Virginia has the longest stretch of the Appalachian Trail, covering 554 miles and ranging in elevation from 265 to 5,500 feet. That’s more than the 13 other states the trail covers. Get started on your trek with one of our recommended hikes.
Out & Back
This out-and-back hike takes you on a paved path through the old golf course along the Shenandoah River, then off-road on a flat footpath that winds through a grove of paw-paw trees, across a stream over stepping stones, and then a few more steps until you reach a beautiful waterfall.
The land you’re walking through was the site of the Battle of Cool Spring in 1864, much later became a golf course, and recently Shenandoah University reclaimed the property and maintains it as an outdoor classroom for both its community and the general public.
Beyond the waterfall is the River Ridge Trail, which connects into a network of trails, including the Appalachian Trail (just north of Raven Rocks).
Coming from Round Hill, head west on Route 7. Right before you reach the Shenandoah River, turn right onto Parker Lane. Warning: This turn comes up fast, so be prepared and mind the cars behind you if you stop suddenly.
Follow Parker Lane until you reach the Cool Spring lodge. In front of the lodge is a big parking lot.
Out & Back
This out-and-back hike takes you up and away from Rte 7 for about 1.5 miles before a half-mile steep descent to Raven Rocks Hollow Run, the turnaround spot. You’ll find a nice shady place to hang out and enjoy a snack before returning south to your car. If you’re thirsty, there’s a spring about 100 yards down a blue blaze trail where you can collect water (filtration recommended).
Hiking Upward has more great information. Their hike takes you all the way to the Raven Rocks cliff, which offers a beautiful view for only one more mile (round trip).
Coming from Round Hill, you have two parking lots to choose from:
- Raven Rocks: On your right at the intersection of Rte 7 and Pine Grove Rd (SR 679). This lot is closest to the trailhead, but is much smaller and fills up fast. Pay attention to the signs and do not park on the side of Pine Grove Rd unless you want to risk getting towed.
- Bear’s Den: On your left at the intersection of Rte 7 and Blue Ridge Mountain Road (SR 601). This lot is much bigger, but requires you to cross Rte 7 to reach the trailhead.
Bear's Den Parking Lot
Raven Rocks Parking Lot
The Appalachian Trail, less than 5 miles from Round Hill, is a designated National Scenic Trail that stretches 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia.