Hike to Compton Peak
Virginia › Compton Peak Parking Area
Added by Elyse Clark
- Short hike along the Appalachian Trail to two viewpoints
- Interesting geologic formation
- 2.4 mile round trip hike with 835' elevation gain
This unique hike on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park is 2.4 miles round trip with an 835' elevation gain, and leads you to two viewpoints as well as a cool rock outcrop.
Access this hike from the Compton Gap parking area (elevation 2,145') on the Skyline Drive at Mile 10.4. Cross the Skyline Drive and take the white-blazed Appalachian Trail south for a moderate but rocky 0.8 miles.
At this point you'll come to a T-intersection with a concrete trail marker. At this marker the Appalachian Trail continues straight, and there are two blue-blazed trails, each 0.2 miles, that break off to the right or left. Turn right at this intersection and hike 0.2 miles to a viewpoint on a rocky outcrop. Views are oriented North with a 180 degree visibility.
Return to the intersection with the Appalachian Trail and continue straight across the trail on the other blue-blazed trail. This 0.2 mile trail descends very quickly and is quite steep and rocky. You'll come to a large boulder with a blue blaze leading to the top. Climb up the boulder for a nice viewpoint; however, parts of the view are obstructed by trees.
Climb down the boulder and descend around the left side of the outcrop to the bottom. Here you'll see one of the best geologic formations in Shenandoah National Park: 700 million year old columnar joints, which are ancient lava that cooled quickly and shrank into hexagonal forms.
When finished, simply return to the T-intersection and turn right on the Appalachian Trail, heading north to Compton Gap and cross the Skyline Drive to return to your car.
- Hiking shoes
- $20 for Shenandoah National Park entrance fee
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Hiking, Photography, Rock Climbing
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
One of the most underrated peaks in the Shennandoah
I love the overlook here and it doesn't get nearly as much love as it should. It's also especially awesome to do along a backpacking trip in the summer where the views are essentially this big sea of green.
More Adventures Nearby
Hike to Historical Rapidan Camp in Shenandoah National Park
Virginia / Milam Gap Parking
For this hike park at the Milam Gap parking lot located at mile 52.8 on Skyline Drive. Once parked you will cross Skyline Drive to reach the trail.
Photograph Devils Knob Overlook
Virginia / Devils Knob Overlook
Located next to Wintergreen Resort, Devils Knob is super easy to get to and has an amazing 180 degree panoramic view.