Little Devils Stairs Trail is a 5.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Washington, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,496 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

Great climb. Hiked up from little devil stairs parking lot. Glad I had poles, water crossings a bit dicey at times. Nice walk down with some views!

hiking
13 days ago

We started muster after the mile maker 19 and parked. Walked down the fire road all the way and then came back up the Devils stairs. There are several creek crossings which are doable. Look for the blue marks on trees or you may miss where you should cross. Stable shoes (not sandals) are a must. It gets steep at points and you will have to actually use hands and feet to step up and climb.

I’m very active and it was a good workout. My counterpart had some difficulty with the steep inclines and elevation. However, you can stop and rest. It was mid 70’s and sunny. We were sweating hard and definitely bring water.

I loved the various fungi and water fall spots. Didn’t see any wildlife, not even birds but I found it to be a very beautiful and a peaceful hike.

We did see a few dogs along the way, one with 3 legs even! But bring water for them. Not sure they should be drinking the creek water even though it’s crystal clear.

I’d recommend this hike. It took us 4 hours but could have easily been done in 3-3.5 with my normal hiking partner.

14 days ago

lots of cross stream path, and climbing rock part is real fun!

26 days ago

Good hike but no views. Post hurricane the water was flowing strong and the rocks were slick. Busier than I thought. Not in a rush to do it again but certainly not a bad SNF hike. Good for dogs that love water (and can navigate some rocks aka my black lab)

1 month ago

Great trail! I did the hike backward by accident, so make sure when you park at the lot you start by going downward and not up the fire trail. But if you want an added challenge of hiking up a 3 mike gravel road, would recommend doing it in reverse!

Really fun to hike along the stream and waterfall. No real “views” of the valley, more of a pure nature and challenging hike with rock scrambles

2 months ago

Fantastic hike with several water crossings and quite a bit of semi-rock scrambling. Lightly trafficked so it’s wonderfully quiet. Definitely better to do after it’s rained recently, as the falls are fairly small. Not great for waterfall views but very strenuous and fun to rock hop across the streams.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike - rocky hike up the side of a waterfall/creek for the first 1.75 mi, with several stream crossings, then about .25 miles of trail until you reach the fire road. Fire road is a little over 3 miles with good tree coverage and an old cemetery near the base. Went on a weekend and saw a total of 8 people on the trail. Took an 1:45 with minimal stops for water. With all the rocks and the stream crossings I was happy I wore my waterproof hiking boots, but I saw others wearing trail shoes and running once they hit the fire road.

hiking
3 months ago

An excellent hike! Your thighs will be burning by the time you reach the top of the waterfall! I did the complete loop -- anticlockwise -- which takes you up the waterfall, and back around to the parking area (at the boundary, not Skyline Drive) via the fire road. Next time I'll take the advice of other reviewers and come back down the waterfall. The fire road did seem to go on for a long time -- still in the beautiful forest, but with nothing much to look at. It was an unusually cool day -- around 70 degrees -- but it was very humid hiking up the waterfall. I can't imagine what it would be like on a sweltering August day! So you might consider a change of shirt for when you get back in your nice vehicle. And maybe a change of pants in case your run into a bear. :)

hiking
3 months ago

This is an awesome trail! What a unique experience to be able to hike up a waterfall. We decided to do the hike up and back because others suggested that this route was more scenic than the fire road loop. The ascent (2 miles) is a steep incline with a bit of rock scrambling and scattered steps. You cross over the water multiple times, zig zagging your way up. You gain the nearly all of the elevation in the first 1.7 miles up, so get ready to work! When you reach the top there is no view or summit, just an option to continue down other trails. Coming back down is steep, so take your time! For up and back the trail is 4 miles: as an experienced hiker, without stopping, this hike took me 2 hours. It was an awesome opportunity to hike in a bit of different scenery, it was so beautiful! Would definitely suggest!

hiking
3 months ago

Completed this hike counterclockwise as recommended on a 100 degree day in DC- was very HOT even inside the forest. We appreciated the shade and cold water it provided though for the first hour along the waterfall. We completed it in little over 2 hours...if going again will definitely try to go up by the falls and come back down via the falls. The downhill walk felt super long and on gravel.

hiking
3 months ago

One of the best hikes I’ve found in this part of the country. I did it a little different than most people, instead of the circuit I started from the top and climbed down to the bottom before turning around and climbing back up. I thought it was even more challenging that way as you skip almost all of the flat terrain going around.

It’s great that they allow dogs, just make sure your dog is an experienced hiker. My dog is a very experienced hiker and even he is really sore and tired today (as am I). I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone inexperienced person or dog.

The way-finding is decent, but not always the most intuitive. That plus a lack of good views gives it 4 Stars in my opinion, but I rarely give 5 Stars out. It’s a very good trail and I would certainly recommend it for anyone looking for a challenging hike. Certainly one of the best in the region.

4 months ago

Hi there fellow nature lover :-)...are you up for a 3-hour adventure you will probably not forget anytime soon? Then you should go ahead and check this one out!!! fun! Go ahead---eat some yummy carbohydrates and just do it!

RAWGs review=

!!perfect day for this one! 60 degree weather and it just got done raining. I actually got a little chilly after doing all of the climbing. Be advised, do this one counterclockwise. You would not want to come down the Falls, it's much better to go up them. yes -you easily climb over a thousand feet in the first 1.7 miles!!!. if you are brand new to hiking, this one might be tricky for a first-timer:-)
The trail (blue blaze first half -yellow second half) is very clear the whole way except for some portions criss crossing the waterfalls--- rock scrambling included. Would not bring young children on this hike ---unless they are half monkey and/or just badass :)

The RAWG recommends using the following equipment: at least one trekking Pole, ankle supported shoes or boots. (the more waterproof the better :-)

Very beautiful hike-that's the bottom line... & a very very peaceful hike, did not see a soul, except my trekking pole (haha) At mile 5.1 ... just when I thought this was a kinda bland part of the trail...a black bear scrambled down a tree and scared the doggoned Dookie out of me haha. but as I turned my music down, he just scrambled up the hill. (guess it was a boy, I did not see his name tag :-)

In summary--- you will climb for about the first two miles or so. Then you will come to a nice widening of the path.
(which is where I took my snack break... also drink one 3 Liter Camelback on this trip)
Then it's a very wide service road the whole way down. A nice old ass cemetery at the very end of hike- with a "blue" poem sign. I didn't let sadness felt throughout the poem bother me, as life is all about change anyway. you know :-) time marches on.

Again---Very very beautiful hike. especially the first two miles, lots of picture taking and videos. The first half, AKA The Climb...the sound of water will keep you company... the second half AKA The Descent, The Sound of Silence will accompany you.

ñjoy the journey. yes, this one is a blast.:-)

The original RAWG-11jun18

hiking
4 months ago

This has to be the best hike I’ve done in Virginia. The entire first segment you are literally following the river/waterfall up the mountain. The remainder of the hike is a little less spectacular, but still features the gorgeous Shenandoah scenery.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked this in the rain. Incredible hike and TONS OF WATER FEATURES.

hiking
4 months ago

Loved this! So much fun and challenging for the first two miles. Great View around mile 3.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail for leg conditioning. Many steps during the steep climb up along the stream and waterfalls. The return trail is a fire road back to the parking area.

hiking
5 months ago

Best hike in the Shenandoah! Perfect day. Light wind to keep away the bugs and beautiful blue sky. Lots of stream crossing throughout the hike. Definitely a challenging, strenuous hike but SO worth it! Recommend high-top, waterproof, non-skid hiking boots, as there is a lot of tricky stream crossing and rock scrambling.

hiking
5 months ago

Loved the energy of the stream flowing through the gorge and couldn't get enough of it! The little waterfalls and the sound of the water made me want to climb higher and just hang out as people passed by. One group had to turn around and go back because it was too difficult for one of their peeps. i personally didn't think of it as Hard but rather as Exhilarating! I agree that the fire road was not so exciting but we did get a nice pic of the panoramic view. i give it 5 stars because of the energy in the gorge.

hiking
6 months ago

Loved the rock scrambles - couldn't stop grinning!

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome trail! Fire road can get a little boring, but the way up is amazing. I will return

6 months ago

beutiful views while the foliage is still down...4 on the way in -1 on the way out

hiking
6 months ago

Wonderful 3 hour hike for those who are in shape.

hiking
7 months ago

I often prefer hikes with more views, but the gorge rock scramble makes this hike worth it. You are along the creek/river on the way up and it makes the climb a blast. Doing the entire loop makes it closer to 8 or 9 miles. The fire road on the way down is a bit boring, but in the summer when there is a lot of green, early on the fire road is the single best location for a view over the valley, plus the fire road leads to a great old cemetery that adds historical context. Parking was not too bad, even showing up around 0900 midsummer. Strongly recommend doing the route counterclockwise.

hiking
7 months ago

We did this hike during the winter, and we loved it! The rock scramble on the way up was super fun. We ended up taking the Pole Ridge Trail to Piney Branch to Hull School back down to the fire road. In all, it was about 9.5 miles. Took us 4 hours total, and the only part that required some athleticism was the rock scramble at the beginning! Nice little day trip.

7 months ago

Strenuous going up the gorge but definitely worth it. Great view of mountains at top when no foliage. Stop by family cemetery on fire road about a mile from parking lot to learn a little history. And get there early- parking is very limited.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice hike through the gorge to the falls. Definitely recommend to hikers in the area

8 months ago

Walking through the gorge with waterfalls and the river was pretty awesome. I hiked it backward, so the first 3 miles was walking on a fire road, which was a bit of a bummer. Would probably do the gorge as an out and back next time

camping
8 months ago

Any backcountry camping in this area?
Looking for just an overnight... Thanks!

11 months ago

Beautiful little trail. Lots of elevation to get the heart rate up. Peaceful little waterfalls and cascades.

11 months ago

Quite a workout. It’s effectively just cutting up through a gorge. It’s a lot of fun, and quite a bit of climbing over rocks. I️ did get to see a young bear cub, which made for excitement since I knew mama bear couldn’t be too far away. Didn’t have spectacular views, but still a lot of fun.

Load More