Mary's Rock via the Appalachian Trail (Southern Approach)

MODERATE 101 reviews
#23 of 185 trails in

Mary's Rock via the Appalachian Trail (Southern Approach) is a 2.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sperryville, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 2.4 miles Elevation Gain: 754 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash


nature trips


bird watching



wild flowers



Directions from Front Royal, VA: Skyline Drive travels the entire length of Shenandoah National Park. Mile markers are placed along the right-hand side of the road heading south. They are numbered from north to south beginning at the northern terminus in Front Royal, Virginia. Facilities, trails and park features use the mile markers as points of reference. Park in the Meadow Spring parking area at mile 33.5. Trail begins across the Drive just a few feet south of the parking lot.

2 months ago

This trail starts out with stairs most of the way up but isn’t too bad after that. Really pretty views!

2 months ago

great trek up to beautiful blue ridge views definitely among the birds and clouds once up at the rock plateau. way steeper than taking the Pinnacle lot hike. A great workout hike!! #SNP500 #hikemywayto500

2 months ago

Short hike right off the Skyline. Moderate elevation, but this hike can be done in a little over an hour. Gorgeous views! The fireplace remnants from the old AMC hit are cool too!

3 months ago

Very fun short trail to a really nice view. There was a good amount of traffic but not terrible. The ascent up was moderately strenuous but made for a nice quick track down!

Awesome hike!! Loved it!

3 months ago

Great hike up with a rewarding view! there was still some ice in certain spots hanging off the rocks but it made for a beautiful setting. A lot more rocks the closer you get to the top but definitely worth it. The hike in total took us maybe 2.5 hours and we sat up at the top for a good while.

Great little hike with amazing views at the top. Was a bit crowded at the top but I went on a beautiful Sunday midday. Trail is currently a little muddy from snow melt but nothing a good pair of shoes can’t handle. Good for families, people who don’t usually hike, dogs, etc. Would definitely do it again.

8 months ago

Quick easy hike with a great view.

10 months ago

Great hike!

11 months ago

This is a good introductory trail to SNP. It’s pretty short but heavy on the elevation change, with really nice views at the end. You’ll never find yourself alone at the top on a nice day, but there are some small, quiet outcroppings below the peak that are nice for lunch. However, I do love seeing people getting out and enjoying our national parks!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Good trail good views

Monday, May 28, 2018

This was a fun hike! The views at the top are magnificent! Shenandoah is such a beautiful place. My kids and husband did this hike with me and we enjoyed the flowers, the views and the small rock scramble at the top. About 1/4 mile from the trailhead the trail had a few inches of water running over top of it. This went on for a quarter mile or so. It was easier to walk through the water with a rocky bed than the muddy mess beside the trail. The area had a heavy storm the night before, so we had expected some wet terrain. The right shoes helped. Overall, I would highly recommend this hike.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Great hike!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Amazing trail!

Monday, November 06, 2017

Great views with pretty minimal effort. Several spots along the way to stop for snacks or lunch and enjoy the scenery.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Highly recommend this short day hike. Can be done in under 2 hours at a moderate pace with a short rest at the top. It’s a beautiful shaded walk up hill and includes part of the Appalachian Trail. Bring some water with you. We wore hiking boots, but it could definitely be done in sneakers. The view from the top is beautiful- pretty spectacular especially considering how quickly you can get there.

Friday, September 01, 2017

This trail is moderate to strenous and straight up.  The trail itself is very nice and shaded.  There are some nice views along the way and the summit is cool look out. It is a rocky trail so your feet might hurt some.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Easy access from the Thornton Gap entrance of Shenandoah. Plentiful parking, and the directions from AllTrails take you right there. The hike is short and relatively easy - uphill for the first 1/2 or so, but there are plenty of natural and manmade "stairs." The path itself wasn't too crowded, but there were a bunch of people at the top. A bit before the actual summit there's an outcropping off to the side - would recommend setting up for a break there if you can. Overall, great hike and beautiful views. I would do it again.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Be sure to catch this one on a not-so-foggy day. Great views.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Nice moderate trail ive done a handful of times now. Pretty good if you are just getting into hiking like i was.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Had a great hike and ended up in the clouds the day I hiked Mary's Rock. The trail has been created along the side of the mountain with great rock formation. The boulders that are real sting on the side of the mountain are incredible in size. The view from the peak is breath taking. The echo through the mountains surrounding are amazing. Motor cycles were taking off way in the distance and they sounded as if right next to me. Mary's rock is challenging but very doable for any novice hiker.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A moderate hike to a large rock outcrop where you can view the Shenandoah Valley. Park in the Meadow Springs lot at MP 33.5. The closest restroom is in the Panorama lot at MP 31.6.

Friday, January 06, 2017

skyline was closed so we decided to try this out. Good quick hike. Nice views and the summit area is very nice for lunch. Great for beginners or just a quick out and back. Not very challenging nice easy walk up and quick return...

Monday, November 07, 2016

Wonderful hike, great for families, 4 kids 4-10 years old made it up and back without being carried. If you do not have the time to drive further into the park the proximity to the Thornton Gap entrance make this hike one of the best for hikers looking for spectacular views. Being a Autumn leaves weekend it was busy so start early if you do not want to wait in line at the entrance.

Monday, October 10, 2016

awesome trail. lots of overlooks.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Great hike but steep in some places. The top view was worth every step. I'm not sure if take my dogs. It's very rocky (small rocks) in spots can't be easy on they're paws. Is definitely 3.5 miles round trip.

Monday, August 15, 2016

We really enjoyed climbing the top and the view. Nice little hike. Quite the climb at the beginning though, fairly steep

Monday, August 15, 2016

Relatively easy hike to a nice payoff at the top. View was better than expected. If you have time, there are a few other rocks to climb on at the top to get even better views than the standard viewpoint delivers. Climb the tallest rock in sight (left of main viewpoint) and you'll find a US Geological Survey plaque at the top announcing that you've reached 3,514 feet above sea level (only room for one person on this rock). We also encountered a mother bear and her cubs on the hike back (right by the chimney on the trail), which added another layer of excitement.

Friday, August 12, 2016

This hike was awesome. We were staying in Luray and after days of driving 45+ minutes to trails, wanted to find a good one very close to our park entrance, Thornton Gap. This was a few miles south of the entrance, and I'm so glad we found it!! Not sure why it doesn't have a lot of reviews but it was awesome. Very steep for a little less than a mile on the way up, then intersects with the AT and flattens out. The views were spectacular!!! Almost panoramic view if you climb to the very top. And we saw a baby bear on the trail! Cannot recommend enough (as long as you are ok with a steep climb for the first half), would definitely do again. What a hidden gem!

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