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Kepler Overlook via Tuscarora Trail is a 5.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Maurertown, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 5.6 mi Elevation gain 1,128 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

Views

Wildlife

Blowdown

Muddy

Over grown

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

Moderately easy hike in the George Washington National Forest. Nice views of Shenandoah Valley and points West. The trail follows several old forest/fire roads. Then the trail connects to the Tuscarora Trail to the overlook. There is one creek crossing and parks of trail can be muddy, depending on time of year and any heavy rains. Take exit for Tom's Brooks off of 81. Go right once at exit to Mt. Olivet. Follow 603 and 600 to end. Start point is at 38.97137, -78.56316.

Road ends at camp sites. Road is closed and cant drive any further.

Take exit for Tom's Brooks off of 81. Go right once at exit to Mt. Olivet. Follow 603 and 600 to end. Google 38.97137, -78.56316.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (55)
Photos (39)
Recordings (40)
Completed (79)
Zac Trautman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 24 2020
Hiking

great trail, did not notice any part being washed out. need to cross the water at some point. dont stop for the first view , not worth it. great campsites throughout

Haley Hudson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 16 2020
Hiking

My husband and I are just getting into hiking, but we are (somewhat) fit 20 year olds! We did this hike on a nice cool, cloudy day (perfect) with our 6-month old puppy! Since we had our dog, we didn’t hike the entire trail. Ended up doing about 5 miles total. We followed the sign for “view 150” and it was rocky to get there, but the view was beautiful. Even though we didn’t make it the whole way, we still had so much fun and crossed three creeks-one larger one in the beginning. We referred to another reviewers directions to find the trail, and they were great. Look at Faye Ashley’s review to find awesome directions! We will definitely return to finish the trail!

Mark M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 13 2020
Hiking

Nice hike. Took about 3 hrs, not including lunch and a siesta at the overlook. Parking area was crowded when we got back but only saw a few people on this trail b/c lots of trails radiate out from that parking area. Route is pretty easy - a gradual climb on a nice smooth trail. Viewpoint about 3/4 of the way up provides really nice wilderness view as opposed to view of farmlands from the overlook. Overlook is nice too but as others have said in reviews, pay attention when you reach the ridge or you may miss it to your right, a couple hundred yards after a campsite.

Anis Ben Said
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 06 2020
Hiking

so nice, don't miss the view at the end of the trail ( on your right)

View Anis's Recording
Rachel H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 06 2020
HikingMuddy

Great trail! Muddy in a few places. Early on once you get onto the Tuscarora Trail the trail goes through a creek, but nice crossing on a hot day. Great views at the top and not crowded.

View Rachel's Recording
Brad Lake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun May 24 2020
HikingFloodedMuddyRockyWashed out
View Brad's Recording
Erina Francesconi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue May 05 2020
HikingMuddy
View Erina's Recording
Erina Francesconi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon May 04 2020
HikingMuddyOver grownRocky

Pretty easy to follow the blue blaze trail markings until you get to the Overlook which is a bit overgrown. Spring water is delicious and easily accessed. The creek wasn’t too hard to cross with hiking boots on. Only saw 5 people on the trail in the early afternoon on a Monday.

View Erina's Recording
Brandon Moody
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat May 02 2020
HikingBlowdownFloodedMuddyOff trailOver grownWashed out

Real mileage from the first parking lot was about 7-ish. Adventurous hike, but definitely harder/muddier when it has rained a lot recently. We had to cross the stream at multiple points and there was extra flooding, but if you have hiking boots you’ll be fine and the streams are fun to cross. Views are nice, the ridge itself is very climb-able and scrambly in certain spots, so if you like to explore around it’s a good time. The trail map was pretty poor and doesn’t say anything about Kepler, and the trail itself was poorly marked. But overall, fun hike!

View Brandon's Recording
Alexey B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat May 02 2020
Hiking

Not too difficult, but, as a previous reviewer said, a small part of Tuscarora trail is flooded, so you will definitely need waterproof boots after a rain. I had the trail all for myself. From the view you encounter at a small detour at 2.5 miles you could actually get to the top of Tea Mountain through an overgrown trail, but there is no view to be had at the top. The view of the valley from the farthest point of the hike is majestic.

Corrinn C.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Apr 29 2020
HikingMuddy

As a hiker who has been blessed with hiking in national parks like Death Valley, Olympic, and Yosemite, this trail is wonderful. It's exactly what you would expect in this area. I have rated this a four based on my experiences.

Mark Lucas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Apr 25 2020
HikingWashed out

The trail is completely washed out in one area that I’m sure is simply due to recent rains. Other then that, the trail is well defined. I rated this hike only a 3 solely based on my experiences. Since I’ve hiked around the country (just for fun) I’m spoiled with places like Yellowstone, Tetons and Glacier. Those hikes are 5 star hikes in my opinion. My wife and I along with one of our (26yo) sons hiked this trail today. Weather was perfect.

View Mark's Recording
Jim Stephens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 25 2020
HikingFloodedMuddyRocky

Absolutely a awesum trail. Liked the creek crossings and many different types of terrain.

View Jim's Recording
Faye Ashley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Apr 19 2020
HikingFloodedMuddy

The trail was a bit hard to find. Nothing was marked on where to go so I’m going to leave some detailed directions. Take 600 to 603 all the way to the end of the road and turn left there is a parking area near a campsite. You’ll enter walking up on the fire road to the left. There is a road closed sign. The trail head for Tuscarora trail is up there in the left. Even though it’s not labeled Keplers Overlook the distance is a pretty accurate. I will say that the trail is flooded right at the beginning of the hike. There is no way to get across without getting your shoes/boots completely soaked. We had to crawl on our hands and knees across long logs just to get to the other side of the trail. Don’t get me wrong it was a fun adventure. The trail can be muddy at times and a little rocky at times other than that it’s a beautiful trail easy on the ankles! Will definitely be doing it again the view of the valley was the best I’ve ever seen.

Mahsa Chenari
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Oct 28 2019
Backpacking

This is a great campsite for backpacking! We hiked this trail a couple of weeks ago, with 6 backpackers. There are 2 huge campsites on the top. We were lucky and we got the one with a nice view. There were a lot of dry dead trees around for fire wood. There is also a natural stream a mile before the top, that you can drink from with a filter. There are also a couple of campsites at the trailhead

Scott Southee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Oct 25 2019
HikingRocky

Awesome trail! Of course hiking it during peak foliage season on a perfect day doesn’t hurt. Finding the trail to Kepler Overlook May be difficult to find because there is no mention of it when you arrive to the designated trailhead. But there is an overlook and this is how you get there. Follow the fire road and yellow blazes to the intersection with blue blazes then go left (south) toward Fetzer Gap. This is the Tuscarora trail. Follow this enjoyable and well-marked trail 2.8 miles and look for the path to the overlook on your right. The blowdown mentioned in previous reviews has been eliminated. However, be aware that there is no sign to guide you to the overlook, unlike another previous viewpoint. There are some rocks/stones on the trail but not nearly as many as other trails in the valley; regardless always wear proper footwear. Enjoy the great view of the Valley!

David Zwick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Oct 05 2019
Backpacking

Hard to find the trail starting point. Trail was moderate climb but there are only decent views from the one campsite. Good overnight with new backpackers or a day hike. I probably would not backpack it again.

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