4th of July Riprap Hollow Day Hike ~ 12 Miles

Let’s celebrate the 4th of July by hiking my favorite loop in Shenandoah National Park: Riprap Hollow!  We will enter Riprap Hollow from just outside of the park’s western boundary.  Please bring swimwear as Riprap has one of the best, crystal-clear swimming holes around!  The wildlife and views on this hike are amazing.  Last year on this hike, we found two baby turkey vultures in the old stone shelter on Wildcat Ridge trail!

My wife and I will be coming from Fredericksburg, VA.  Please coordinate rides from the DC area by posting here.  We’ll meet at 10AM at the Dollar General in Grottoes, VA.  Their address is: 107 3rd St, Grottoes, VA, 24441.  From there we’ll make our way to the trail head nearby.  I will e-mail detailed directions to the trail head from the Dollar General a few days before our trip.

Total mileage for this hike is approximately 12 miles.  We will enter Shenandoah National Park thru its western boundary on the Riprap trail, hang a right on Wildcat Ridge trail, then turn left and head northbound on the AT, and complete our hike by turning a left and going down the Riprap Trail stopping at Calvary Rocks, Chimney Rock, and the amazing swimming hole pictured below!

Please make sure to bring a minimum of 2 liters of water, a packed lunch, snacks, watershoes for a possible stream crossing depending on recent rainfall, and swimwear if you’d like to take a dip!

Baby turkey vultures!







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  • Amanda

    Wow what a great trip! We had such an abnormally beautiful day! My favorite part was the water hole. Nice and fun people as always. I really enjoyed the leader of this event... he was great ;)

    2 · July 6

  • Kelly

    Carolos and Bethany you didn't know but when we got to the base of the mountain there was a family of four lost, getting dark, 1/2 bottle of water and maybe one flashlight..that is questionable. They would have had to walk 3 miles to AT uphill...Frank was not having that...David was super nice and drove them back to their cars on Skyline Drive.

    2 · July 5

    • Kelly

      The wife was sooo funny, I really liked her. I loved it when the husband looked at her and said "are you going to be okay". and she said yes lol The kids were well behaved. I was joking with her in the car...funny ...good times.

      July 5

    • Frank

      Thanks so much David for rescuing them! Glad you were able to catch some fireworks out of it!

      July 5

  • Kelly

    I want to plan a whale watch in January, sorry Michael, I'm not sure that includes dolphins! LOL

    2 · July 5

  • A former member
    A former member

    Okay, so I started out by stubbing my pinky toe and I think I broke it, but I shoved it in my boot and left anyway. My garman lost signal about at highway 211 so I entered Shenandoah, and that was my first mistake. By 10:30/11:00 I figured I would never get there - so took a short 3 1/2 mile hike and headed back to the house to nurse my pinky toe. Hope ya'll had fun and did not wait for me.

    July 4

    • A former member
      A former member

      South river falls trail? I think - near Dean cemetery - which was really nice too by the way

      July 5

    • Kelly

      Yes, that is nice hike

      July 5

  • David V.

    Great trip. The views were spectacular and the waterfalls and swimming hole even better. Thanks for setting this trip up. Definitely jealous of the campers who could stay.

    2 · July 5

  • Bethany

    Nursing a slow leaking tire, had to stop for air. Will be a little late, but I'll be there!

    July 4

  • A former member
    A former member

    have to wait for an a/c guy to come

    July 4

  • Kelly

    High of 72 degrees with wind.....10% chance of rain. What hiking weather!

    July 4

  • Kelly

    Lots of bear in this area, with luck we will see one!

    July 3

  • Frank

    Please check your e-mail inbox for my cell phone number. With the storms passing thru this area today, please be ready for a couple high water crossings. If you have water shoes/Crocs, please bring those in addition to your hiking shoes. I'll see everyone at the Dollar General tomorrow morning at 10AM!

    July 3

    • Kelly

      go to walmart lol

      July 3

  • Tina

    Is anyone interested in carpooling from DC or in meeting up at, say, Vienna Metro to carpool? I am coming from Takoma Park, MD. Thanks

    July 1

    • Jason H.

      Can I join the ride? I live around the Dunn Loring Metro.

      July 1

    • Jason H.

      I am not planning on camping. Where should we meet? my number is (703)[masked]

      July 3

  • AJIT

    Anyone carpooling from vienna metro or Dunn loring station??

    July 3

  • Bethany

    Anyone have suggestions for the best 2-day loop I can do sat night thru mon? Want to stay as near the winchester or Morgantown areas as possible for my friend driving down from Pittsburgh... Waterfalls, swimming holes, scenic views, any of that would be great. Would need the first hike at the very beginning to be short before the first spot we camp, because we will start in the early evening on Saturday.

    July 3

  • David V.

    I just signed up and will be coming from Alexandria (near King Metro). Anyone care to share the ride?

    July 3

  • Tina

    I am not feeling well -looks like I am caught a cold- and need to cancel :( Sorry for the late cancellation and I hope you'll enjoy.

    July 2

    • Frank

      Hope you feel better! See ya next time!

      July 3

  • Tina

    Carlos, thank you so much. I am actually planning to go only for the hike. Is the Vienna Metro a good spot for you to meet?

    July 2

  • Kelly

    Signal KNob is not that enjoyable in the summer time.

    July 1

    • Kelly

      I don't enjoy the Elizabeth Furnace area in the summer time, It is sooooo buggy and humid. I mean buggy, suggest bringing DEET and a bug net for face. I hike that area last week and the evening time and I miserable.

      July 1

    • Bethany

      Oh thats no fun. Thanks for the heads up, I might rethink my day. Anyone who isn't camping after going to see fireworks anywhere?

      July 1

  • Bethany

    This hike sounds amazing, no chance we'll be back to the cars by 4? I agreed to a later hike at signal knob to view the fireworks and the meetup is at 6, google says takes about 1.5hrs between places. But a swimming hole and 12 glorious miles?! How can I say no? If only I could fly or be in two places at once :)

    July 1

    • Frank

      I'm going to go ahead and say there's not really a chance, considering we're meeting at 10AM (then actually carpooling to trailhead), lunch, swimming if the weather is cooperative, and breaks to enjoy the view at Chimney/Calvary Rocks. Decisions decisions! Haha I'd loan you my helicopter if I had one.

      2 · July 1

  • Bethany

    Looks like im wait-listed, but does that even matter? Would anyone be offended if I just show up anyway? :)

    June 28

    • Kelly

      4:00 is cutting it close...I learned over the years not to make plans after hiking, never know what can hold you up.

      1 · July 1

    • Frank

      I would say no to be on the safe side. There's no guarantee what time we'll be back at the cars.

      July 1

  • Laura

    Hey guys, I had to cancel because of changes on my work schedule. I'm looking forward to the next time !

    Wishing you a great time over there !!!

    June 30

    • Frank

      Thanks for letting us know and changing your RSVP! Hope to catch you on the next one!

      June 30

    • Laura

      Definitely, thanks Frank !

      June 30

  • Frank

    Opened up a few more spots due to interest on the wait list. Come join the fun!

    June 30

  • A former member
    A former member

    Bit of car trouble at the moment, and I'm not sure if it will be fixed in time. Considering the waiting list, I didn't want to be too last minute with my cancellation. I was really looking forward to my first hike with Washington Backpackers. Next time!

    So, heads up waiting list! And have a great hike all.

    June 30

    • Frank

      Thanks for letting us know. Hope your car is fixed soon so you can join us on the trail!

      June 30

  • Frank

    For parking reasons, the meetup location has been changed to the Dollar General in Grottoes. Their address is: 107 3rd St, Grottoes, VA,[masked]

    June 29

  • Kelly

    Frank is away on a trip this weekend, he will respond when he gets back.

    1 · June 28

  • Frank

    Is anyone familiar with the western boundary of this hike? I was planning on taking Wild Turkey Lane to the Riprap trail head, but I was recently told this may require a 4x4 vehicle. Is anyone driving a truck or have knowledge of this road/stream crossing? If not, we may have to change the meetup location to the Skyline Drive trail head. Please let me know if you have any input/ideas! I will be looking further into it.

    June 13

    • marc

      Beautiful hike, definitely! The trailhead is just off Wild Turkey Lane. I'd recommend driving to the trailhead and those who can't cross the stream by car, drop off their hikers and leave their cars near the Dollar general (2 miles back, with one good car to drive across the stream). Its not so much about the water as the big rocks in the stream - but thats from our winter hike last winter. FYI - make sure you cross carefully, as someone in my group got really wet before ever starting last winter :)

      June 26

    • Frank

      Thanks for the info Marc! That's what we'll do!

      June 26

  • Steven C.

    I will meet at the 7-11.

    May 29

    • Frank

      Great, see you there Steven!

      May 29

    • Kelly

      Steve,I hope I can keep up with you!

      June 26

  • Katherine w.

    Anyone could give a ride from somewhere on dc red line? I can help with gas money and bring yummy snack requests from trader jos or whole foods!

    June 25

  • Saskia Grettel H.

    going out of town w/ the family =(

    May 29

    • Frank

      Next time Saskia!!!

      May 29

8 went

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