Trayfoot Mountain Trail

MODERATE 31 reviews
#43 of 166 trails in

Trayfoot Mountain Trail is a 9.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Grottoes, 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 November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

9.9 miles
2,299 feet

dogs on leash


nature trips


bird watching



wild flowers


trail running
1 month ago

Was able to make the loop in three hours of steady pace. Give yourself longer if you want to enjoy the summit and pause to eat.

2 months ago

Also parked at end of Horsehead Rd and did trail clockwise. Skyline Drive was closed that day because there had been an ice storm 4 days before. So on the trail there were lots of blowndown branches and limbs- but all were passable. Even had some areas of ice on trail, but more crunchy than slick. Hike up Trayfoot was long but not too steep - a good workout. Since leaves were off the trees, I had lots of good views both east and west since much of time on a ridgeline. Got to BlackRock summit and it was spectacular views in many directions. I was only one around and it was special to have the summit to myself. Hike down Paine Run trl was uneventful - it is more like a fire road. However, due to this season of rain, I had 2 water crossings going up and 3 coming down. Passable with water shoes ( came up just short of knee) but water was really cold. Total distance was 10.5 miles

8 months ago

We parked at the Horsehead Rd. trailhead (we were the only car there on a beautiful Thursday morning) and began our hike, heading clockwise around the loop. Thanks to well-placed rocks, we easily crossed two raging streams. The climb up Trayfoot isn't steep, but it is long. Eventually we reached the summit, but foliage obscured all views. After a steep descent, we found the Blackrock spurr trail. Ten minutes later we were on Blacktop, where we encountered our first people of the day. After enjoying the spectacular views and a nice lunch, we used a paper map, GPS, and trail markers to find our way across Skyline Drive and the Payne Run trailhead. The walk down Payne Run is easy but a bit wet in spots. We crossed several streams during the last mile, and returned to our vehicle. This hike isn't strenuous, but it is long. Decent navigation skills are essential. Our GPS recorded this hike as being 10.5 miles. Our hiking time was 5 hours.

9 months ago

I started from Grottoes and hiked up to Skyline. This was such a lovely trail along a ridgeline! At this time of year (when leaves haven’t fully come in), you can see views on both sides. Trayfoot Summit doesn’t stand out especially, but the trail was great, and Black Rock Summit is beautiful. The first several miles were 90% of the elevation gain. To leave from Grottoes, AllTrails will lead you to the end of a neighborhood cul de sac, and the fire road leaving from it has no obvious marking. If you continue down the road, you should see a sign for the trail within a few tenths of a mile. I made the mistake of not downloading the trail map and thinking I could follow instructions in the comments for the trail. When I arrived at the parking lot for Black Rock Summit, I saw no stone wall, and when I turned right on Skyline Drive, I meandered for a half mile without finding a fire road. I ended up doubling back on my previous path, which was still a nice hike, but I missed the loop. I saw a large adult black bear, chipmunks, salamanders, squirrels, and song birds.

11 months ago

Lovely. After winds there are a lot of leaves on the trail. A few good look out spots. Rocky but runable. Creeks with fun Rock crossings. Well maintained.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

This was a terrific hike. If you start in Shenandoah Valley and go clockwise, you climb the tough hills first. While you're climbing, there are some long level spots where you can look down on both the Valley and Skyline Drive. After you complete the tough summits, you arrive at Blackrock Summit, where you have a magnificent view of Trayfoot Mountain, the mountain you just climbed. The remaining portion is smooth--a section of the AT and a gradual descent on a fire road.

The previous commenters are right--after the AT hits Skyline Drive, stay to your right on Skyline Drive along the stone wall, then go straight through the small parking lot, and you'll see the right fire road to take home.

Dog friendly.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

I went clockwise on this loop and loved it. I will definitely do it again. When the trail comes to the Skyline Drive But sure to keep walking to the parking lot (and counterclockwise to the end of the stone wall) otherwise it is very hard to know where the trail is if you are following the AllTrails map. It is not accurate in that section . Otherwise it was a great hike!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

We had our two children with us and we only made it 4 miles. It was a decent trail. My daughter and I spotted an orange salamander which was the highlight of wildlife that we saw. We did see a few bear droppings on the trail.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I followed the direction on Alltrails that led me to the park fire road. From the fire road I turned left and followed Trayfoot Mountain Trail to the Black Rock. Up on the Black Rock there is a near 360 degree beautiful view plus you got to climb on the strange rock formations. My Alltrails record showed the total distance was 10.4 miles with elevation of 2,336 feet. Total time to finish was close to 5 hours with moving time wa 3:27 with average speed of 3.0 MPH. In retrospect, I should start at the Blackrock Gap parking area on the west side of Skyline Drive south of Milepost 87. I also had trouble to find the trailhead when I crossed the Skyline Drive on the way back. So that counted for the extra miles. Overall it was a fun and exhilarating hike.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Excellent morning hike. Did the whole loop. Took me 4hrs 45min. with a few stops here and there. Ended up with 12.1 miles. Beware, I couldn't find a very suitable "people crossing" across the stream in the south most corner, near the end got me since I stayed the loop going north. I went up stream and got lucky and stayed dry. Otherwise, excellent trail.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Great trail with good elevation gain. We started out going north and while there was heavy fog for the first half of the hike, the Blackrock Summit landscape was really cool in that weather - almost something out of a movie set. After the a detour scramble to the top of the summit rock formation, the rest of the trail sets off through dense, lush forests. There is a stream at about the 2/3 mark with relatively easy crossings.

Trail was lightly traveled and we saw more wild life than hikers, including a deer and 2 black bears. We'll plan to head back sometime in the fall once the leaves change.

Unless you're really up for a challenge, I'd recommend traveling the trail counterclockwise (start going north).

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Nice trail with good views at black rock summit and buzzard rock....Nice river after 5 horas total 7 hours hiking slow, watching both mountains from the top was pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

This was a really fun trail. I started at Blackrock summit parking area, which makes the summit a fairly easy hike. Blackrock is really amazing slope of boulders and rocky paths that you can go in and around at the top.

From there, it is an up and down hike, with long stretches of ascent to the Trayfoot summit. the trail continues all along the ridge. It being summer, the views from the trail were limited, but I imagine they are terrific looking both east and west. It was here I saw two bears cross my path and descend into the hollow. I ended up nervously following them (not on purpose) down off the ridge.

The descent is fairly quick down to the stream, which I paralleled as I walk back up on a long ascent on the horse trail (Paine Run). I could hear the water rushing down below for the first two miles or so, as the creek rose with me. A final grueling switchback (I was carrying a pack), and I reached the trail head at Blackrock Gap. But before you take the final trail, you could explore a little side trail to Blackrock Springs that is really short.

I then took the AT back up (meaning north and also UP) the the original parking area. At the end of a long hike (took about 6 hours), this section was very difficult for me. Just a straight climb with few level spots. I stopped to check out the shelter, which was about 1/3rd way up, where I eventually camped that night. The expert hikers were taking on water here from a spring, and they said it was one of the best supplies they have found at the shelters.

An excellent half day hike. It is amazing when you look up at the ridge from below to see the total elevation covered on this hike.

15 days ago

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday, October 08, 2017

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