Backpack Rocky Mount Trail in Shenandoah National Park



9.8 miles

Elevation Gain

2200 ft

Route Type


Added by Christin Healey

This roughly 10 mile dog-friendly loop offers great views from the ridgeline and stunning wildflowers in the spring and fall colors in October and November.

The trail begin 0.1 miles north of Two Mile Run Overlook at milepost 76.2 on Skyline Drive. You can park at this overlook for the night, just make sure you fill out a (free) wilderness permit and walk the short way on Skyline Drive to the trailhead.

Immediately climb a wooded knoll before heading northeast on a ridgeline. Reach a trail junction at 2.2 miles and take a left towards the summit of Rocky Mount. At mile 3.3 there is a small trail to the left that leads out to an amazing view of the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah River to the right.

You will summit Rocky Mount at 2,741 feet and then begin your descent on a lesser-used trail. At 4.6 miles you will reach a tributary of Gap Run and rock-hop two streams. There are good campsites on the flats of Gap Run, or you can find a good spot near the summit if you are overnighting it. Just keep in mind there are no "official" spots so you will have to get creative.

Follow the blue blazes until you reach mile 6 and and another trail signpost. At mile 7.6 you will reach the first junction in the trail where you will retrace your steps 2.2 miles back to Skyline Drive. The entire loop is 9.8 miles with 2,200' elevation gain and well marked.

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Fun, diverse landscape, but exhausting

Me and my boyfriend hiked the reverse trail without realizing it, and it was absolutely exhausting. I don't think it would be as bad to hike the recommended way, however. I actually really enjoyed this trail and liked how the landscape and plant life changed as we traveled - it went from a dead tree forest, to green and mossy, to rocky, to piney. There were not as many views as some of the other trails in the Shenandoah, but it's still a beautiful summit and there are peeks of mountains occasionally. I really liked that the second half of the trail (our first half since we went in reverse) ran alongside a stream for quite a while; we brought a water filter and were able to refill our bottles with very cold, clean water. There were some nice flat areas to camp, and one perfect spot at the edge of the stream right after first crossing it following descent from the summit. All in all, this was super fun until my backpack started weighing me down. Definitely not a beginner trail. Take lots of water and be prepared for your legs to feel like jello!!

Solid spot

While I haven't camped this, I scouted out the spot on a hike for photos and its something I'll definitely be doing. The fact that there is only one spot is a bit stressful (if someone else is there), but I think it'd be worth it to roll the dice. Great photo opportunities up here.

Remote, beauty in the Blue Ridge

This is a great little hike in Shenandoah, and one of the few places I know of that has a campsite with these views. The hike is pretty moderate, with the last mile being a little rough, but it's a gorgeous site when you do get to the top. There is no marker for the peak, but it's fairly obvious when you reach the top as you will begin to loose elevation fairly soon. It's true there is only one site up there, but I've never seen anyone else up there so odds are pretty good. Biggest thing to remember is you have to bring your own water.

Not Worth It

Pay attention, you might miss it. No marker for the peak. The sights were not worth it. The hike is grueling.


Can become pretty strenuous the last mile. We went to camp and there is only really one spot so if multiple people are up there to camp you might be out of luck. The views at the summit weren't really worth the work to get up there (we went when it was extremely hot which made it a bit more unpleasant).

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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