Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

23 hours ago

Did this on a sunny mid-March Sunday, with temperatures in the morning just above freezing and headed into the 60s by afternoon. The trail is strenuous -- and we did have to navigate some slick ice and snow on western side of the slope (in the winter shade). The clockwise loop includes some very steep ascents both early and late in the trail, but the views are very rewarding. The waterfalls on Mau-Har Trail are reminiscent of a mellower version of White Oak canyon -- but without the crowds. It's doable in a day if you're fit and hit the trail early, but you'll want lots of water and snacks. (We were on the trail for about 8 hours with breaks).

Great trails that gives you a workout

Really enjoyed this hike. Kids saw various animal tracks and heard many wildlife sounds. Trails are well marked. Restrooms were maintained.

short hike, but uphill the entire way ... felt like much longer than 3 miles roundtrip because of how steep the trail is ... beautiful views at the top - completely worth the trek!

This hike is fantastic - some of the best views I’ve ever seen. The trail is long, but not too difficult in terms of being steep. I found the incline to be gradual. The trail is very doable. Slow and steady wins the race with this one!

It is not the hardest hike, but it is a classic hike with an epic photogenic rock and view. The hike works any time of day as the view is northerly so the sun never gets in the way of your shots. Although it is not that difficult of a hike, when the weather is warm it pays to bring extra water. Parking is plentiful, so no rush to get there early.

I often prefer hikes with more views, but the gorge rock scramble makes this hike worth it. You are along the creek/river on the way up and it makes the climb a blast. Doing the entire loop makes it closer to 8 or 9 miles. The fire road on the way down is a bit boring, but in the summer when there is a lot of green, early on the fire road is the single best location for a view over the valley, plus the fire road leads to a great old cemetery that adds historical context. Parking was not too bad, even showing up around 0900 midsummer. Strongly recommend doing the route counterclockwise.

Pretty easy hike, but a nice view and payoff. The earlier in the day you go the better since the view is westerly facing and afternoon sun will limit the quality of your photos.

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.

Great and tough section of trail and the AT groups in the area have done a great job maintaining it, especially since the wind storm in early March blew over some of the big trees. Be extra cautious during or directly following rain as this is a rocky section with lots of dead leaves in some areas that could prove to be super slippery.

You can day-park your car at the Bear's Den hostel endpoint for $3 (or hitch a ride back to your car pretty easily)

Great hike, with better views than expected. Started at the most westerly side and went clockwise, meaning all the good views were in the first 1/3rd of the hike. The views face westerly so better to move in this direction if you want to have the sun at your back for photo taking. Arriving in the afternoon would put the sun right in your face on the photos. The southern half of this hike is smooth but can get a bit boring. Enjoyable afternoon hike.

2 days ago

Good hike, went clockwise, meaning the best views were in the first third of the hike. You can add a couple miles by going a little farther up to Skyline Drive. The "waterfall" was a bit disappointing but the overall hike was great. I saw a mama bear and two cubs along the trail which made the hike extra interesting. Only one really good view along the hike but was worth the hike. The climb is very smooth and not too taxing.

2 days ago

Great hike on a warm Sunday in March. Did it in a single day, took seven hours at a moderate pace. The distance came out as closer to 14 miles than 12. Still a lot of snow on the trail making it muddy on the AT going up to the ridges. Went counter-clockwise and enjoyed the water on the way down, but since most of the good views on the ridges are south and west facing, it meant the sun was in my face by the time I arrived at the ridges in the early afternoon. If you are a photographer, I would recommend going clockwise instead.

Not very impressed with this hike. For starters, it was VERY crowded on the trail. That’s never particularly fun and takes away from the outdoor experience. Second there wasn’t much to see on the almost 3 mile hike there (and back for that matter) and thirdly, I wasn’t wowed by the viewpoint. There are many better views if your willing to drive an extra 30 minutes. All in all, I doubt i will return.

The trail head is actually really easy to find, and you park in a gravel lot right next to the trailhead. Don't go through the housing development...walk towards the trailhead. It is the CCT (Gerry Connolly Cross Country Trail) that starts from the parking lot.
This trail has a diverse set of terrain to cover and a good mix of flat and climbs. 2 river crossings (big boulders and pillons to walk on while crossing). Gets pretty busy near the Great Falls Area--pretty empty on the stick part of the lollipop loop.

Starting at the trailhead, go right— this path will put you on the AT and it is a much smoother climb to the summit. If you loop it this way, it’s just short of 3 miles around.

Summit has great views around the valley. A little crowded on the weekend but not too terrible.

Well worth the hike. Will do it again when the weather is warmer.

We hiked up the Cedar Run Trail which was strenuous for the entire way up (about 3 hours). This was a good trail to go up because there were a lot of smaller waterfalls and a steady stream. When we got to the top, we got a little turned around and accidentally went the wrong way. So make you’re reading your map carefully. We went down the White Oak Trail which was beautiful. The waterfalls were huge! Great photo opps. Trails were well kept even with the recent windstorm. The whole hike took us a little over 6 hours.

I did this trail at the beginning of March before the leaves came out. It made the views better all the way along the trail.

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

4 days ago


Great hike even with all of your children....we hiked as a family and loved every second. Beautiful view as well.

Fun trail! Need decent hiking/water shoes! Do not go when it has rained heavily...when we got there it was the devil's hot tub and you could barely see it :( Opportunities to swim and lots of cool rocks to stop and picnic lunch on :)

5 days ago

My fiancé, my dog (cocker spaniel), and I did this hike after seeing some local photos (we live in Roanoke). Great hike, moderate difficulty, with some truly amazing views. The hike took a little over 2 hours round trip with taking a 15-20 minute break at the top to look at the amazing views. The trail was snowy when we went which made it a bit harder, but overall very enjoyable and would recommend to others and hike again sometime.

trail is clearly marked, nice for a short, day hike. would definitely go again!

Beautiful hike! A little difficult on the way up, but I can’t complain about the views!

SPECTACULAR trail. Fun, challenging (but not too much) and good to warm you up in the winter. Beautiful views, good climbing, and so much fun. A must do!

I went on this trail as a brand-new-to-Great-Falls person and was expecting a walking trail. The River Trail is DEFINITELY a hiking trail that requires frequent use of your hands for navigating hills and over rocks, and includes very steep inclines that will leave inexperienced hikers (like myself) out of breath and physically strained. You will spend most of your time looking at the ground to watch your footing and very little time enjoying the beautiful scenery around you. Early March 2018, there were downed trees on the trail that were difficult to pass without being extremely nimble. A wet patch of mud on a slope caused me to tumble; I cut my palm on a rock trying to break my fall. I do not recommend this trail after any amount of rain. I cut this trail short and took a shortcut over to the Old Carriage Trail, which can be classified as a walking trail... very smooth and only slight inclines.

This park was listed as an Audubon Hotspot for birding year-round but we hardly saw any birds at all (early March). We saw the most birds near the parking lot (and just common birds). Disappointing.

Very nice hike! It was a good level of difficulty for three fairly in shape hiking novices. The flowing water and views were pretty! The only downside was that the trail at the end was not clearly marked.

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