Our Most Popular Trails
It was time to update our ‘Most Popular’ list! These are Virginia Trail Guide’s most searched and most popular hikes as of July 2012.
1. Humpback Rock
The number one spot goes to Humpback Rock. Personally, it’s not one of our favorite hikes, but it’s by far our most popular and searched for post. It has nice views, but the crowds can be a bit thick. It’s also one of the shorter hikes on our top ten list, so it’s suitable for most people, regardless of experience and fitness level.
2. Spy Rock
Spy Rock is a surprise at number two. We honestly didn’t think many people knew about this hike, but apparently the word is out. The views are majestic and it’s great fun to scale the enormous rock to get to the viewpoint. This area of Virginia is rich with some of the state’s most beautiful hikes.
3. Mary’s Rock
Mary’s Rock is one of Christine’s favorite hikes in Shenandoah National Park, and it’s also our reader’s choice for number three. If you hike to Mary’s Rock from Pinnacles Picnic Area, you get great views in multiple spots. You also can take a break at an Appalachian Trail hut and have great odds of seeing wildlife along the way.
4. The Rose River Loop
Do you like waterfalls? If so, our number five choice, the Rose River Loop is for you! This moderate hike passes by two larger waterfalls (Rose River Falls and Dark Hollow Falls) and many small unnamed cascades. It’s a great trail for wildlife and history buffs will enjoy a visit to the old Cave family cemetery.
5. Mt. Rogers
Mt. Rogers is Virginia’s tallest peak. It also has wild ponies, breathtaking views and one of Virginia’s most spectacular rhododendron blooms. In our book, Mt. Rogers is a must-see destination for every Virginia hiker. It’s our all-time favorite hike in the state (maybe anywhere, actually).
6. Cole/Cold Mountain
Our number six, Cold Mountain, is one of the valley’s only hikes where the majority of the walk across the summit takes place on a wide, grassy, bald area. This loop hike has it all – beautiful views, wonderful backcountry campsite, a small stream and a shelter site.
7. White Oak Canyon
While you can do this trail as a longer loop paired with Cedar Run, we tackled our number seven hike as an out-and-back. White Oak Canyon is another of Shenandoah’s most popular waterfall hikes. One of our favorite memories from this hike is watching a momma bear and her two cubs from the trail.
8. Hawksbill Mountain
It’s no surprise that Hawksbill Mountain made the top ten list. It’s a moderate hike with amazing views, located right in the heart of Shenandoah National Park. Hawksbill is also the park’s tallest mountain. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of peregrine falcons along the way.
9. Bearfence Mountain
Bearfence Mountain, landing in the number nine spot, is a great short hike with an exciting rock scramble. It’s a great test-run to see if you’re ready for the type of rock scrambling you’ll see on Old Rag. The hike has great views, but you wouldn’t know it from photos on the day we last hiked it. We were completely in the clouds.
10. Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls just broke into our top ten hikes! Honestly, we were shocked it wasn’t there from the beginning. This long, meandering waterfall tumbles down the mountainside over the entire course of the hikes. If you like to hike along and hear the sound of rushing water, this hike is a don’t miss!
Hikes That Just Missed the Top Ten
These hikes were all just outside the top ten.
13. Sharp Top
14. The Priest
19. Buzzard Rock