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Holiday Southern SNP Hike! Rockytop and Big Run Loop: A Very Strenuous 13 Miles

  • Feb 17, 2014 · 9:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Holiday Hike in Southern Shenandoah National Park!

Rockytop and Big Run Loop: A Very Strenuous 13.3 Mile Hike

"This loop takes you along the high ridge of Rockytop Mountain where talus slopes and open boulders make for solitude-filled lookouts of the adjacent mountainscape and SNP Valley beyond.  Drop into crystalline Big Run, exploring the gorgeous valley of the park's largest watershed from low to high. The Big Run watershed is one of Shenandoah's backpacking destinations as well, even non the adjacent high ridges, where you must bring you own water." From Must Do Hikes in SNP

This hike offers plenty of stream views, ridgelines, historical interests such as old homesites, great views, steep hills, swimming (in season), and is most secluded! Also in season, there are tons of blueberries on this hike to enjoy and increase your chance of bear sightings so this is a great bear hike as well during berry time.

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.

Hiker Tip: In season, pack some frozen cream or Cool Whip and pick berries while you hike and you will have a tasty desert by the end of the hike after it has thawed.

Hike Pace

The pace for this hike will be a moderate pace and that of an average hiker (about 2.7 mph).

Trail Information

Activity Type: Hiking
Length: 13.3 total miles
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1570ft
Trail Type: Modified Loop
Skill Level: Strenuous
Duration: 8 to 10 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Shenandoah National Park
Note: Hike leaders and sweeps please use PATC map # 12, SNP, SouthernDistrict for this hike as it has the most updated trails in this area. If you do not have it, please contact Kellie and I will send one to you to keep and if it is short notice I have the entire map, trip description, etc. scanned in as a .pdf as well. I want to give credit where credit is due, so once again, to clarify, this hike is hike number 41 from the book "Must-Do Hikes in SNP".

Special Winter Gear 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!

Weather Information
We hike rain, snow, or shine (Hence the special gear requirement). Click here for the forecast of the area we will be hiking.

Carpool Information

There are 2 carpools for this hike!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.

DC Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meet at the Centreville Park and Ride. Click here for informationand directions to the Centreville location.

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 Directions to Where We Meet for This Hike.

Hike is at 9:00 a.m.

Carpool meetup time from Savage Station is 5:30 a.m.

Carpool meetup time at Centreville Park and Ride is 6:15 a.m.

Important Winter Note for Hikes in SNP

Please call the park's recorded information line: (540)[masked], 1, 1 for the most current Skyline Drive status if there is any question about road conditions on the morning of the hike. If you have any questions, please contact our groups organizer, Kellie, at[masked] or the hike leader(s) at the number(s) at the bottom of this listing. Please note that while we do not have your phone number, you do have Kellie's and the leaders. Road conditions can change rapidly, often overnight.

Gear Information

Click here for suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.

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 Welcome on This Hike ONLY With Leader Approval Due to the Hike Difficulty. Please Contact the Leader Via Phone or E-Mail for More Information So That You Can Make An Informed Decision

Let's have good times and see you on the trail!


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  • Megan B.

    Hi guys, I am interested in joining this hike (or an alternative hike with the group). There is significant snow though in SNP and Skyline drive is still closed. I ended up in the Old rag area yesterday, the parking area is accessible by AWD vehicle and a few brave 2WD vehicles, if anyone is interested in hiking in that area.

    February 16, 2014

  • Deborah E. G.

    I am open to sn alternative.

    February 15, 2014

  • Deborah E. G.

    I think I will now out unless the snow report is more positive. I have snow shoes but don't want to snowshoe for 13 miles.

    February 15, 2014

  • Deborah E. G.

    I think I will now out unless the snow report is more positive. I have snow shoes but don't want to snowshoe for 13 miles.

    February 15, 2014

  • Jenne World T.

    Will we need snowshoes?

    February 14, 2014

    • Jenne World T.

      I will not attend a deep snow hike without snowshoes ever. It was brutal to hike/walk even with super-spikes in 2 feet of snow in central SNP today!

      February 15, 2014

  • Matt T.

    White Oak parking lot was under a foot of snow this morning, so even trails that don't start on Skyline Drive may not be accessible. You could probably check with a ranger to see which parking lots are plowed. Sky Meadows was open, and while snowshoes weren't absolutely necessary, they would have been a good idea.

    February 15, 2014

  • Kathryn

    I think im opting for a simpler outdoor day on Monday hope to see you all on another hike soon!

    February 15, 2014

  • Kathryn

    Hello - Is this hike still on given the snow, weather and low number of attendees?

    February 14, 2014

  • Matt T.

    It looks like this hike is only accessible by Skyline Drive. Is there a plan for an alternate?

    February 13, 2014

4 went

  • Michael H.
    Certified Hike Leader and Wilderness Medical First Responder, Co-Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Deborah E. G.
    .. Pre-Approved for Very Strenuous Hikes!
  • Matt T.
  • A former member
  • A former member

Your organizer's refund policy for Holiday Southern SNP Hike! Rockytop and Big Run Loop: A Very Strenuous 13 Miles

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