The Peak, Bluff Trail and Appalachain Trail Loop! 15.4 Very Strenuous Miles in Shenandoah National Park!
C'mon! Get out of bed and onto the trail! The leaders CHALLENGE you to get out of bed and kick this trails butt. I have seen other groups hike "The Peak" but not this route which involves 4268 of elevation change so quickly. The rugged ascent—1,000 feet in just over a half mile, on a trail no longer maintained by the park service—makes it one of Shenandoah’s lesser known, but more-demanding climbs.
Pre-Approval Required For This Hike
This particular hike requires pre-approval from the hike leader unless you have earned the title " Pre-Approved for Very Strenuous Hikes" which would display beneath your name. Otherwise, please contact the hike leader at the number at the bottom of this listing so you can make an informed decision together. Thank you for your understanding and this is for everyone's safety and enjoyment and only applies to our most strenuous of hikes.
Like so many of the park’s popular trails, the first— and most often visited—feature of this hike is a series of waterfalls within easy reach of Skyline Drive. Big Devil Stairs tumbles down Mount Marshall on rock shelves and outcrops worn out of ancient lava flows. Yet something bigger and a bit older on the geologic timeline awaits up the Bluff Trail, an enticing destination aptly named the Peak. This steep-sided mountain, crowned with billion-year-old granite, measures just under 3,000 feet in elevation. The rugged ascent—1,000 feet in just over a half mile, on a trail no longer maintained by the park service—makes it one of Shenandoah’s lesser known, but more-demanding climbs. Terrain: Hike rocky singletrack paths, old forest roads, and abandoned trails through the cascades and falls of Big Devil Run and enjoy the breathtaking views approaching and from the Peak!
Nearby City: Front Royal
Length: 15.4 total miles
Elevation Gain: 4,268 feet
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Very Difficult
Terrain:Hike rocky singletrack paths, old forest roads, and abandoned trails through the cascades and falls of Big Devil Run and enjoy the breathtaking views approaching and from the Peak!
Duration: At least 7 hours
Season: Year round; bad weather may occasionally close roads
Trailhead Elevation: 2,700 feet
Top Elevation: 3,250 feet
Local Contacts: Shenandoah National Park
Local Maps:USGS Chester Gap
Topo Map: Bluff Trail / AT Loop Topographic Map
Many of our members have passes so please coordinate amongst yourselves to help cut expenses! The entry fee for Skyline Drive for all vehicles is $15 for a single car. Passes, which are valid for unlimited entries within a seven-day period, are issued. Payment may be made with cash, credit, or debit cards. If you plan visiting more than once it is well worth it to purchase a pass!
We hike rain or shine! Click here for the forecast of the area we will be hiking.
There are 2 carpools for this hike!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directionsto Savage Station. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
DC Area Carpool
To carpool from the metro DC area, meetup at the Centerville Park and Ride. Click here for informationand directions to the Centerville location. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Special Winter Gear Note (If Ice Is a Risk):
Traction gear is a must in order to hike in the winter with our group on this hike for safety, and so we can hike all four seasons! The most dependable/reliable gear in our opinion is either Kahtoola Microspikes or STABILicers Originals or their new Lite HIKER Excursion that has the strap). YakTrax are highly discouraged. Traction gear/ice cleats come in handy for getting the mail or walking the dog, in addition to any other outdoor activity where there is ice involved! You can run on the ice with them on and many runners do just that!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click here for directions to where we meet for this hike. The trailhead only has room for 10 cars so please carpool or use one of the additional lots detailed in the directions.
Hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Savage Station is 7:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Centerville Park and Ride is 7:45 a.m.
Park Entrance Fee
Many of us have annual passes for Skyline Drive for up to 6 in the same vehicle, so if you ride or meet up at the entrance with someone that has one then it will be free for you to enter the park. Please make arrangement yourselves for this either via email or in the comment section below. The entry fee for Skyline Drive for all vehicles is $15 for a single car so I highly recommend making arrangements to carpool with someone who has a pass, OR, meeting up with one of us who has a pass near the entrance and ride in with them. Enough of us have passes, that you should not have to pay to enter the park.
Fido is ONLY Not Welcome On This Hike This Time of Year!