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Mary's Rock Out-and-Back

Intermediate
 4.0 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Mary's Rock from the Panorama parking lot is among the busiest and most scenic peaks along Skyline Drive.

J H

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Map Key

3.8

Miles

6.0

KM

Out and Back

3,456' 1,053 m

High

2,350' 716 m

Low

1,105' 337 m

Up

1,106' 337 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

30%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Overview

Get hiking fast at Thornton Gap by hiking to Mary's Rock from the Panorama Parking Lot. This heavily traveled route starting from the large parking area just south of the entrance to Skyline Drive offers a beautiful 360-degree view from the rocks at the summit after a moderate 1.9-mile hike up a rocky trail. Out and back, return the way you came for a total of 3.8 miles.

Need to Know

Handicap accessible bathrooms at the Panorama parking area.

Description

After entering Skyline Drive at the Thornton Gap entrance and heading south, one immediately comes to the Panorama parking lot on the right just across state route 211. With accessible running-water bathrooms it's a popular stopping point for people coming from distance before heading to their destination further along the Drive.

With access to the AT and Mary's Rock from the parking lot, it's also one of the busiest destinations along Skyline Drive, since it's the first trail access after getting on the Drive southbound. I think that adds some "spur of the moment" hikers who may not have planned a particular destination but just decided to "head up to Skyline Drive".

If you want to get hiking as soon as possible, this is it! There is also room for larger groups to meet up at Panorama. You definitely won't be alone on this trail, especially on weekends, but the parking lot is large enough to handle the crowd.

The hike up the AT is fairly smooth at first but becomes fairly rocky after a few switchbacks. With leaves on the trees there are few points with a view along the way, although you can hear the traffic on 211. The trail is a steady upward climb at an intermediate hiking level, nothing too dramatic until you come to the big boulders at the summit. There is plenty of room for a couple dozen hikers at the top, with many vantage points and higher rocks to climb up. Please be careful.

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J H

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#3688

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#116

in Virginia

#3,688

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99 Since Jul 24, 2021
Intermediate

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Photos

Sunrise view from atop Mary's Rock
May 24, 2016 near Luray, VA
Mary's Rock offers an incredible view out over the area's rolling hills.
Mar 23, 2017 near Luray, VA
View of Thornton Gap entrance to Skyline Drive from Mary's Rock.
Jul 24, 2021 near Luray, VA
Overlooking Thornton Gap
Dec 18, 2015 near Luray, VA
View from Mary's Rock on a hazy summer day.
Jul 24, 2021 near Luray, VA

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Check-Ins

Oct 27, 2021
Kirk Larrabee
Very nice, scenic, and well-kept quick hike that is a good choice for a wide range of visitors. 3.6mi — 1h 45m
Sep 5, 2021
James Hale