Hike: Keyes Gap to David Lesser Shelter

Hike: Keyes Gap to David Lesser Shelter


6 Miles

Route Type

Out & Back




A simple walk in the woods along the Appalachian Trail starting from the Keyes Gap parking lot turning around point at the David Lesser shelter – an excellent example of an Appalachian Trail shelter used by thru-hikers walking from Georgia to Maine. It’s the perfect midway point to relax and eat your lunch, complete with a picnic table and swing. Just downhill from the shelter is a stream where you can collect water (filtration recommended).

A little local history on Keyes Gap from Wikipedia:

Keyes Gap or Keyes’ Gap is a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountain on the border of Loudoun County, Virginia and Jefferson County, West Virginia. The gap is traversed by Virginia State Route 9/West Virginia Route 9. The Appalachian Trail also crosses the gap.


Originally known as Vestal’s Gap, the 906 feet (276 m) gap is one of the lowest crossings of the Blue Ridge in Virginia. During the colonial period the main road between Alexandria and Winchester ran through the gap. As such, part of General Edward Braddock’s army under George Washington crossed through the gap on their way to Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War.


By 1820, the main route west became the newly completed Snickers Gap Turnpike which crossed the Blue Ridge to the south at Snickers Gap, and Keyes Gap lost its prominence. Despite this, Keyes Gap was still of strategic importance during the American Civil War, as it provided an alternate “back route” from Virginia to the key point of Harpers Ferry.



Coming from Round Hill, on the right side (north) of Route 9 right at the WV / VA border. Parking spaces are limited, so carpool when possible.

Did You Know? Sleeter Lake Park

Sleeter Lake Park is a hidden gem located in Round Hill, VA. This beautiful 21-acre park offers something for everyone, from fishing and kayaking to hiking and picnicking. The centerpiece of the park is the 100-acre lake, which is home to a variety of fish, including bass, catfish, and sunfish. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just looking for a relaxing day on the water, Sleeter Lake is a great spot for fishing.

In addition to fishing, the park offers a network of hiking trails that wind through the woods and around the lake. The trails range in difficulty from easy to moderate and offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding hills. The park also has a picnic pavilion and several picnic tables, making it a great spot for a family outing or a group gathering.

Army Colonel Frank Sleeter, the original owner of Hill High Orchards, created Sleeter Lake in the late 1960s when he built a dam along a local creek to irrigate his peach and apple orchards.

Be sure to check it out and experience all it has to offer.

You can find more information on the Town website.