Backpack White Rocks, George Washington NF

9.8 miles  - Loop Trail

Added by Susan Billings

With a spectacular view at Opa overlook, superb camping spots, beautifully forested trails, and a babbling creek, this 10 mile loop is a backpacker’s dream in West Virginia.

The trail begins near the upper parking area next to a closed gate. If you park in the lower parking area, you'll have to walk about .3 miles up the road to get to this gate.

Start out on the forest service (FS) orange blazed trail, following it for about a quarter mile. From there head onto Old Mail Path, the pink blazed trail. On it, you’ll continue past Cove trail, finally turning right onto Racer Camp Hollow Trail/FS, also orange blazed. After turning onto this trail, you will pass a few clearings and the FS road will end. Stay on Racer Camp Hollow, taking the trail into the forest and crossing a stream multiple times. This is a great section of the trail to fill up on water for the night. Be sure to do this before you head up the ridge!

When you arrive at a large hunter’s campsite, keep going, but look out for an intersection of a blue and a purple blazed trails. You’ll turn left onto the blue trail (Tuscarora Trail) and head upward. After about 1.4 miles, you'll crest the ridge. From this point, keep an eye out for an off-shoot trail to the right. While this trail is white blazed, it's not marked very well. But it’s usually identifiable by a few small cairns, stacked rock formations, at the entrance. This trail is a quick walk to Opa Overlook, a beautiful vista that overlooks a forested valley. They say that on very clear days you can see all the way to Shenandoah National Park. This view is incredible!

The intersection with the white blazed trail, also marks an area (approximately 300 yards in diameter) that is filled with great, durable sites to set up camp. Some sites even have established fire pits, so you can enjoy a great campfire without worrying about damaging the environment around you.

In the morning, pack up, clean your area and head out! You’ll have about 4 miles left to complete the loop. Continue on blue Tuscarora Trail for a half mile, then turn left onto the pink Old Mail Path, heading down the ridge. When you arrive at a clearing, you will see an intersection with the orange blazed road you have already been on. But keep heading downhill on the pink. You’ll eventually get to a yellow blazed FS road. Turn left on this and head back to the parking lot.

A few tips:
  • Wake up for sunrise and head out to Opa Overlook! The view faces southeast and you will have an AMAZING view of the sun rising over the blue ridge mountains.
  • With many turns on the trail, I’d suggest printing out detailed instructions from HikingUpward.com and bringing them with to refer to along your hike.
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Tags

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Easy to miss that turn

In the last turn detailed, it's an easy one to miss. There were no cairns when I went, however I stacked a couple rocks to help the guy who has trouble finding those white blazes. Also recommend heading out to the overlook during sunset. It's a great spot to take it all in before turning in for the night.

Great Sunset/Sunrise Hike

Beautiful views of the sunset (facing south and east) and sunrise. Really great camping spots close to overlook+

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