A Very Strenuous Holiday SNP Hike
A 12.3 Mile Very Strenuous Hike with Rock Scramble and Waterfall in SNP: Little Devil Stairs, Hogback Mountain and More with Optional Post Hike Meal!
PLEASE do not get this magnificent trek confused with our moderate 5 mile Big Devils Stairs vista hike OR our strenuous 6 Mile Version of Little Devil Stairs. This 12.3 mile version of Little Devil Stairs with rock scrambles is not just strenuous, but considered a very strenuous hike. Elevation for this hike is not limited to Little Devil Stairs and has a total of three significant climbs; Little Devil Stairs, Hogback Mountain, and Hull School Trail. In summertime, this hike is all about the waterfalls and some most interesting things to see in the park, making this a year around hiking delight! During the warmer months, water shoes are recommended to change into for the water crossings and also provides a great way to cool off too when it is hot outside, but are NOT mandatory. If hiking this in the winter, you will have crsip clear views from several vistas thanks to leaves being off the tress. This physically challenging but visually rewarding hike gives you something for every step you take.
Rock Scrambling, Yay!
Get ready for some hands and knees action as you scramble over huge boulders in a narrow gorge. The water, the rocks, the trees -- there is beauty everywhere you look in this canyon. Take note that as you climb up the gorge there are several spots that require hand over hand climbing and rock scrambling but no special gear required as it is not rock climbing.
This hike will be led at a moderate pace (most common pace and that of an average hiker).
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 very strenuous of hikes. It is dangerous to hike beyond your physical limitations. About 48 hours before the hike, our organizer, Kellie, will check to see if anyone has signed up for this hike without contacting the leader and remove them for safety purposes.
Nearby City: Front Royal
Length: 12.3 total miles
Trail Type: Loop
Outstanding Features Include: Incredible Rugged Gorge, huge tress, and pioneer cemetery
Skill Level: Very Strenuous
Trailhead Gain: 4200 feet
Special Winter Requirement
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. YakTrax brand (has springs) are highly discouraged due to accidents we have had with them breaking or "clogging" with ice/snow. 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!
We hike rain, snow, or shine (Hence the special gear requirement). Click here for an up to the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.
We are not responsible for people using the Metro and not having a ride to the trailhead, so please make sure you have made arrangements for a way to get there once you arrive at any carpool location. Please use the comment section below to make ride arrangements or at least to get in touch with someone and firm up a ride before you head out.
There are 3 recommended carpools for this hike!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.
DC Area Carpool
To carpool from the metro DC area, meetup at the Centerville Park and Ride. Click Here for information and directions to the Centerville location.
Click here for directions and information about Vienna Metro if you would prefer to carpool from there. It is highly recommended that if carpooling from a Metro that everyone there chip in towards a Zip Car (information about Zip Cars is included on the link with directions to the Metro stop).
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!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Where We Meet for This Hike
Hike Meetup Time: 9:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Savage is 6:30 a.m.
Carpool time from Vienna Metro stop is 7:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Centerville is 7:15 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.
Due to How Challenging This Hike is for Dogs, Fido Is Not Permitted on this Hike, without hike leader permission!
Let's have good times!