Explore the most popular rock climbing 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.

My favorite

My girlfriend and I embarked on this loop last year with some friends. We didn’t quite know what we were getting ourselves into. I had thought we had made it to the top when we reached the outlook where most will have there lunch. Little did I know that was just the beginning of the rock scramble. This loop is challenging and that makes it incredibly fun! I wouldn’t recommend to any beginners unless they go with someone who’s done it before. Not that you’d get lost, but the rock scramble does get challenging, especially for those out of shape. My girlfriend and I love it and will be going back soon.

I have done this three times, each of the last three years, it is always best in the fall, but doing it in December means less crowds. The loop is a better way to do it, although the distance is closer to 11 miles that way. Going straight up and down means fighting the crowds coming up through the scramble, which is not fun for either direction. If you are doing it in the summer or fall, I strongly recommend avoiding the weekends or starting early. Arriving around 0800 will leave you waiting in lines on the weekend that can stretch for an hour or more at the start of the scramble. This hike is a lot of fun and a real sense of community develops along the way. Not good for pets at the scramble. Make sure to pack a lunch and enjoy the view at the top.

Amazing hike. The rock scramble is tough but great fun.

7 days ago


11 days ago

Got the the trailhead in the early afternoon on a Monday to find I was the only one in the parking lot. Didn't meet another hiker going out or back. First mile or so is pretty tame going through open forest. After that it begins to get a bit steeper. Once you reach the ridge the views are amazing the rest of the way. Particularly the views at Buzzard Rock. Truly spectacular for this area. At this point you can turn around if you'd like. You will find views of the surrounding mountains but none better than you've already seen, only ups, downs, and about 4 more miles round trip. I pushed on just to get the distance in. All in all it's a great hike with some solid views. Trail is a bit rocky so I couldn't push the pace as much as I liked. Took about two and a half hours total. I'd recommend shoes with ankle support. I recorded the hike and it was a cool way to keep track of your time, pace, and elevation but it drained my battery terribly so I doubt I'll use the feature again.

We climbed the boulder yard almost to the top, whew! Sore the next day, but really amazing views. Not recommended for children the boulders would be too challenging. The trail right next to the boulder field was a steep descent, poles definitely came in handy. Really unique hike that I’m glad we did!

So fun! The scrambling is challenging but fun. Gorgeous in the fall.

Amazing but path on marble trail difficult to find best path off main trail.

Another great day hike. Took my gf and her son out for the day and had a blast. Heavily trafficked, but you’re still able to find your own space

Remarks from the Buck Ridge Trail Overseer for exactly twenty years. I helped rescue this trail from planned abandonment in the late seventies. Perfect circuit when coupled with the more attractive and older Buck Hollow Trail. There are, BTW, 612 steps at the bottom. I know. Patrick Wilson and I dug most of them in. Boy Scouts lugged most of the steps up when needed. Patrick was…and may still be…the Buck Hollow Trail Overseer. Of all the Blue Blaze trails along the AT, BRT has the greatest altitude change in a short distance. Something like 1800’ in a quarter mile. Don’t hold me to those numbers. I last did the circuit in 2012 when I was 78 (6 ½ hrs). I love that trail.

great hiking. good workout

Great hike. Good difficulty level going up, with interesting rock scramble. Nice walk down the trail to cool down and relax

great exercise hike. plenty of spots that open up to see some views, took me only 3 hours 10 mins with a little delay . would do again for sure

By far the most fun hike I've ever done. I went off trail and climbed the rocks up then took the trail back down. It's definitely a good workout and the whole thing is pretty steep. I highly recommend it! It was suggested to me by some locals and I'd never have known about it otherwise. I had the trail all to myself in the middle of a Sunday.

One of my favorite hikes to do!! Challenging in a good way!

Did this hike with three boys ages 3, 8 & 10. Absolutely beautiful. Highly recommend.

27 days ago

If you're not in pretty good cardiovascular shape (guilty), this trail can be challenging. The last leg of it is uphill (climbing out of the beautiful gorge) the whole time. The rest is moderate. This trail offers a lot of variety of views, moss and lichen covered rocks, plenty of woods etc.

This was the most fun trail I’ve done. Getting ready to do again soon. Challenging? Yes. Doable? Most definitely. Just do your due diligence and wear gloves with some traction to help get you up some rocks as many areas are slippery due to the amount of traffic it gets. Also, eat and drink what your body needs before, during and after or else you can cramp up, etc.
Stop and enjoy the scenery. I prefer to start early to avoid most of the crowd.

Excellent and challenging trail for my wife and I ! I'd say it was made much more difficult after the prior night dropped an inch of snow. Areas were icy, which made the rock scramble harder than needed to be but good teamwork saw us pass the test. by far the longer and hardest trail for a couple in early 40s (most everyone we saw easily 10 yrs our junior), but fun and quite rewarding. Awesome views a bonus!

Fairly slick with some ice and snow on the rocks, but the trail and views were great. Highly recommend!

I went on this trail with my son's Boy Scout troop in October of 2017. The trail was awesome. Great views and great rock formations. If you don't like boulder hopping then this isn't the trail for you. So pack a lunch and hike to the top and find a spot to enjoy the views and lunch!

Best hike I’ve had so far. Definitely worth going in the off season, hardly any traffic. Went with a group of friends and we definitely built a stronger bond because we used a lot of teamwork due to the obstacles(ice, rain, height difference, experience, etc.)

1 month ago

Hiked this trail in the rain, which got a little dicey at times, but it was definitely worth it! Because of the weather we only saw only about 4 or 5 other people on the trail the entire day. The downside was that we could hardly see anything from the top of Old Rag due to all the fog, but it was still a really fun hike.

great hike

Definitely my favorite place I have been hiking. I am 19, 5’7”, and around 180lbs so im not in the best shape, but I have a passion for scrambling. It was 10° when I got there but after about a half hour of hiking I actually needed to remove my hoodie! I see people mentioning the need for significant upper body strength but imo it wasnt really as important as people chalked it up to be. One thing that did cause some problems: My height. There are a few points where you need to scale the face of a boulder and the shorter you are, the harder it is (Though I managed to get by). Another thing that happened was about halfway through the scrambling my calves began to “lock” into place and hurt whenever I plantar flexed (bent foot toes facing down). I had a sports drink with me which reduced the problem in a matter of minutes, so if you arent used to this type of terrain, I highly recommend you bring something with plenty of electrolytes in addition to water. I would say as long as youre prepared, and somewhat in shape (but willing to push yourself), this is a hike worth making the trip for!

1 month ago

Excellent day trail.

Great trail with some fun rock scrambles. I went up the rocks which was more fun and am sure safer as well when out alone. I like the solitude of trail hiking so did the loop at about 8:30 and took me about 3.5 hours of moving fairly quick and and only saw maybe 12 people. Best getting the popular trails done in the off season. Will definitely be a trail I’ll have friends do as well.

Busy but one of my favorite hikes

Just amazing views at the top. Love the rock scramble. Very busy trail. The fire road, which is the last 5 miles of the loop is rather boring, but it allows you to rest after scrambling.

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