Hike along rugged terrain and amid areas of verdant forest to reach one of the tallest peaks of Shenandoah National Park.
Marys Rock Summit Trail is a popular route to the summit of the 3,514-foot-tall (1,071-meter) Marys Rock. Follow the trail to experience the magnificent scenery of Shenandoah National Park, see curious rock formations and spot mountain wildlife. Stand at the mountain’s peak and gaze down over areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The trail is a 3.7-mile (6-kilometer) round-trip route that incorporates an elevation change of 1,210 feet (370 meters). Expect sharp bends and uneven terrain as you climb up through the thick woodland. The pathway is part of the Appalachian Trail, one of the world’s longest pedestrian-only hiking paths. Look for the stone walls built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, who were groups of men sent to work and learn trades during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The Marys Rock viewpoint marks the end of the trail. Here you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the national park. It offers glimpses of the rolling landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Consider hiking early in the morning or late in the afternoon for the chance to witness a spectacular sunrise or sunset. Bring a flashlight if you plan to return to the trailhead after dark.
The trail begins at Shenandoah National Park’s Thornton Gap Entrance Station, located on Skyline Drive. Pay the park fee, pick up maps and speak to rangers about the current trail conditions at the entrance station. Free parking is available at the trailhead.
Allow about 3 hours to hike the trail. April to October offer the best conditions, although you should expect large crowds during lovely summer weather. The trail is accessible in the winter; however, low temperatures and strong winds make the hike more challenging.
Marys Rock Summit Trail is one of several routes to the top of Marys Rock. A 7-mile (11-kilometer) round-trip starts at Pinnacles Picnic Area and passes the Pinnacle peak before reaching the mountain. Alternatively, take the adventurous route across boulder fields from Tunnel Parking Overlook.