Hike to Mary's Rock Summit in Shenandoah National Park

Virginia Meadow Spring Parking Area

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A beautiful hike with expansive views of Shenandoah National Park and the valley below.

Mary’s Rock is just south of the Thornton Gap Entrance in Shenandoah National Park’s Central District. This write-up details the hike from the Meadow Spring Parking area, but there are alternate routes starting from the Panorama parking area (3.7 miles round trip), Jewell Hollow Overlook (6 miles round trip) and Buck Hollow parking area (9 miles round trip). The Meadow Spring option is the shortest route to the summit, which is my preferred choice when hiking to see the sunset.

The Meadow Spring Parking area is just past the Hazel Mountain Overlook on Skyline Drive, at mile 33.6. Across the street from the parking area, the trail begins 50 yards south along Skyline Drive. The Meadow Spring Trail is marked with blue blazes and is easy to follow. Most of your elevation gain will be on this first stretch of the hike, which is 0.6 miles in length. Look for the old homestead about halfway up.

After reaching the junction with the Appalachian Trail, turn right and follow the white blazes. This section of the trail is mostly flat and will provide a few viewpoints before reaching the Mary’s Rock Lookout Trail. Turn left at the next intersection and follow the trail for a short walk to the summit, where you will find a 180 degree view that includes the Shenandoah Valley, surrounding mountains, and the Thornton Gap Entrance. The rock outcropping is a great place to eat lunch, especially if you chose one of the longer route options. It is also one of the best places in the park to watch the sunset. To return, retrace your steps back to the parking area (be mindful of the trail junctions; you can easily miss a turn and end up at the wrong parking area!)

Although Shenandoah National Park is open year-round, Skyline Drive may be closed in the winter due to weather conditions. Always check for closures before you head out! If you’re thru-hiking, Byrd’s Nest Shelter #3 is 0.7 miles south of the junction with the Meadow Spring Trail on the Appalachian Trail and is available for overnighters.

For a hiking map of the area, visit NPS.gov (or ask for one at the park entrance).

Pack List

  • Shenandoah National Park pass (or pay the $20 entrance fee)
  • Camera
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Water
  • Lunch to enjoy at the summit
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Activities:

Photography, Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

2.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1000 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic

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How to Get There

about 2 months ago

Awesome Views But Noisy

The one real negative on this hike is it is so close to the Thorton Gap entrance, you get a lot of road noise while hiking and from the summit. The views are great and it is an easy trail to find as it is right at the Panorama Station.

about 2 months ago

2 months ago

Some If The Best Views In The Park

Worth it 100% A moderate hike well worth the effort.

2 months ago

8 months ago

Love!

This is the perfect Shenandoah Day hike. It's close to the park entrance, you'll get your heart rate up, and the view is incredible!

8 months ago

about 1 year ago

Great Hike

Easily my favorite overlook in the park-there's a relatively easy way up to a 360 degree view (just make sure you have good footing). Haven't been up for a sunset yet but i am willing to bet it will be amazing when I make it up there one evening.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Quick, Beautiful Hike

Quick and relatively easy hike to a beautiful view!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Beautiful hike with multiple overlooks

Did an early spring hike, starting from the Jewell Hollow Overlook. A great hike for someone who wants a solid hike without too much of a challenge. The trail can be rocky in places. There are 3 or 4 small outcroppings as you hike with great views looking westward. Once you get to Mary's rock, you can climb up for a 360-degree view. There is plenty of space to grab lunch but shade immediately near the rock is limited. All in all an amazing hike.

over 1 year ago

Added by Sarah Giek

Teacher by day. Explorer by weekend.

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