best I have had, good job!!!

Thia is the easy way to get to the high knob fire tower. Try going down to the Brandywine recreation area, and get on the high knob fire tower trail in the back of the campground. That is still the shortest, hardest hike Ive yet to find, with almost 0 switchbacks and a HUGE elevation gain in about a 5 mile hike.

...if you get tired at points you have to lean your back against a tree to keep from going backward..m

hiking
2 months ago

Krista, thanks for posting your review on the alternate route to Spy Rock. The more people that try this route, the more it will become recognized as superior to the Fish Hatchery route to Spy Rock (hopefully the National Forest will eventually support it). Yes, you can take a normal car up Meadows lane road when the weather is good but you need to be careful and take it slow. There are plenty of good camping areas along the alternate route because it’s all on NF property. However, camping at the base of Spy Rock is not recommended (no water and to much traffic). E-mail me if anyone wants recommendations on camping areas (I know the area very well). Spyrock“at”Mac”dot”com

By the way, the alternate route parking is in Crabtree Meadows. Little grassy spot, be careful of foliage.

backpacking
3 months ago

The fish hatchery is open, thank you, Mike Y.! I let my GPS take me there from northern. VA and I ended up at the alternate route. No problem. A little longer but easier on the body. This was the 4WD route, but my little Honda Accord made it up and down just fine. Just took it slow and watched for holes. Warning - it’s easy to get turned around hiking back down the morning after. Next time I do an overnight i’ll take the fish hatchery route just to east my mind. All in all an amazing trip! The sunset and sunrise simply cannot be beat! Great pick for my first overnight :)

After deciding to start hiking, which I had not did in a very long time , I was unsure what easy would be. However as a person who spent most days on the couch , this hike was a good first hike. The only thing I would add is if the road is closed and you hike the road to the trail be prepared to take on a moderate hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Alot of trees down on the trail.

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