Explore the most popular Cross Country Skiing trails in Virginia with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
rocky
5 days ago

I did a partial hike of this loop, eschewing the Stephens Trail entirely. We hiked from Stephen Trail Parking to Kennedy Peak via the Masshutten Trail. Beautiful day with a great vista of the South Fork Shenandoah River, Duncan Knob and Luray. We encountered several other groups, including a trio of horses and a mule. God willing I hike the full loop in the future.

cool. muddy today but a lot of options.

Great trail - wide and well marked.There's a $5 admission fee per carload into the park. The trail was muddy on the day I went. It was a little slippery and made for slow going. There's a nice overlook with views of Paris, VA. We saw a bunch of turkey vultures. Parking is ample and there are restrooms available at the visitor center.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Good trail, a bit muddy this time of year. Some birds out (for my birding friends). Nice trail, easygoing hike, great for families with small children.

hiking
muddy
scramble
1 month ago

Even in the winter, this trail is a good easy to moderate hike, offering great views of the Potomac both near the river and above. There are a couple of stream crossings to be mindful, it can be very muddy and sloppy in spots, and their are some steep climbs. But overall, I’m glad I’ve checked this off my list. I will be back!

backpacking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

paired this with duncan knob. awesome overnighter

muddy
snow
2 months ago

Went for a trail run/hike MLK weekend. The trail was well worn. Some areas were muddy, slick, and still snow covered, but nothing boots or goretex trail shoes with gaiters can't handle.

I started on the upper Orange ridge trail, went to the peak, and loved the view. I added a few meters of "bonus adventure trails," thanks in part to snow but mostly me not paying attention. I completely blew past both switchback areas mentioned in the comments:

-The first is a rather clearly marked switchback on Orange; there is an emblazoned forked tree trunk and a small wall of rocks to guide you though in snow it was not clear and there is a trail of sorts on the other side which can lead you heading toward the wrong side of the peak; keep the peak on your right.

-The second is the transition from Orange to Yellow after the peak..today it was marked by blue tape on the trees. I just was on a running roll and flew by it. It was nice to break new snow at least!

The yellow trail bit is best for trail running, but the whole loop was a nice way to disperse pent up energy just enough to then cozy up in a nearby cabin.

If you park at the upper parking area, it ends with a nice steep ascent that today had an odd concentration of horse tracks and manure from the lower parking area to the upper parking area back on Orange. This was the sloppiest part of the entire trail, and I admit it had me huffing and puffing. Good way to end a nice moderate loop!

Took me about 3 hrs, with some running, walking, and picture taking pauses.

We hiked this trail in January 2019. We really enjoyed it. The water levels were high enough that we had to wade through the river. Come prepared. The elevation climb wasn't bad at all. As we turned towards the falls, the trail was a bit hard to follow due to fallen tree limbs. There were few people on the trail. We would definitely do it again.

Great hike. Challenging with all the fresh snow, but gorgeous and very rewarding.

It was 14.1 miles when we finished on Jan. 3, a perfectly overcast, 40° day. The distance included a couple short detours to rocky overlooks and .25 miles back to the parking lot. The wildlife consisted of a singular squirrel. It’s definitely a lightly traveled route, so go with a pal and prepare accordingly, since you may not see anyone else out there.

Hiked this loop on 12-30–18, starting with Kennedy peak and looping back up from the west. Great views along the ridge and up and down Kennedy peak. The trail was in good condition for the most part. Took two of us and a dog about 4.5 hours with about 15 minutes on Kennedy Peak. It was a Sunday before New Years so there were a lot of people (with dogs) at the peak and on the trail. We passed one group of about 10 people, several families, and a dude on a horse.

The only trouble we had was the transition from the orange to yellow blazed trail along the ridge. The intersection is now marked with a stack of three stones as the path was hard to recognize with the fallen leaves. This hike is worth doing once, but if your looking for solitude, check it out on a weekday.

Very muddy but a good trail for kids.

I agree with all the reviews here. I both love this place and am disgusted by the way folks (particularly in the summer months) treat what has been set aside as a “nature preserve.” If you get the chance to enjoy the beauty and solitude of this natural escape by the Potomac, and feel strongly about protecting it, please contact Riverbend Nature Center about participating in Scotts Run clean ups or collect trash when you can and report any illegal activity. And if you get a chance to hike to the river overlooks watch out for my father’s memorial bench along the trail (the one with a river view when the leaves fall), have a seat and enjoy the woods!

A little rocky, but overall a great hike for people and pups alike!

Nice little loop with a section that has great river views. Went during the fall and most of the trail is wooded, so I really enjoyed the hike. Mostly flat, but some rocky hill sections near the river. Parking is limited during peak times.

It was a nice hike, but short as the river was kinda high. We watched a some guys go across and it was Knee deep. Best part was seeing a bear on the way back. It was up on the ridge, just nosing around. It may have wanted to go to the river, which is stocked with trout, but there were enough people about to change his mind. Be warned- it’s pretty popular and parking is pretty limited. Also, there aren’t any porta-johns there, so plan ahead. We can’t wait to try it again!

hiking
4 months ago

I met the love of my life on this trail, so I’m biased;)

Overall an easy trail, probably rated moderate for the water crossings (lots of places you just need to wade through, but since the trail terrain itself is fairly flat path you can just wear chacos in the summer.)
Most fun I’ve ever had on a simple out and back, multiple water crossings and swimming holes, fairly impressive waterfall with sufficient rainfall at the end, GREAT swimming hole too. Even if you’re wearing all your clothes, just jump in. You’ll fall in love.

I started off on the South Ridge Trail which has some decent elevation gain but not too terrible, went to the AT, down Ambassador Whitehouse and detoured off to the North Ridge Trail instead of the Piedmont Overlook so that I could stay in the shade (the trail to Piedmont Overlook is mostly in direct sunlight) - was roughly 5.5 miles. It was very buggy - be sure to bring bug spray. Some sections of the South and North Ridge Trails were a bit overgrown - so long pants may be best. Beautiful views and some amazing wild flowers! There is a $5 admission fee. You can pick up a park map at the entrance. There is plenty of parking at the visitor center (with an overflow parking lot for busy days). There are also bathrooms at the visitor center.

Great hike but very crowded, crossed the creek 3 times water low had no problem. The falls at the end were very pretty!

Fun waterfall hike. Some of the river crossings will result in wet feet so next time I do this will bring water shoes. Go early to avoid crowds.

Hiked from Gravel Springs to see the overlooks on the Appalachian Trail.

Nice hike from skyline drive to creek and back with my two labs

7 months ago

if the loop is done counter-clockwise, your journey is going to be more quiet. Just know as you approach the water at Stubblefield Falls the rock scramble is very steep. The Scotts Run Falls were smelly and loaded with trash. There were people drinking beer and some of them looked underage. Lots and lots of people swimming in spite of warning signs not to swim. one girl was naked! Pretty day as was quiet until I got to Scotts Run Falls. Trails were blazed according to the color coded map. An ok afternoon, could be better could be worse.

Fun river crossings and a easy hike up and back. I recommend going in the mornings to beat the crowds.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike. Our dogs loved crossing the water many times.

I loved the little creeks with carefully placed stones to hop across. Also, the paths are spacious. Although I was disappointed by the situation I found at the waterfall. “No swimming, wading, or bathing” is clearly marked in at least two locations; one at the base of the waterfall and another on the trail as you approach the waterfall. They are big and describe the consequences in smaller detail including possible arrest and a $250 fine! The scene was beautiful despite the insistence of a white trash summer (clothes and trash thrown everywhere along with half-naked teens and small children romping through it). I was mildly disgusted as I ventured out for a pleasant hike with hopes of seeing the waterfall here in all of its glory. What I found was a gorgeous backdrop to a bunch of unruly visitors unwilling to keep their clothes on. These are not beaches and should not be treated the same way. Come for the view not the more obvious guilty pleasure of a few that seem to come and go without regard to anyone else.

Nice day hike to lovely falls at the top. Several rock crossings may leave you with wet boots! Or wear your swimsuit and take a dip.

I enjoyed this trail, and definitely improved my stamina coming up the big incline from the waterfall. The heartbreaking part of this trail is all of the trash that people have left behind. Next time I go, I'll take a trash bag with me to clean up a bit.

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