Strenuous/Borderline Very Strenuous 9.8 Miles: Rocky Mount-Gap Run in SNP on Skyline Drive (South District) with Optional Post Hike Meal
This is one of the park's most difficult wilderness hikes, but one that also provides spectacular views. If you like wilderness hiking in solitude, take this ambitious loop. Leave the main crest of the Blue Ridge to access the summit of Rocky Mount Trail. You'll have this untamed slice of Shenandoah to yourself. Rocky Mount’s western flank is a demanding climb of 1,000 feet in about one mile. If you’re not breathless at the top, the view will steal what breath is left. A series of ridges and peaks intersect and rise in succession to the limitless horizon. A return hike on Gap Run Trail takes you from soaring heights into shaded forest. Rocky Mount is one of a few 9+ mile circuit hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park. With three different ascents, the last being at the end of the hike, this 2,840 foot loop can feel longer and higher than it actually is. The reward is the great panoramic view from the Rocky Mount summit.
DO NOT EMBARK ON THIS HIKE UNLESS YOU ARE IN EXCELLENT SHAPE!
Note: While this is a spectacular hike, it is also very strenuous. This hike is much more challenging than Old Rag which many people consider a strenuous hike.If have not earned pre-approval status for very strenuous hikes for our group, then you must contact the hike leader before signing up for this hike so you can make an informed decision regarding this hike. It is dangerous to hike beyond your physical limitations anytime of year, but especially in winter. About 48 hours before the start of this hike, I will check to see if anyone has signed up without contacting the leader and remove them for safety purposes. Thank you for your understanding.
However, if you are in good shape, this hike may be just the one for you, particularly if you like remote country that provides a number of spectacular views. At various points along the trail, the abundance of rocks ads to the challenge but also increases the drama and beauty of the area. In addition, the trial proceeds in a roller-coaster-like fashion so that you have ascended many more total fee than the actual 1,600-foot difference between the hikes extreme high and low. For example, the elevation at the trailhead is 2,800 feet while the low is 1,200. Rocky Mount' elevation is 2,789 feet and to reach it you descend, climb, descend, cling, and descend again before climbing back to the trailhead.
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Simmons Gap (Hike is at Skyline Mile: 76.2)
Length: 9.8 total miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: VERY Strenuous
Season: Best spring through fall
Trailhead Elev: 2750 feet
Local Contacts: Shenandoah National Park
Local Maps:Rocky Mount - Gap Run Lariat Trail Topo Map Trails Illustrated Topographic Map 228; Map 11, Appalachian Trail and Other Trails in Shenandoah National Park, South District (PATC, Inc.)
We hike rain or shine. Click Here for up to the minute conditions for where this hike it located.
Click Here for some suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.
Special Winter Gear Note (If Ice Is a Risk):
Traction gear is a must in order to hike in the winter with our group, when there is a risk of icy trail conditions, for safety reasons. Also, this allows us to 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!
To carpool from the Baltimore area, a great place to meet is Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations such as the DC area, 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!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click here for directions to where we meetup for this hike.
Hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Carpool Meetup Time from Savage is 7:00 a.m.
Important Winter Note for Hikes in SNP:
Please call the park's recorded information line: [masked], 1, 1 for the most current Skyline Drive status if there is any question about road conditions on the morning of the hike, or contact the hike leader at the number at the bottom of this listing. Please note that we do not have your phone number (but you have ours) to let you know or we would. Road conditions can change overnight, but we do check on the parks road conditions at 10pm the night before the hike.
Fido is not welcome on this Hike!
Let's have good times and see you on the trail!