Whether you're an experienced hiker or just getting started, the Shenandoah 52 is right for you. With 2 flavors and one more on the way, you can hike bite-sized, achievable, or epic-sized journeys.
And should you need to prepare, we have some suggestions amongst many other tips on our blog.
For now, check out our videos on each of these trails to give you a handle on what to expect. You can anticipate that we'll try to upload a new video each week.
#1 | DICKEY RIDGE
The Dickey Ridge trail is one of the more family-friendly trails on the Explorer Series. There is one section that is uphill about 1.5 miles into the journey, but the overlook at the end of it is well worth the hike up the fire road.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=15.3/-78.2069/38.8624&pubLink=GPNePEX2vP72JC4NxP3ILUIK&trackId=4c91ae3f-6cd2-4127-af8d-94d0d8dba9fd&layer=GaiaTopoRasterFeet
#3 | LITTLE DEVILS STAIRS
Little Devils Stairs is a great alternative to Old Rag. There are some mini-rock scramble-esk features as you venture up the hollow. Plenty of waterfalls and scenery that are worth the journey up the mountain. After you reach the top, you can head back up to Skyline Drive or if you parked at the boundary, enjoy a walk down the fire ride passing Bolen Cemetery.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=14.1/-78.2770/38.7317&pubLink=QhOJzkeJWOXA3mzCR7OamXTW&trackId=76ef39e1-951a-4450-adf8-29988c82c966
#4 | Elkwallow / Mathews Arm Campground
Start this trek in the heart of Mathews Arm Campground, loop around Knob Mountain, and up Jeremy's Run for a mostly flat hike on the start and uphill towards the back half. This one is great for someone who wants to get started hiking longer trails because it's mixed in vertical climb and has a variety of sceneries.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=14.4/-78.3086/38.7567&pubLink=khsuxSpG6hfLHxjurYLzKpLB&trackId=f6fb4ff6-367a-4c1d-811b-572339a357b3
#7 | Buck Hollow
By far the best trail in the park for someone seeking a hike close to Northern Virginia and bonus, you can access it from the boundary line. Come early or arrive late because the parking lot is small and gets packed quickly. There is a steep incline up a set of stairs, that runs along the ridge, and a beautiful hollow walk down with the river that follows. Great for any time of year.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=14.8/-78.2988/38.6461&pubLink=N8zDedfluN4pFRwbVgFvp8ml&trackId=09428cab-0ddb-4487-b593-efa944535fae
#9 | Corbin Cabin (to Nicholson Hollow)
The Corbin Cabin Cutoff takes you down to the Hughes River and the historic Corbin Cabin. This loop is beautiful with an area for a picnic or a break from your hike to enjoy Shenandoah.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=16.3/-78.3576/38.6128&pubLink=DoKAbQ4tYD5Iwbha6OnJ3G23&trackId=b4510392-6d97-4023-8c31-1091d47e121a
#11 | Skyland / Limberlost
The Skyland Loop runs through Limberlost and is a great loop for all levels. If you want an easy trek for the day, park at Limberlost and hike about a mile down to the Robinson River. The entire trek around the loop is beautiful and well worth the adventure.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=15.4/-78.3777/38.5853&pubLink=OtV5Vxli7KKPA6qKAWpzcSIk&trackId=d071f3a0-8db6-4b76-b615-320074076866
#14 | Byrd's Nest 2 - Upper & Lower Hawksbill
The Hawksbill loop is one of the more popular loops in Shenandoah. You'll frequently see the lower parking lot full and the upper is hit or miss. With good reason, it's a short trek to an amazing overlook of the east valley. If you take it from Lower Hawksbill, it's a workout and from Upper Hawksbill it's quite a bit more even keel. Whichever route, this is a great trip with a great overview.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=15.4/-78.3969/38.5516&pubLink=enA2GpPPPArIWFjZ7wC7ZrUT&trackId=f9903b14-390c-4d12-9e98-32836b74ec5f
#15 | Big Meadows (to Camp Hoover / Camp Rapidan) to Mill Prong
The Big Meadows loop is by far our favorite loop on the Shenandoah 52. This trek takes you through the meadow, down to Camp Hoover, and back up Mill Prong on the AT. You get to see the east and west sides of the mountain with a few river crossings.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=14.5/-78.4305/38.5077&pubLink=h83eLEVIc2vARqEhB6fuMYpn&trackId=f13d532d-a1ce-4e49-b8b5-6345f8df933d
#16 | Rose River Falls to Dark Hollow Falls (via Fishers Gap)
The Rose River Falls loop is one of the most scenic in the park. Waterfalls on waterfalls on waterfalls... This is a 'don't miss,' however, it is heavily used on the weekends, so we recommend this one for a non-holiday, shoulder season, or weekday hike.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=17.1/-78.4158/38.5330&pubLink=t6inGYbIariXOSft4URaazQJ&trackId=7355b4d9-ca60-4d3f-9615-626067e08222
#17 | Laurel Prong to Cat Knob
Laurel Prong is a challenging trek in the central district. Great views on Cat Knob and vistas as you exit off the AT onto Laurel Prong Trail. You'll get some great views, a water crossing, and a challenging trek on this one.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=9.9/-78.6284/38.5153&pubLink=LHz3lZjdhUdnRIHe9jeTrAd7&trackId=3c40cef8-f061-41b0-81da-97b5e3c08aee
#18 | South River Falls
By far one of the most beautiful treks in the park, this one has a fairly large waterfall, which I believe is the 2nd largest in the park. Combined with a mix of views, beautiful scenery, and a challenging hike out -- the journey is more than worth that waterfall overlook.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=14.9/-78.5158/38.3802&pubLink=O5qL1raryfPEkTpNXZErIGmz&trackId=36078cd1-3127-48e3-ba47-3a37c13820a1
#19 | Saddleback Mountain
The Saddleback Mountain loop is easy and has a great picnic area about 1 mile into the trek followed by a natural spring shortly after that. Once you complete the loop, you'll find your way back on the Appalachian Trail back to the parking lot.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=15.2/-78.5201/38.3733&pubLink=yd0xjs4v68IEUHQ06YFAeBg0&trackId=1eb54bd0-037e-423e-a9ab-311866b1127d
#21 | Big Run Loop
If we lived closer to the South District of the park, we would be doing this loop multiple times per year. I may have complained about the uphill in the videos, but this one has everything and it's amazing for photography. We loved the stream that meandered its way through the hollow, the overlook view of the Piedmont side of the mountain, and the variation of trail difficulty. This is our favorite hike in the South District.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=9.9/-78.6284/38.5153&pubLink=0AkLtq0TwN2j2jahi4LZM4GF&trackId=7e4e91cb-cd4f-4d3c-ad86-ab0eb26d0527
#22 | Dundo Gap - Doyles River Falls (Jones Run)
One of the more challenging trails in the South District, this one is filled with waterfalls and scenic features. While it's lengthy in nature, it's more than worth the trip. When you venture down Doyles River Trail, you have a handful of beautiful falls, then back up Jones Run Trail, and you'll be met with equal beauty. This is one of our favorite trails down South.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=14.5/-78.7130/38.2366&pubLink=2ltuz9OckKA1375CT3ac9kJZ&trackId=935bb0d0-efb7-414b-b9ea-5e22d74f5163
#24 | Fort Wyndham Rocks
The North District is filled with some great hikes. We added this trail as a replacement to Stony Man since it's dog-friendly and we wanted to keep the "23." This one is a quick trek through the woods to Fort Wyndham Rock, which is a great area for climbing with the kids and exploring a unique land formation. The trail has no water access and is one of the more flattter trails originating on Skyline Drive. If you're North and need an easy in and out, this is your trail.
MAP LINK: https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=15.7/-78.1783/38.8304&trackId=cab8e6f4-6239-458b-8301-2c74858ed280