Shenandoah National Park: Hazel Mountain — Featuring a Cave, Waterfall, and MAHG’s Infamous “Hell’s Hill”! A Very Strenuous 10.5 Total Miles
Come and conquer what Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group affectionately refers to as "Hell's Hill"!
This hike is all about solitude— finding a small bastion of real wilderness just a 1.5-hour drive away from a busy metropolitan area that annually ranks in the nation’s top 3 for its terrible traffic congestion. Today's hike route takes us to the heart of what is known as Hazel Mountain Country, the last densely settled area before it became part of the Shenandoah National Park.
Hazel Mountain and Sam's Ridge once offered a sizable mountain community with all the tools and products for a decent living. Today, it draws people to its natural beauty. Better yet, this trail is only for pedestrians and their canines, so no bikers or horses to be seen. At Hazel River Falls, the stream drops 30 feet into a pool ringed by tall cliffs in the shape of a natural amphitheater. From here, a trail climbs to the heights of White Rocks, before dropping back to the river and more beautiful cascades. Throughout the area, a sharp-eyed hiker can spy evidence of mountain settlers.
While there are magnificent views along Sam’s Ridge and White Rocks trails: the scenic Hazel River, waterfalls, and even a small cave are all focal points of this trip; but it comes with some costs. The aforementioned cost includes a total elevation gain of over 2100 feet for the hike. At one point you’ll climb over 500 feet in less than 0.5 miles — only to find three more false summits before you, reach the “real” summit. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group affectionately refers to this particular climb as “Hell’s Hill.”
Pre-Approval Required for this Very Strenuous Hike
(Requirement Waived for Members Who Have Earned Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s “Pre-Approved for Very Strenuous” Hikes Badge and Have Hiked a Strenuous or Very Strenuous Hike with MAHG Within the Past 60 Days) You must contact the hike leader BEFORE signing up for this VERY Strenuous hike. The reason for this requirement is so that you and the hike leader can make an informed decision together as to whether this is a hike for you at this particular time. Hiking beyond your current physical limitations is dangerous and puts everyone, including yourself, at risk. At 48 hours before the hike, if anyone is signed up for this hike without first contacting the hike leader and gaining approval to attend will have their RSVP updated to “not attending” and no refund issued. (this is to encourage people not to fill up the hike without first getting approved). We appreciate your understanding and let's all have a great adventure!
Special Winter Gear Requirement for this Hike — Traction Gear
Traction gear allows you to hike easily on ice. As a safety precaution, Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group requires traction gear for certain hikes during the winter season. This requirement also helps us to enjoy hiking all four seasons! The most dependable/reliable traction gear, in our opinion, is either Kahtoola Microspikes (these are available at a great price directly through MAHG) or STABILicers Hike XP. Brands that use springs are highly discouraged due to accidents we have had with springs breaking and "clogging" with ice/snow. Traction gear also comes in handy for getting the mail or walking the dog, in addition to any other outdoor activity where there is ice involved. You can even run on the ice with them on!
Microspikes (ALL Kahtoola Gear) Now Available through MAHG!
ATTENTION!! In the market for traction gear? Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group proudly offers our members exceptional discounts for Kahtoola products, including Kahtoola MicroSpikes, purchased through MAHG! To purchase your pair, please contact me, Kellie ([masked] or call MAHGs main number at[masked]). Not only will you receive the best price you are likely to find anywhere, but ALL proceeds go directly to support Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group and our mission. *Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported 501(c)(3) non-profit public charitable organization - Tax ID 47-5141831.
Kahtoola, the manufacturer of Microspikes, recognizes and supports MAHG's mission and our valuable contributions to the community. For over nine years and counting and over 21K members strong, MAHG serves the community with over 5000 events, thousands of hours of stewardship service, and many educational opportunities.
Hiker Tip — Be prepared for the possibility of unexpected icy segments on the trail by adding traction gear to your pack at the beginning of winter and leave them in your pack for the remainder of the season.
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Luray, VA
Length: 10.5 total miles
Terrain: Dirt footpaths and old wagon roads lead to waterfalls and rock overhangs at Hazel Falls, views off White Rocks, stream side trails along Hazel River, and an old homesite on Sam’s Ridge. There are five total stream crossings, including one across the Hazel River so bringing water shoes to cross the streams is a good idea.
Elevation Gain: +/- 3000 feet
Skill Level: Very Strenuous - Due to the steep climb/hike up to what we refer to “Hell's Hill" along with White Rocks and five total stream crossings including one across the Hazel River so bringing water shoes to cross the streams is a good idea.
Trailhead Elev: 2700 feet
Top Elev: 2700 feet
Park Fee (SNP)
Entry Fee: $20.00 - Per vehicle, valid for unlimited entry from date of purchase and the following 6 consecutive days. Many of our members have annual park passes, so please coordinate together to share passes! 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 on visiting more than once, it is well worth it to purchase a pass! If an annual pass holder uses their pass to gain you entry to the park, please remember to show your appreciation and gratitude.
Click Here for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.
There are five (5) stream crossings on our route, including one across Hazel River. In warmer weather, we strongly recommend bringing water shoes to cross the streams for safety reasons in addition to helping to prevent blisters. At the very least bring a change of non-cotton socks.
We hike rain or shine. Click Here to view the forecast for the area where we will be hiking.
The goal for this hike is to maintain an average moving pace of ~ 2.5 mph. This speed is frequently used in popular hiking publications to represent the pace of an average hiker. We welcome you to please sign up for another hike if you know that this is not a comfortable pace for you. We strive to offer a variety of hikes and pace options so we can always have something for everyone no matter their interest and ability.
Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
Click Here to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.
Carpool Suggestions and Information
Note that you are responsible for knowing how to get from carpool locations to the venue. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is not responsible for transportation to and from events or carpools. Suggested carpool times and places are provided as a courtesy because many members are either new to the area or unfamiliar with a particular hike or venues location. Please use the 'Comments' section below, or reach out via e-mail to make arrangements for carpooling needs and offerings.
Baltimore Area Carpool Suggestion - Savage Station
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore area, people can arrange to meet at Savage Station. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Savage Station location.
DC Area Carpool Suggestion - Centreville
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, people can arrange to meet at the Centreville Park and Ride. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Centreville Park and Ride location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click Here for a list of suggested carpool locations complete with directions and other details including other carpool information. 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
Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 8:45-8:55 a.m.
The Hike is at 9:00 a.m
Carpool Time from Savage Station — 6:30 a.m.
Carpool Time from Centreville Park and Ride — 7:15 a.m.
Please remember we are a volunteer supported organization that values fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette and Leave No Trace principles. Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, and donations ARE tax deductible. Tax ID: [masked].
Fido Must be Pre-Approved BEFORE Attending This Hike. Our Hikes Route is much Tougher on Paws than Most trails. Contact the leader to discuss the route and your dog's experience to determine if this is a good hike for your dog at this time.
Let’s have fun out on the trails and see you there!
• Click Here to Learn more about Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s Mission.
• 100% of Every Dollar Goes Directly to the Expenses of Serving our Mission.
Hi All, I like to hike outdoors and meet new people. Debbie
I am a proud member of the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group leadership team.
I love getting out on a good hike with pleasant company.
Movement + the good outdoors + friends old & new... PRICELESS!
Refunds offered if:
Additional notes: Refund if you update your RSVP BEFORE 48 hours of this event. Visit midatlantichikinggroup.org for MAHG mission or click 'Pages' tab above. MAHG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization & donations (not fees) ARE Tax Deductible-Tax ID: 47-5141831
Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.