Moormans River Overnight Loop via Appalachian Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(48)
Shenandoah National Park

Moormans River Overnight Loop via Appalachian Trail is a 17.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Grottoes, Virginia that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length17.1 miElevation gain3,159 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingFishingHikingBird watchingForestLakeViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeFee
Description
Waypoints (0)

Shenandoah National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $35 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55. This is a great out and back hike with moderate climbs and great footing for the entire trail. Three stream crossings and multiple swimming holes on the South Fork of the Moormon's River portion of the hike. Park at the Sugar Hollow Reservoir upper parking area. Out: South Fork Moormon's River Road - Turk Branch Trail - Turk Gap Parking Area - Cross Skyline Drive - AT South - Turk Mountain Trail. Back: Turk Mountain Trail - AT North - Cross Skyline Drive - Turk Gap Parking Area - Turk Branch Trail - South Fork Moormon's River Road. Great for Fall, Winter and Spring. The primary trails are all south facing which is great for cool weather and steamy in the summertime.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (48)
Photos (432)
Recordings (27)
Completed (125)
View user's profile page
Marc Mazzella
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2021
HikingGreat!Private propertyRocky

Started out clockwise from the parking lot off the Skyline Drive and immediately hit the AT. The Ridgerunners must have recently been through because the trail looked immaculate. Great job guys! The AT section was super dry, no water crossings or even a small stream for about 8 miles so be ready with water. After the trail spur I crossed the valley floor via the North Fork Moormons River Road and the trail became a fire road. As the name suggests you pick up the Moormon at this stage don’t have too many crossings until you turn right onto the North Fork Moorman River Trail. This stretch has multiple River crossings so be ready with the water shoes. There are some truly spectacular waterfalls and cascades along this part and it’s always nice to walk along a river. You will also pass the Sugar Hollow Reservoir if your interested in taking a side trail to explore it. Be aware of the private property along here. The signs warns to stay in the trail, which isn’t difficult given the barbed wire fence along both sides. Once you’re back in the Shenandoah National Park you’ll start a significant assent of approx 4 miles back to the parking lot. I love this whole area and this trail didn’t disappoint. Camping sights are sparse but visible, plenty of places to stealth camp though. There are a ton of swimming holes along the river and if it was later in the year I might have been tempted, it was pretty chilly in that water. I saw lots of kids not so inhibited.

View user's profile page
David Cohen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 12, 2020
Hiking

Parts of this trail along the river are truly beautiful. But when they say river crossing, they mean it. This is not a hike where there are rocks placed across the water and you can hop from rock to rock. Many (most) of the crossings require you to wade into the water; which is fun, but understand that you can not simply walk across. The AT portion is the usual green tunnel.

View user's profile page
Niki Zenzen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 28, 2020
HikingGreat!Private property

I did this hike in one day in about 5 1/2 hours. I wouldn’t classify it as hard but moderate. I did this clockwise because I knew the first half of the trail to black rock summit and wanted to save the river for the later miles. At black rock parking you take a right down the fire road and stay on that quite a while. I wasn’t looking forward to the fire road but it was scenic enough to keep my attention. You do hike the fire road with private property on each side for a few miles. The area along Mormons river is beautiful. Lots of great swimming holes and they stock the water with trout so many people were fishing. Sugar Hollow road also comes down to this area so on nice day’s it’s a popular spot and gets busy! It was low 70’s today and a pretty good amount of people were along this section. I had only passed one person before this. When I made it passed this popular spot and turned back toward Turk mtn I only passed 4 people total for the last few miles. A little over 2 mile gradual climb up Turk mtn trail. All in all a nice loop. Although my watch and alltrails app logged it at 18.5 miles.

View user's profile page
Adam Ninteman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking
View Adam's Recording
View user's profile page
Polly Tait
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

If you do this hike clockwise you won’t hit any water untill you get down to the river, 8.5 miles in, over steep and rocky terrain. We did it counterclockwise and so had the benefit of the river for cooling off and drinking for the first part of the trip. I am not an experienced hiker so I found the length and terrain to be really difficult. We were in over our heads for sure but we are glad we accomplished it. We hiked 4.5 miles day 1, 7 miles day 2, and 5.5 on day 3. Knowing what I know now I would probably like a 12 mile hike over 3 days so that I’m not too exhausted at the end of the day to enjoy the camping part. We had the capacity to carry 3 quarts of water per person and it was barely enough from our last fill up to the end of the hike. A gallon per person would have been much more comfortable. There is no water on the AT part of the trail. You can fill up at the black rock hut about 1 mile or so off the loop further north on the AT but at our pace that would have added at least 2 hours of hard labor to the hike so we decided to make what we had last till we got back to the car. We did this during July so it was hot and sweaty. The river was nice with a few shallow swimming holes, good to cool off in but not deep enough to jump in and swim around. There are several river crossings but at this time of year the water is low enough and we never even got our feet wet. We spent 2 nights hammock camping which was easier than tent camping as there seemed to be very few flat areas to pitch a tent. The trail is well signed and maintained.

View user's profile page
Erika Halloran
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 30, 2020
HikingClosed

Trail closed for Covid 19

View user's profile page
Aaron Firouz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 9, 2020
HikingPrivate property

I enjoyed this trail, but it wasn’t particularly scenic or exciting. There are some nice areas on the valley side along the river: little waterfalls, swimming holes, interesting rock formations. The other half is just slogging up and down through the woods. Early March was still quite cool, with a biting wind. The trail was dry except for where it crosses the river several times, but fairly easy to get across with some rock-hopping. Camping areas seemed pretty limited as most of the trail is along steep terrain, however I did find a spot for my one-person tent and settled in nicely. Half the trail is leisurely with very gradual elevation and the other half is quite strenuous, especially with full gear. Overall it was about 7-ish hours of hiking for me, but that was mostly because it was cold and there weren’t many nice places to rest, so I just pushed through.

View user's profile page
Konrad Heller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 22, 2019
Hiking

Great trail - did it in July in 3 days with my kids, youngest of which is 9. Don’t forget it’ll cost you $30 to enter the Park! Water filtration is key! Day 1: park at Turks Gap, go north on AT for 8 miles before you hit first water source and first campsite. So make sure bottles are filled! Refilled water and hiked another 2, we were slow moving so it made it a little stressful setting up at the next site, but you’ll find a bunch of sites in the woods right by the creek. Nice hammock camping but no open fires when we went. Enough space for small tents, Day 2: lots of river crossings, but no problem in summer. Was a hot day so super nice to have all the water holes. Kids played and we cooled off a bunch and drank water. Hiked about 4 miles and found a hammock spot right by the Charlottesville Reservoir. Bring your fishing pole - Ton of Trout! Kid had fun catching newts. Day 3: 4.5 miles uphill back to car. Tough on the little one, but def doable with breaks. Water with a cool rope swing on first 2 miles, then dry once back in Turk Branch Trail back to trailhead .

View user's profile page
Samantha Metott
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2019
BackpackingRocky

Great trail, saw two timber rattlers on the trail near the reservoir there were a few camp sites about 6 miles in if you head towards the reservoir in the beginning of the loop other than that there weren't any campsites that I could see. some water crossings. Not a bad hike, I would take beginners on the lower side of the loop good introduction to backpacking. The AT was typical and a little more challenging over all a great time. definitely bring water for the AT side gets pretty dry.

View user's profile page
James R
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 5, 2019

Awesome trail, make sure you get water at the end of the river because there isn't any for the last 8 miles

View user's profile page
Maggie Schneider
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 25, 2019
HikingBugsOver grown

Great hike! Not strenuous but a decent amount for a 2-night hike. We followed the NPS recommendation beginning at Turk Gap and hiking north on the AT -> North Fork Moormans River Road -> South Fork Moormans River Road -> north on AT back to Turk Gap. Round trip of 20 miles. Day 1: 8 miles and camped right where the AT meets North Fork Moormans River Road. More campsites on North Fork Moormans River Road before you hit the park boundary. Day 2: 9 miles and camped right where South Fork Moormans River Road meets the AT. **We didn't see any campsites on South Fork Moormans River Road. Day 3: 3 miles out Due to the trees all having leaves there was not a fantastic scenic view besides what you see through trees on the ridge line. Swimming holes were great - huge one on North Fork Moormans River Road that was pretty busy with day hikers. Another one on South Fork Moormans River Road that was less busy but you have to scramble down some rocks to reach it which made it difficult if you have a dog with you. TICK WARNING - Lots of tall grass on South Fork Moormans River Road. At the end of Day 2 found 15 ticks between myself, my husband, and my dog. Most likely our dog picked them up and was transferring them to us, but be prepared.

View user's profile page
Ryan Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 8, 2018
Backpacking

A great weekend trip. We definitely underestimated the number of river crossings. I suggest water shoes or be prepared to stop and take your boots off and put them back on once you cross. The crossings were an inconvenience but they made the trip interesting. I will do this one again.

View user's profile page
Tim M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 5, 2018
Backpacking

Great hike and lots of swimming options, especially for us since we chose a weekend of torrential downpours. This made fording the rivers a bit of an adventure. Started at Turk Gap and, on the recommendation of a buddy, hit the trail counter clockwise. It was mostly down hill or level for the first 12 miles or so. We started climbing right when we were looking for a spot to camp for the night. Unfortunately, the northern portion of the loop is bordered by private property on either side (as noted by signs and barbed wire) and lacks much level terrain. We ended up hitting the AT and heading north another .8 miles up and then down to black rock spring where there was a shelter and ample camp sites. May have been due to the several days of rain, but the camp site was pretty packed w/ thru hikers. Finished the second day heading back south down the AT, where we experienced some moderate climbs intermixed with gradual climbs. Only regret is that we didn’t go on a warmer day when the mandatory swimming (ie river fords) would have been recreational, vice a challenge to surmount. Hike would be much more scenic during spring or fall. Clicked 21.4 miles over the two days. Over all a great hike!

View user's profile page
Del Zorb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 24, 2018
Camping

Hiked in April 2018, camped overnight. Be prepared to cross knee deep streams! Wet feet hindered my experience. Otherwise it is a fun trail and there is plenty to see.

View user's profile page
Anthony Ondrus
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 22, 2018

Hiked it this weekend. Great river fordes!

View user's profile page
Brock McNaughton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 15, 2018
Backpacking

Didn’t expect the Moormans river section to be partially two-tracked, but it was still a beautiful trail with plenty to see!

View user's profile page
Jacob Gearhart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2017

It was long trail but good.

View user's profile page
Dustin Mann
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2017
Backpacking

Did this whole route. Followed the NPS recommendation and started at the Turk Gap parking lot. Did part of the AT then turned onto the North Fork Moorman's trail. Spent the night after 10 miles. I was visited by 2 black bears while filtering my water. As soon as I stood up they took off like lightning, not to be heard of again. Make sure to bring a bear bag and hang your food. After talking to the ranger on my way out he said there are about 400 hundred bears in the park. Not aggressive, but still hang your food. Hiked 8 more miles to finish back to the Turk Gap parking The last 2.5 miles coming back on the Turk Gap Branch Trail was about 1000 feet of elevation gain in that short trek. Was definitely doable but challenging. The leaves were changing colors and the river was really low. It was a beautiful hike.

View user's profile page
Kari N.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2017
Backpacking

Followed the NPS recommendation for this loop. Start at Turk Gap parking, north along AT, over to North Fork Moorman's, then picking up South Fork Moorman's trail for a very beautiful final 7ish miles. There's some great secluded swimming along this loop, but maybe I shouldn't say exactly where? Have fun! Oh, and while parts of the trail are easy as noted by AllTrails, the full loop is moderately strenuous, especially the final elevation gain.

View user's profile page
Kari N.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2017

We did 4 miles out and and back for the sole purpose of swimming. Falls were low at the end of June, but there are plenty of beautiful spots to plunge in along the way.

View user's profile page
Nina Dennis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 20, 2017

Easy hike. The watering hole is great for kids and pets.

View user's profile page
Kasie Sanders
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2016
Hiking
First to Review

We did a shorter hike. It was about 2.5 miles from the parking lot near the reservoir. 3 river crossings, lots of beautiful swimming holes (including one at the bottom of Big Branch Falls.)

View user's profile page
Beck Grimm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 7, 2020
Hiking
View Beck's Recording
View user's profile page
Keith Schofield
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 7, 2020
Hiking
View Keith's Recording
View user's profile page
Niki Zenzen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 27, 2020
Showing results 1 - 25 of 48