One of my favorites in VA. This is one hike I do every summer. The camping spots are some of the best I’ve seen on any trails in the area. One bonus about this hike is that it’s right down the street from Devils Backbone brewery, perfect for a nice meal and drinks after the strenuous trek.

hiking
bugs
muddy
scramble
2 days ago

I went in January and it was a nice hike, but after a rain and surrounded by the summer foliage.... it was quite an amazing hike with the waterfalls in full beauty. It was rather busy from people going clockwise because it is easier, but I did both counterclockwise. You have this sort of technical down-climb at the waterfalls on MHT and then the ~4 mile steady uphill climb that can be pretty brutal. Plenty of water on the MHT and in wet conditions there are a few places that you can get water on the AT section. But, if you are doing it in the summer, make sure you do the AT section with plenty of water. It is more exposed and the climb is tiring.

on Sherando Cliffs

walking
bugs
closed
6 days ago

The road to the recreation area is closed due to COVID-19 and maintenance, but you can park across the street and walk past the gate. It's a 1.6 mile walk from the gate to the lake, and then you can catch the little cliff loop trail. That adds up to a 4.5 mile walk, but it's easy and beautiful. There are a bunch of different blossoms on the bushes, and combined with the babbling river and the glassy lake, it was just what we were looking for in an easy hike. Quite a few people were coming and going on the road for fishing or cycling, but it is Memorial Day, so you'd expect higher traffic. it wasn't crowded by any means. I will say that the main picture looking down a rocky cliff is misleading for this trail. That is for another trail that overlooks the Sherando Cliffs Loop. You can see that rocky cliffside from this little hike, but this trail doesn't take you up there.

hiking
7 days ago

Tough trail, closer to 16 miles than 13. A lot of ascents and descents. Couple of good views, plenty of water and camping spots along the trail. Fun hike!

It’s there. It’s a trail, but with so many other great options so close, this one doesn’t deserve to be on anyone’s bucket list.

hiking
18 days ago

great trail. meant to do it as a backpacking loop and spend the night, but got far enough in I didn't feel like sleeping at 5. definitely recommend.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

national forest closed 4/22

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

We did this hike counterclockwise starting at Reeds Gap - tough but the last leg was mostly downhill. Lots of water sources on the Mau Har section. Doable as a day hike (we clocked in around 7 hours) but could also be done as an overnight trip.

Closed due to COVID

hiking
1 month ago

Did the full circuit in 6 hours. Based on the distances posted on signs, it should be roughly 13.7mi total. Pretty decent 4.6mi hike to the summit with a nice vista at Hanging Rock. Downhill on the south side is pretty rocky, highly recommend you have trekking poles. Mau Har section is pretty tough, you have to scramble over rocks and it’s a long uphill at the end of your hike. But it is beautiful in that section. The trail runs alongside a creek with many, many small waterfalls for approx two straight miles. I did this a few days after the area got 4-5” of rain so the creeks were swollen. That made the 10ish creek crossings on Mau Har pretty tough and in need of improvisation. Again, trekking poles are your friend. Overall, great hike. Very challenging and it feels pretty remote. Will definitely do this again.

hiking
1 month ago

Did in early April. Great hike! Some posters recommended going the opposite direction from the recommended route; I’d stick with what’s recommended as when you take the Mau-Har trail going back you’ll be going upstream and get to look at all the cool waterfalls and swimming holes. If it’s hot out, you could cool off during the slog. Some posters also mentioned this hike “only” has like two viewpoints. It’s true that there’s probably only like three knock your socks off vistas but if you go in early/late spring you can see through the trees as you’re descending the ridge and get great views of the valleys below. Phone app said hike was 14.5 miles but I did some smaller side viewpoints as well.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

I would do this trail clockwise. I completed it counterclockwise simply because I saw some folks starting the other way. Keep your head up, as the signs don't stand out, I ended up doubling back at two points because I missed the turns. a lot of rocks, but I think it would've been better going the other direction. A lot of people at the waterfall. Only a few views, but a good place to get some miles in.

hiking
1 month ago

overall the hike was alright, not too fantastic. the real bummer is that the whole final leg (I hiked counter clockwise) was just walking on a road. And what's worse is that the road had a speed limit of like 50mph, so if you're doing this hike I would definitely recommend bring some hi-viz for the stretch after the lake. Decent views off the hills for the first half but that whole post-lake stretch was a bummer.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

This is an awesome trail. Definitely has some difficult climbs if you do it in the opposite direction, which is what I did. I still would recommend doing it the opposite as it leaves the best overlook for last. The Mau-Har Trail has some cool waterfalls and multiple places to take a dip in. It is a long and hard day hike. My iPhone tracked 16 miles. I don't know how accurate that is but it's definitely more than 13.3. Reid's Gap is where I parked. Super easy to find and makes for a beautiful drive up. When I do it again, I will definitely make it a two day hike.

hiking
1 month ago

I enjoyed this trail but it is falsely advertised. This trails ends up being around 16 miles and not the 13.3 miles that this app says it is. It has about 1 or 2 good overlooks but thats about it. Not much too see on this hike, but a great hike if you want to challenge yourself.

hiking
2 months ago

One of my favorite hikes. Pretty difficult, but definitely worth the trek. Had a couple good swimming holes if you go in the summer time.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Backpacked this over 2 days as a possible Scouting trip. It was one of the most beautiful trails I have been on, very manageable but still tough enough to be fun. I started at the parking lot and went clockwise. I would recommend this route as the uphills are more solid and you don't end up trying to scramble down rocks with a 30-40 lbs pack. The shelters were in great shape, as well as the trail. I saw maybe a little over a dozen people in two days, but other than that it was very quiet and secluded. I am in decent shape and it was tough but still extremely doable. Tons of water, so bring your filters if you plan on filling up. It was a wonderful trail and I would recommend it to any of my friends.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

Hiked with wife and dog. It was ok; trail was a bit rocky at times. One fallen tree over trail but easy to go around. Two separate lookouts off to the west from the blue ridge which were great- no one else was with us at the lookouts. Saw three other hiking groups on the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice easy trail. Good for dogs because you walk along a stream. Should be beautiful in the fall.

hiking
4 months ago

The parking area on the directions is incorrect. When you come up to an intersection near the trail head, the parking area is the one you expect it to be. It’s not further down the road where the GPS location likely is in the navigation app. I got there after sunrise, maybe 9:30, and there were a fair number of people there. I did it clockwise and saw about 4-6 people packing up camp or heading back to their cars. The rest of the trail I was all alone and, I like many va hikes, I couldn’t hear anything except nature for hours. The isolation of this hike in winter was pretty great. I didn’t see people until the top (two people) and until I got near the last few miles where a lot of people were walking dogs. The parking lot was pretty packed upon return. So, either people were just doing short hikes with pets, or were quite a ways behind me. The views were nice for a covered hike like this. Very little exposure, in my opinion. I can imagine in the summer this is nearly totally covered. There were lots of stream crossings and several waterfalls. I recommend waterproof boots just so you can comfortably cross these without having to dance over rocks to avoid getting wet. I will have to do this again in the summer. It seems like a great summer hike. As a winter hike, it was mainly just a nice, private training hike.

Trail is nice and well marked. The huge rock overlook is overgrown around by tall trees. Since it is winter, I could easily see the overview, which was stunning towards sunset. This is a great hike for late fall-early spring for the view.

hiking
5 months ago

One of my favorite day hikes. I’m glad to get it logged. Went counter clockwise/did mau har first. Shout out to the trail runners who passed me twice. Y’all some savages.

hiking
7 months ago

Did this hike on 10/19/19 in about 7 hours with one 20 minute break and several other 5ish minute ones..... definitely a hard but overall rewarding hike with good trail conditions though I agree with others in that it’s definitely at least 14.5 miles total (my Apple Watch was saying 16 miles but I do question how accurate that thing is)... after completing it I wouldn’t want to do it when it’s hot outside so I would suggest spring or fall if your thinking about tackling it. I started from the Reid’s gap parking area right at 7am and went clockwise through the trail. There were already several vehicles there and only a few parking spots remaining so I’d recommend getting there early. If your going just for the best views I’d recommend doing it like this and making it an in-and-out trail ending at the top of the first knoll as I personally found the rest of the hike rather challenging (with the views not as rewarding as the first vista) when done in this direction but not without its own rewards for those willing (especially if the water is flowing down Campbell’s creek). I did see one bear cub about 1.5 miles in (but didn’t see mama though I’m sure she wasn’t far) and 2 deer as well shortly after. All water sources but Campbell’s creek were dry and Campbell’s creek had only a small amount flowing... looked like it would’ve been beautiful had it not been so dry...the ground bees others have mentioned were still there however when I got to them there were pieces of paper taped to trees warning about them about 10 yards or so before on both sides of the nest as well as a secondary path that passed around them others had cut slightly up hill (was kinda steep but easily doable) though how long those will last is questionable. For the first half of the hike I passed one through hiker on the way up though the first three campsites I passed had tents. After the first 6-7 miles I started passing more and more people so I would again recommend getting there early if you prefer to avoid crowds. Being at the time and direction I started I had the first vista to my self which was very nice. I did pass multiple groups (5+) of people that were working on the trail on the back half of the hike but I didn’t find it overly crowded at all...10/10 would recommend for the view from the first vista alone at the very least as an in and out trail though I would definitely go for the whole loop if you are able.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

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