Stony Man Mountain
Just about 2 hours west of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, raises Stony Man Mountain.
Perfect for a weekend trip; Stony Man Mountain boasts breath-taking views of the Blue Ridge Mountain range.
Eclipsing 4000 feet, Stony Man Mountain is Shenandoah National Park’s second highest peak. The mountain lends its name to the rocky cliffs that dominate the summit. Free of trees, the summit provides breath-taking views of George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah River. Spend the day practicing your bouldering skills or simply taking in the moment. In addition, Stony Man provides home to various local wildlife including, Whitetail deer, black bear, turkeys, and bobcats. Don’t forget to pack the camera for this one.
Summit access is relatively easy. Little Stony Man Route will have you at the summit in about 40 minutes. An even easier hike, road access will get you with in a mile of the summit. The summit trails do not allow pets, so be sure to leave Fido at home for this one. Stop by the Rangers Station for detailed information on trails, wildlife, and other local attractions/services.
Feeling adventurous? Summit two peaks in one day.
Hawksbill Mountain, the park’s highest mountain, is just a few miles down the road. It is a short but steep traverse, as you will quickly gain 700’ of vertical elevation. The summit of Hawksbill has been developed by the National Park Service and with provided picnic benches along the route; be sure to take a lunch with you on this one. The summit of Hawksbill provides great views of yet another of Shenandoah’s pride and joy, Old Rag. The rockiest mountain in the park, Old Rag is another adventure in it’s own.
The Red Tape
Access to the Park requires a daily fee of $15 or an annual pass can be purchased for $30.
From Washington, D.C. area, take Interstate 66 West to US Route 29 south. Follow Route 29 to Warrenton where you follow signs for route 211. Once you go through town, you take a right to stay on 211, which is 34 miles from Skyline Drive via the Thornton Gap Entrance. At this point, pay the fee and head south passing mile marker 39, and parking at milepost 39.1 at the small parking lot on the right, which is named Little Stony Man Parking. Park here and follow the well-marked trail for about 1.5 miles to the summit.
Camping is permitted in the park if you decided to stay the night. Campsite information/regulations can be found here.
Stony Man Mountain provides the perfect opportunity to cross your first mountain summit off the bucket list. So, pack the car, hit the road and get outside!