Calvary & Chimney Rocks Hike: Cool Rocks, Big Views at Shenandoah National Park

The moderate 3.2-mile out-and-back hike to Calvary and Chimney Rocks starts a short drive from the Rockfish Gap entrance at Shenandoah National Park. 

This hike follows the white-blazed Appalachian Trail and blue-blazed Riprap Trail to the wonderland of Calvary Rocks and the flat top rocks at Chimney Rock.

This cool hike starts at the Riprap Trail parking area at milepost 90 at Skyline Drive. The lot is shared with the hike for the 9.8-mile Riprap Loop. 

The Calvary and Chimney Rocks loop hike has an overall elevation gain of more than 800 feet, so the hiking can be steep at times, but the views are rewarding. 

Trail Stats
Length3.2 miles
Trail TypeOut-and-Back
Elevation Gain860 feet
Duration1.5-2.5 hours
TerrainMostly dirt & rock trails
Fee$30 per vehicle (good for seven days)
Driving DirectionsClick Here

Calvary and Chimney Rocks Hike 

Begin the hike toward the back of the 10-car parking area. You’ll see the large trail kiosk that outlines the routes for each of the scenic hikes.

Walk past the trail kiosk, but you won’t get far before you reach a concrete trail marker. Make a right turn here to ascend the white-blazed Appalachian Trail.

From here it’s a slow climb until the 0.4-mile mark when you turn left onto the blue-blazed Riprap Trail. You’ll take this trail all the way to Chimney Rock.

At the 0.6-mile mark, you’ll see the perfect log to sit down on for a snack with a northeast-facing view. It’s like an oasis after the ascent to the Riprap Trail.

You’ll pass through a talus slope (like a rock slide) at the 1.1-mile mark. Look for lots and lots of rocks. Fortunately, there is a fairly clear path through the rocks.

Talus Slope-Riprap Trail

In another 0.1-mile you’ll reach several rocky outcrops with northwest-facing views of the valley and farms below. You have not yet reached Calvary Rocks.

At the 1.5-mile mark, you will arrive at Calvary Rocks. It’s a mysterious wonderland of gigantic rocks. You can even scramble to the top for wide-open views.

Calvary Rocks

In a few more steps, at the 1.6-mile mark, you will reach Chimney Rock. These are very cool, flat top rocks. Choose one you like, then take a seat for the panoramas.

Once you’ve soaked in all the views across Shenandoah Valley, simply re-trace your steps to the parking area.

Wrap-Up Notes

From the parking area, this hike took me 80 minutes, including time spent ogling the views. I did not, however, scramble to the top of Calvary Rocks.

Turk Mountain Overlook

Just 30 minutes away, Waynesboro, Virginia is the closest town for post-hike eats and sips. A couple of faves include The Fishin’ Pig and The Tailgate Grill. 

Eager for more hiking trails? Check out my favorite hikes in Shenandoah National Park’s South District, including Turk Mountain and Blackrock Summit.