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Frazier Discovery Trail

Intermediate
 3.5 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An awesome, self-guided interpretive trail with a view with the option to continue up Loft Mountain.


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Map Key

1.3

Miles

2.1

KM

Loop

3,318' 1,011 m

High

2,899' 884 m

Low

420' 128 m

Up

420' 128 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Fall Colors · Views

Family Friendly A short loop with many interesting facts and places to explore along the way.

Overview

There is a box at the trailhead where you can get a printed guide for a modest donation. The theme of the trail is succession - the gradual change from pastureland to mature forest. The trail begins at the edge of Skyline Drive, 20 yards north of the road that goes uphill to the campground.

Description

A hundred yards from the road, the trail forks. Keep to the right; you'll be returning down the left-hand trail. Near the Loft Mountain summit, the Frazier Discovery Trail joins the AT. Turn left, and look for a small side trail on the left. It goes 25 yards to a cliff with a view. To your left, you can see buildings in the campground on Big Flat Mountain. Straight ahead is the Big Run watershed.

From the mouth of the hollow, the Rockytop ridge rises to the left, and Brown Mountain, with cliffs and talus slopes, rises to the right. Straight ahead is the Big Run watershed. From the mouth of the hollow, the Rockytop ridge rises to the left, and Brown Mountain, with cliffs and talus slopes, rises to the right. To the far right, on the east side of the Blue Ridge, is part of the Ivy Creek watershed.

Return to the trail and continue on the loop. After 0.1 mile, turn left and take the Frazier Discovery Trail away from the AT. (Continue along the AT to the north toward Loft Mountain for a longer option returning on the Ivy Creek Maint Hut Trail). Watch for a miniature natural amphitheater under an overhanging ledge. Except in dry weather, water drips from the ledge, and there's a tiny pool of water at its base.

A few yards beyond the amphitheater look for the remains of an old chestnut log to the left of the trail. If you look carefully at the far end of it, you can see a groove around it. This was the result of "deadening," in which trees were girdled to kill them so that light could reach the ground and grass could grow. The loop ends when you get back to the fork in the trail.

Thanks to Larry W. Brown, for sharing this trail description. If you're interested in learning more details about great hikes, weather, camping / lodging, wildlife, and scenic drives, check out the comprehensive Guide to Shenandoah National Park.

Contacts

Shared By:

Larry W. Brown

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#4255

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#130

in Virginia

#4,255

Overall
55 Views Last Month
798 Since Apr 28, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Poplar and oak from viewpoint on rocks at the top of Frazier Discovery Trail. with permission from rootboy
Apr 28, 2016 near Grottoes, VA
Large rock overhang, Frazier Discovery Trail. with permission from rootboy
Apr 28, 2016 near Grottoes, VA

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Check-Ins

Jul 20, 2020
Paul Avazier
Jul 18, 2020
Dave J
0.5mi
Apr 5, 2020
Jesse Daniels
Jan 20, 2018
R Ullman
Jun 3, 2017
Sundaresh Mullur
Nov 6, 2016
Melinda Shiflett
Nov 6, 2016
Mel Cordle
Jul 3, 2016
Jordan Gerber
Short but pretty.