An easy hike along a smooth and gradual section of the AT: Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PA/MD/VA/WV). Head out on this out-and-back, just off Skyline Drive, from the Mount Marshall Parking Area. Bring a camera because this hike ends with some views to be remembered.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Spring — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Family Friendly: A short, out-and-back hike with beautiful views at the turnaround point.
Start on the white-blazed AT: Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PA/MD/VA/WV) at the east side of Skyline Drive at the far end of the parking lot.
The trail starts out flat and then ascends steadily with a few switchbacks. Within a half-mile from the start, the trail bends sharply to the right. Look to the left for a nice view from an open ledge with a sheer drop off. Toward the of the view, you can spot Pignut Mountain and beyond toward the more distant peaks such as the Pinnacle, Mary's Rock, Stony Man, Millers Head, and Pass Mountain.
Farther right along this view a stretch of Skyline Drive is visible along South Marshall, with Hogback behind it. Extending to the right is Browntown Valley, Shenandoah Valley, and then Dickey Ridge, with Skyline Drive and two overlooks in sight.
For an optional addition to this hike, head to the summit of North Marshall. Unfortunately, the views from the summit are not as expansive, but the trail is easy. One hundred yards beyond the first viewpoint is a second, just off to the left. Again, this view is not as all-encompassing as the first, but from late August to early October, the view is framed on the right by the bright red berries of mountain ash.
From here, head back the way you came to the Mount Marshall Parking Area.
Thanks to Larry W. Brown, for sharing this 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