We hiked this on a very foggy and cloudy day so we missed all the overlooks. We deviated from the trail recording a bit to follow the signs we saw while hiking. It just added a little bit of distance to our hike. Not super strenuous but it was long. We did this hike clockwise like others mentioned. Not many people on this trail.

One of the best hikes in the DMV area. Great loop. Well maintained. Not muddy even in February. Saw less than 10 people over the course of 5 hours. The actual distance is a bit over 13.5 vs. 11.9 as advertised. The parking lot is slightly north of the trailhead for Mt Marshall Trail. You can park easily at the Jenkins Gap parking area. Also, we have the NPS annual pass so we were able to enter the park for free, but otherwise it is $30 per vehicle. Also if you’re planning on coming in the winter months, make sure to check if Skyline Dr is open due to weather conditions.

We did a night hike up on New Years Eve... was started hiking about a mile further down the hill (longer than what this map shows) because there is a nice paved parking lot there that connects to the AT. The grades are moderate for the most part and only a few short challenging sections. Views to the West are absolutely beautiful, not much to be seen to the East due to trees/brush (even with no leaves). As a note... you are prohibited from camping above 3,500ft there- there is a sign on the trail when you reach that altitude. I would do it again.

Quick, easy trail that features the volcanic columnar joints. Close to other trails to extend your hike.

The multiple lookouts/views throughout South Marshall and North Marshall are excellent. The least interesting part of this loop was probably Bluff trail and would recommend going down Big Devils Stairs (just to the view) for a change in scenery. Not much to see on Mount Marshall Road but was probably more scenic than Bluff Trail...had quite a bit of change in the trail as it wound around the mountain ridges and could even see view through the trees most of the way in late fall/winter. Mount Marshall Road does have several small stream/spring crossings as well. Did this loop as part of longer loop/out-and-back from Front Royal. All of the trails are well marked/maintained.

The write up on all-trails said 11.5. when I mapped it on all-trails it came to 12.5. Reality it was 13.4. makes a big difference when the sun is going to set at 5pm. We started the hike at Jenkins Gap and went counter-clockwise. While some of the hills look daunting on the elevation map, there weren't really any that were that bad. The trail was nice, couple areas with a tree fallen over the tail but easily navigated, well marked, very lightly traveled (we saw two hikers and two runners on the AT). we stopped and ate lunch at the hut (name escapes me) and got a little mixed up and added another 1.6 miles (again we were thinking we were on a max 12.5 miles hike) so we had to hoof it at the end to beat sunset. We made it with ~30 minutes to spare. Next time I'd probably want to do an overnight so we could do some of the extra off-shoot hikes.

Easy but not flat! Be careful if you have bad knees. Well maintained and marked.

Parked at Jenkins Gap & hiked clockwise. Mt. Marshall Trail, Bluff Trail, AT, added in Big Devils Stairs (must do!). Water options were good on Mt. M & Bluff. Also water at Gravel Springs hut. Best views were at bottom of Big Devils Stairs and on the AT. Suggest a drive to Hogwallow Flats overlook on Skyline for the sunrise. We casually did the 16 mile loop in one day, starting at Jenkins at 1000 and ending at Jenkins at 1700 to setup camp. We found one tick, a stick bug, scared a small bear, and saw lots of chipmunks and squirrels.

Awesome hike. Went clockwise along the loop starting around 3:30 in the afternoon. Around the 8 mile mark doing this, you will come to an epic overlook that faces west which makes it perfect for watching sunsets! Only saw 2 other people the whole time.

I must be out of shape bc the hike up is moderate not easy to me. But once you make it up to the overlook, its got a nice view and the hike back is easy and fast down. We also went down the stairway to the geological rocks and that was rough down and back up. Took us like 2/2.5 hrs and we were slow going.

This was a pretty nice hike. Jenkins Gap is ok but it’s actually just a pull-off point on skyline drive so you don’t really have to hike out there unless you want the miles. The basalt columns are neat as well, but it’s definitely a steep (albeit short) descent to get there. Compton’s Peak was definitely worth it. The overlook is beautiful and not too difficult to get to. With a little walking on skyline to see Jenkins gap overlook we did 5.5

I really enjoyed this trail. There were a lot of little streams that crossed the trail that made Hong’s interesting and allowed us to refill our water. We camped one night off the devils stairs trail which was easy to get to from this trail. I gave this trail 4 stars just because there were so many ticks. We went in mid June right after it rained so it’s possible this had something to do with it. But overall, a fun hike.

Fam bam time well spent on a Monday mid afternoon . Trail head was right across the parking lot , the drive in the Shenandoah Mts never disappoints and neither does each new trail discovered ! With 4 adults, ESA chihuahua, a child and toddler in tow we made it to the intersection where it splits off to the left , right, or forward ahead. We lingered to the left , but downward was the rock scramble which was nice cause we got to take our time due to the lack of hikers that day hehe. Everyone took multiple water breaks , and when we all found our spot to enjoy lunch it was truly a magic moment. Temperature was perfect , sunny an shady in areas. Bugs were about but not swarming everywhere , I bring tea tree oil every time I’m on the east coast. Best part of traveling this miracle of a world is the memories created and laughter shared .

over grown
10 months ago

I would give this trail more stars if it wasn't so overgrown and filled with blowdowns (5 good sized ones in a one mile stretch on Bluff). It was pretty and luckily I had a great day for weather.

Trail had a couple of overlooks that were gorgeous! But I did the entire loop with Big Devil’s Stairs and had difficulty finding the Peak trail on the south side of the loop. Ended up skipping it. My favorite part was between the Gravel Springs hut and the peaks. More elevation, good views, more nice hikers to meet. Water sources are best between waterfall branch and Jordan river and at the hut. Other parts listed from my Falcon Guide were pretty dry and it was the day after a storm. I backpacked this over two days. Meant for it to be a 2.5 day easy trip but the trail didn’t have much elevation change and I was able to cover 22mi (with side trails) in 22hrs (one night stay). Super easy compared to the Smokies AT and Old Rag. Some downed trees but not difficult to go around/climb over/under. I decided to trek through so quickly because after a while the trail seemed monotonous. Saw a rattlesnake off of Big Devils Stairs under a boulder, saw ticks in ground/rocks and came across some deer. Didn’t get any ticks, but I also sprayed all over my boots and legs. Some parts of high grass and I wore shorts. Very shaded route. Decent primitive campsite at Big Devils Stairs.

over grown
11 months ago

Overall pretty good trail, will definitely get you sweating. There are a few trees that have fallen over the path and will require you to go around or under them. Could do without the 12 ticks I left with but whatever. Came a little later in the evening than I should have so I figured I should run to avoid the dark. Ended up staring at the ground running until I noticed I was running directly in to a bear 20 feet from the guy I realized what was going on and almost pissed myself. Ran the other way for an hour, ended up running into another bear. Guess it comes with the territory, just be aware of proper bear etiquette.

over grown
11 months ago

Great hike - few scenic spots but otherwise mostly walking in the woods. Took it clockwise starting with Marshall Trail / Bluff Trail / AT - total was just under 14mi; excluding lunch - took 4.5 hours. Be careful for ticks - the trail is moderately kept up (especially on the AT) but parts of the others needed some cleaning.

"I remember the time an older man asked me when I was young, "Do you know what you are doing now?" I thought it was some kind of a trick question. 'Tell me,' I said. "You are building your memories," he replied, "so make them good ones." -Ravi Z.

it was a nice easy hike. definitely stop at the overlook, the view is amazing.

Did an overnight hike on this trail. I hiked it clock wise by walking up skyline drive, a short 5 min walk to the Marshall trail head. I feel like doing it traveling this direction brings up the difficulty as there seems to be a lot more up hill hiking that starts after the first split headed to Bluff Creek. I also took in Big Devils Staircase that intersects with Bluff Creek. If you are hiking and need to filter water for drinking I would suggest filling up in this area as I found no water sources past Skyline on the AT part of the loop. I would suggest doing this hike counterclockwise as there are also more camping opportunities on the Marshall/Bluff Creek side leaving you a short hike out. Also many many water sources.

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