The Best Page County Hikes for Every Season
Nestled between the Blue Ride and Massanutten Mountains with the south fork of the Shenandoah River flowing through more than 300 square miles of pristine landscape, Page County is a paradise for hikers of all skill levels in every season. While every trail is captivating year-round, there are a few that those of us who know the area well are partial to at certain times of year. Check out our seasonal recommendations to hike like a local.
Hike! In the winter!
Hike? In the winter?
However you punctuate that sentence, Page County has a perfect hike for you. Linger on snow capped mountains or take a quick pic and dash back to the warmth of your car. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and the peace and still of the winter season.
Massanutten Mountain Trail to Kennedy Peak
This hike along the ridge of the Massanutten Mountains is rated moderate, and features trails that are wide and well marked, making it attractive for hikers with some experience to tackle even when it’s snowing. Those who brave the flurries – or even just enjoy the crisp, cool air – find a peaceful hike with spectacular views, culminating at Kennedy Peak. Once you reach the lookout tower, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley below, all the better if it’s sparkling with a fresh layer of powder.
If you’re more of a quick-pic-and-back-to-the-seat-warmers type, we can certainly relate. Storybook Trail in the Massanutten Mountains is for you! This half mile out and back trail is rated easy, paved and ADA accessible. Your short walk will open up to a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley for breathtaking scenery, no hiking boots required. If you’re not too cold to linger, the trail also features informative signs all along the way about how the Massanutten Mountains were formed.
Mural Trail and Hawksbill Greenway
Get a little antsy when there’s not a ready supply of hot chocolate in sight? Then we recommend the mural trail and Hawksbill Greenway in downtown Luray. This paved walking trail features more than 30 works of large-format art covering historic buildings, walls, overpasses and other structures. In several sections, the trail overlaps with the Hawksbill Greenway, which runs along Hawksbill Creek and provides it’s own intriguing scenery: a variety of birds! The Greenway is part of the Virginia Birding and wildlife trail, and is a paradise for birders. Best yet, it cuts right through downtown Luray, so you can take an easy detour to the local cafe and patisserie (or local wine bar if that’s more your warm up style).
Page County springs back to life (pun intended), and you won’t want to miss the blooming wildflowers along recently thawed streams.
White Oak Canyon Trail
You can begin this 9.5 mile out-and-back trail at either the top or bottom of the mountain, but pros recommend starting at the bottom so that your hike back to your car is downhill. Along the way, you’ll encounter multiple waterfalls varying in height from 35 to 86 feet and be surrounded by wildflowers along the canyon’s stream. There are ample spots to stop for a rest, a photo op or a snack.
Doyles River Falls
Looking for something a bit shorter and round trip? The Doyles River Falls trail features two waterfalls, each unique and beautiful, alongside plenty of wildflowers and wildlife. The trail crosses the creek at some points for a little extra challenge and a nice cool down. Don’t let the relatively short 3.3 miles fool you, the steep return is a great workout.
Dark Hollow Falls Trail
You may be picking up on a theme here: where there are waterfalls, there are also wildflowers and beautiful springtime adventures, and Page County is chock full. Dark Hollow is a relatively short 1.4 mile out-and-back trail suitable for most ages and culminating in beautiful falls surrounded by wildflowers in the Spring. Pros say to be prepared for muddy trails and arrive early to avoid crowds. Pop by the Big Meadows Visitor Center on your way back.
Summer boasts reliably good weather in Page County, but like much of the mid-Atlantic, it also brings high temperatures and humidity. You’ll want hikes with the opportunity to cool off, and you’re in luck.
South River Falls Trail
Located within Shenandoah National Park off mile marker 63 of the Skyline Drive, the South River Falls Trail is beautifully shaded and leads to an 83 foot tall waterfall. You’ll cross the Shenandoah River twice along the way, giving you an opportunity to cool off, and look down on the falls from a stone overlook 1.3 miles into your hike. But the real prize lies just beyond, accessible if you continue your journey down the fire road to the base of the falls. There you can splash, rest and snack.
Rose River Trail
The Rose River Trail is considered one of the most scenic waterfall hikes in the entirety of the Shenandoah National Park. The trail makes a 4-mile loop, and more than half of it follows falls and cascades. Because the trail parallels the Rose River, you’ll have near constant water views and access to jump in and cool off.
Cathedral-sized rooms boast ceilings ten stories high with towering stone formations around every corner. These easy-to-traverse underground caverns are naturally cooling and provide an eye-catching experience for all ages. Enjoy other cooling activities while you’re on the cavern grounds, like swinging through the air on the ropes course and zipline, creating your very own breeze.
Sport your bathing suit on this easy 1 mile hike to circumnavigate Lake Arrowhead. Jump in any time you start to sweat, or wait for the beach about halfway through your hike. This quiet path is a local secret spot, and it’s a great place if Shenandoah Park starts to feel a bit crowded for you. Take in the beautiful mountains rising above the lake. Stick around for sunset and a little stargazing.
Fall is all about the foliage, so to close out the seasons and our list, we’re taking you to the highest points where you can look out over the leaves changing all across the Shenandoah Valley.
The summit of Hawksbill Mountain is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park, standing at 4,050 feet and offering 270-degree views of the surrounding Shenandoah Valley. You can access the summit by hiking any one of three trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Once at the top, you’ll marvel at the multicolored leaves as they change from your panoramic view of the valley and surrounding peaks. Sunset pics are a must.
Stony Man Mountain Hike
Start your hike on the famous Appalachian Trail and continue this easy hike to the summit of Stony Man Mountain, where you’ll be greeted with expansive views of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains. Watch the leaves turn before your eyes, pack a picnic, or take in the sunset. If you’re looking for a little more adventure, extend your hike to rock climb at the Little Stony Man Cliffs.
Old Rag Mountain Trail
Like a little scramble? Rock scramble, that is. Old Rag Mountain is for you. Boulder and scramble your way along the 9 mile moderately difficult trail. Pack a lunch and plenty of water and stop at one of the many scenic false summits to rest and refuel against the backdrop of breathtaking views. Then reach the summit and enjoy an unparalleled view of the Shenandoah Valley. Who doesn’t love beautiful Fall foliage with a side of accomplishment?
Mary’s Rock Summit
Mary’s Rock is the eighth highest peak in Shenandoah National Park and is accessible by two trails of varying difficulty, depending on your mood. For an easier hike, begin at the Meadow Spring Parking Area. If you’re in the mood for something steeper and longer, start at the Panorama Visitor Center and follow the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail. No matter which you choose, you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of the park and surrounding area with all of its changing leaves when you reach the summit. For a little fun afterwards, Google how the mountain got its name.
Where to Stay
With so many trails to experience, we’ll look forward to seeing you every season. Page County offers a wide variety of accommodations; make sure you know where to stay: in the winter and spring, we recommend cabins, bed and breakfasts, and hotels in the Valley. Come summer and fall, check out cabins and campgrounds, including those inside Shenandoah National Park. You can search all the unique and wonderful places to stay in Page County right on this site.
Or become one of the truly dedicated who makes Page County their permanent home to explore all of the trails this tucked away gem has to offer.
- Massanutten Mountain Trail to Kennedy Peak
- Storybook Trail
- Mural Trail
- Hawksbill Greenway
- Gathering Grounds Patisserie and Cafe
- The Valley Cork
- Shenandoah National Park
- Skyline Drive
- South River Falls Trail
- Rose River Trail
- Luray Caverns
- Rope Adventure Park
- Lake Arrowhead
- Hawksbill Mountain
- Stony Man Mountain Hike
- Little Stony Man Cliffs
- Old Rag Mountain Trail
- Mary’s Rock Summit
Where to Stay