Hike the Stony Man Trail, Shenandoah National Park

Virginia Stony Man Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    1.6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    340 Feet

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Scenic

Stoney Man is a short, easy hike with some of the best views in Shenandoah National Park. This is a close hike for those staying at the Skyland Resort.

This short, easy hike will take you to some of the best views in Shenandoah National Park. As an added bonus, it’s perfect for catching the sunset without a long walk back to your car in the dark. If you’re looking to increase the level of difficulty, there is an alternate, moderate trail option that increases the mileage and the elevation gain, but won’t leave you breathless (until you reach the final viewpoint!).

The easiest route starts at the Stony Man Trail parking lot, just off the turnoff for the Skyland Resort at mile 41.7 on Skyline Drive. The Stony Man Trail starts on the Appalachian Trail - look for the blue and white blazes. After a half mile, keep straight at the junction following the blue-blazed Stony Man Trail for an additional 0.3 miles until you reach the final viewpoint. After taking some time to enjoy the view, continue on the blue-blazed loop back to the trail junction and retrace your steps to the parking lot.

Looking to burn a few more calories? An alternate 3 mile hike with 750 feet of elevation gain begins at the Little Stony Man parking area at mile 39.1 on Skyline Drive. The hike follows the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. After a quarter-mile, you will reach a trail junction with the Passamaquoddy Trail to the right. See Hiking Upward for additional information on this route option. Continue left at the junction on the Appalachian Trail for another 0.2 miles until you reach Little Stony Man Cliffs. This popular spot for rock climbing also provides great views of the valley below. Continue on for another 0.8 miles until you come to the trail junction with the Stony Man Trail. Follow the blue-blazes for an additional 0.3 miles until you reach the final viewpoint. After taking some time to enjoy the view, continue on the blue-blazed loop back to the trail junction and retrace your steps to the parking lot.

A few things worth noting: dogs are not permitted on this trail. And although it is an easy, family hike, use caution with small children on the rock outcrop at the final viewpoint, especially if the rocks are wet. Shenandoah National Park is open year-round, but Skyline Drive may be closed in the winter due to weather conditions. Always check for closures before you head out! Finally, if you want to grab a bite to eat post-hike, the Skyland Resort and dining room are just a short walk from the main Stony Man parking lot.

Trail map is available here (or ask for one at the entrance station).

Pack List

  • Shenandoah National Park pass (or pay the $20 entrance fee)
  • Camera
  • Water
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Lunch or a book to enjoy at the viewpoint
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Reviews

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This 1.3-1.5 mile trail provides 2 official and 1 other outlook that overlooks the valley. My kids who started the hike a little indifferent ended the trip with smiles on their faces. They commented on how beautiful the view was and observed multiple animals and insects. We all enjoyed the hike and appreciated the observation of life finding a way to survive where you least expected it, tadpoles living in a small pool in the rock was unexpected. There is nothing like communing with GOD's creation, unplugging from the electronic world, and just enjoying the silence of nature. Key Info: Must pay to drive on Skyline drive to get to the trail, sadly pets not allowed, and trail is child friendly.

13 days ago
13 days ago

One of the easiest hikes I have done in Shenandoah. The view is also spectacular. Great cliffs to look over. Trail is very clear.

28 days ago
28 days ago

This is easily one of the best viewpoints in Shenandoah NP, and the effort to reward ratio is extremely low. Even the more strenuous hike from Little Stony Man is relatively easy for anyone used to hiking, and it's easy to follow the trail. The views from the top extend about 270 degrees to the west, overlooking Skyline Drive to the north and the central portion of the park to the south. Tremendous for sunset, and the rocky outcrop is awesome for photography. Highly recommend.

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

We arrived to the trail and hiked straight up to the summit with no problems - it was really easy. Because we had some extra time we went back down and decided to hike the loop around the base of the main summit and I enjoyed that hike MUCH more. There are more outlooks, cool rock walls and more. Also the lower trail was much less crowded! Stony Man in my opinion was just OK, and I rarely rate hikes as "just okay."

7 months ago
7 months ago

Hope to return summer or fall. View is great, even in winter.

9 months ago
9 months ago

This is such a fun summit. Even my kids, both fearful of heights, enjoyed this and liked that they could climb around in areas that were very safe. Plus the views are amazing.

11 months ago
11 months ago

It's a fun, easy hike! Gorgeous views, but some of the views just from Skyline Drive are even more beautiful. If you are looking for a hike to take your kids on, this would be it!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Sarah GiekExplorer

Teacher by day. Explorer by weekend.

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