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

Madison, Virginia Map
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A really nice hike. The 1st 2/3 of the trail was easy, well marked. The view, the rushing water of the river was pleasing to the ear and restful for the mind. Even found a place to sit, and put our feet in the water.
However, the last 1/3 was difficult, steep incline and definitely put my wife and I to the test. But the top is well worth.
Only saw 2 other hikers that day on the trail.

I gave this a five because while it doesn't have amazing views (until the top of Bear Church Rock, which is SO peaceful), the trail was well trodden, clear, and a heck of a workout. The first two miles are pleasant, the next two miles are a steady rise by the end of which you're going to be 'feeling the burn', I guarantee it. Be sure to stop on the way back and soak your feet in the wonderful cold and clear water. I would rate this as hard, not moderate, and our measurements (fitbit and phone tracking app) were closer to 9.4 miles up and back. I gave it a '5' because it was a heck of a workout, on a steady tough climb without loose rocks/scrambling; very empty when we went, and just nice and peaceful.

Did this today- well, i'm currently camping along it at the moment,- was recommended by a ranger as a less crowded trail, and that was the case today, but still saw 4-8 folks. Crossing the stream at Big Rock Falls before the Rapidan Camp was a little perilous with some distance between river rocks - I'm a long-legged 6'0 and I had to jump a bit to avoid getting a wet foot. I would NOT recommend this trail if heavy rainfall was recent. History buffs may be interested in Rapidan - it's a little mountain lodge that Herbert Hoover had made in the late 1920s (most buildings are no longer standing). Nice unmarked camp areas along the creek shortly after Fork Mountain trail branches off this loop - but had some difficulty finding a decent bear bag branch

My boys had a lot of fun and the trail traffic was very light while there were many cars at the entrance. It’s a very rocky trail at times so watch for lose rocks but overall it wasn’t a big deal. Unfortunately I could only go 1.7 miles in but what I did get to see was very nice.

We stayed along the Graves Mill trail this time which runs along the river. I can’t find a entry for that trail so posting on here instead. But Graves Mill connects to the Staunton River Trail. It stays along the river; it’s a nice easy hike with a couple river crossings. The water is pretty high right now so crossing with our two dogs was a fun adventure!

Was a good challenge for someone who is not a seasoned joker and slightly out of shape. Little foot traffic which was nice. Cool temperatures as it is mostly shaded. The river and small waterfalls were very pretty. Saw deer but no bear. We did get lost (did not see the trail marker) and ended up doing an additional mile down and back up a very steep climb. Also gets a little confusing when you get to the tourist/camp area. Lots of rocks and narrow paths, highly recommend wearing good hiking boots!! Also, look at the elevation...we started with the uphill climb for the first two miles or so, steady and a good “warm up”. Downhill was hard on my knees as it was fairly steep. There were quite a few spots where we had to climb up again and those required some stops/rests.

Visited this lovely hike this morning. The hike starts out easy by the river and then progresses and gets harder as the hike continues. The climb to Bear Church Rock was a heart thumper but the view was beautiful making the pain all worth it! Loved the tree canopy on the way up as well, very beautiful scenery. The hike is almost by the river the entire way! We got there around 0930, lots of parking left but when we left around 1400 the lot was basically full. On the way up it was just my husband and I but as we made the decent we ran into more and more people doing the hike. Definitely one we will visit again!

as of this morning the trail was pretty well cleared of storm damage from a few week ago

The trail the app took us on was extremely challenging by horseback - borderline dangerous. Thank goodness we had good horses! Wouldn’t recommend riding in the wintertime as the trail was frozen solid at the highest points of the path. Several really slippery, rocky, mountainous areas where we dismounted & lead our horses. No doubt a beautiful hike but wouldn’t recommend for horses.

Pretty views! Not quite peak foliage colors yet, but still pretty. Be careful of slippery leaves on the way down.

Absolutely beautiful. Very easy trail, well marked. Only 1 overlook but the landscape along the way was stunning with the fall leaf colors. By far one of my favorites

Beautiful hike along the river. Stream crossings weren't difficult at this time. Numerous varieties of wildflowers, largest mountain laurels I've ever seen! Terrific canopy of tall trees. Steep enough to feel it, but not so much that it's challenging.

hiking
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Great hiking trail with 3 water crossings leading to Rapidan Camp, headwaters for the Rapidan River and President Hoover's summer retreat ( predecessor to Camp David). Even better if you can catch one of the volunteers there to give you the history. 4 mile round trip from Milam Gap parking area.

backpacking
Sunday, August 27, 2017

We just completed this trail earlier today. We started on the blue trail (laurel prong) and made our way to hazeltop/the AT. We set up camp on laurel prong which was lovely. The area is lightly trafficked and near a water source which was great. The trail itself is fairly easy. Going from Laurel Prong to the AT is harder due to the uphill climb, but it was not too strenuous. If you're looking to go camping or take a nice hike, this is a great place to do it!

A long hike next to a river. It's nice spending a few miles by the water but unfortunately there are little to no memorable spots along the way. The view from Bear Church Rock is truly great but then it's time to repeat the monotonous 3.5 mile hike back down. Not bad hike but also not a very memorable one. There better options in the Shenandoahs but if your looking for something new then give this a try.

hiking
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Great hike. Hike was close to the water most of the way. Wasn't too hard until the last part. Ran into a bear, which was exciting.

did this loop in reverse last week. went the a.t to the laurel prong to the mill prong. dunno if my GPS was off but we got nearly 9.5 miles and 1900 ft of ascent. nice trail, the mill prong was more scenic, the downhill to rapidan camp was like skiing on mud. This was my wife and I's 1st long hike through mountains and it didn't disappoint

Didn't do the loop but did the trail to Big Meadow. Still came to 7.2 but was out and back. The map at the trailhead didn't show a full loop ( it was cut off) and we didn't feel like risking a longer hike than planned. Still a nice walk and not too difficult.

hiking
Monday, March 06, 2017

Great trail.....last mile and half is a good workout but there were a lot of great views during the winter months. My favorite part was the Laurel Thicket.

it is secluded and a nice hike but not a great view for the effort.

One of the best hikes

hiking
Monday, October 17, 2016

this is really a beautiful trail. We chose it as a second hike because we couldn't find the Pine Hill trail. We only had a few hrs and did 7 miles. It's a great trail area for family because you can go as far you want and always have a creek near by.

hiking
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This hike is great. Swimming holes, waterfalls, a great view, and a cabin. When including the spur to the cabin, the hike becomes 8.1 miles with a 2130 foot gain. It was recommended that I go to the overlook first and follow it up with the cabin, and I'm glad I followed that suggestion. The falls are not quite as magical as White Oak Falls, but the view is 10x better and the solitude can't be beat.

trail running
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nice easy trail to put in some comfortable miles (for seasoned trail runners). I went out 4 for 8 miles RT, and could have easily gone farther with a lot more trail ahead of me -- connects to the AT. This trail section is moderately wide single track in many areas, narrow in some sections. Almost entirely under tree cover for nice shade, but not much for views.

This trail was absolutely gorgeous. Went in July & swam in little pockets of water that were like swimming holes. It wasn't too hot because the canopy was very heavy and of course the stops in the cold water was a great cool down too. The blazes were well taken care of, so it was easy to follow the trail & we saw a beaver and some deer in the beginning of the trail. I am sure if we got there early enough, we'd see bears.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Directions are wrong. Needs to be fixed.

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