15 Best Easy Hikes in Shenandoah National Park
Thanks to over 500 miles of trails, it’s a cinch to find easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park. There are hikes with minimal elevation gain and spectacular views.
All up and down Skyline Drive, you’ll find easy hiking trails that beckon visitors to step foot on them and see what they have to offer curious park-goers.
There are great hikes that can be accessed from boundary trailheads, too. As in, from points away from Skyline Drive, on the outskirts of the national park.
If you’re looking for easy Shenandoah National Park trails, I’ve got you covered. Here are 15 simple hikes with history, views, wildlife and cascades.
Easy Shenandoah Hikes
All of the trails below are in Shenandoah National Park. They are good for kids and first time hikers. However, there are lots of short hikes just outside the park.
A couple of my favorites for great views include the 1.9-mile Natural Chimneys loop hike in Mount Solon and the .7-mile Storybook Trail in New Market.
I encourage you to explore as many easy Shenandoah Valley day hikes as you can, including these short Shenandoah National Park hikes.
#1: Fox Hollow Trail (milepost 4.6)
The 1.2-mile Fox Hollow Trail starts across from the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. It’s one of the best easy hikes near the park’s north entrance in Front Royal.
Hike across land once owned by the Fox family before the park was created in 1935. This hard-working family cleared stones on both sides of the trail to farm.
The Fox family cemetery is one of more than 100 across the park. Inspect a few headstones to consider what daily life was like in the park’s ridges and hollows.
#2: Snead Farm Loop (milepost 5.1)
On this 3.4-mile hike you are rewarded when you reach the historic Snead Farm early in this hike. The white family barn is in very good shape for its age.
Behind the barn is a root cellar. This underground cellar would have stored vegetables, nuts and fruits for this industrious farm family.
To the left is a stone foundation, the remains of the family home. All that remains today is a stone outline and a couple of sets of stairs into the former home.
#3: Lands Run Falls (milepost 9.2)
At 1.2 miles round-trip, Lands Run Falls is one of several waterfall hikes in Shenandoah National Park. It is easy and fun for the whole family to complete.
Take the yellow-blazed Lands Run Fire Road. This wide, gravel path leads all the way to Lands Run Falls. It’s not only wide, but also stroller-friendly.
At the 0.6-mile mark, you will arrive at Lands Run. Plan to take off your shoes for a splish-splash in this small stream in the national park.
#4: Fort Windham Rocks (milepost 10.4)
The easy hike to Fort Windham Rocks starts from the Compton Gap parking area. It’s just .8 miles, but it’s a nice addition to the Compton Peak hike.
It’s worth the extra steps for the geologically curious Fort Windham Rocks. You’ll find two huge split boulders that have mysteriously risen from the earth.
This quick hike begins on the northbound Appalachian Trail. Follow blue blazes for the Dickey Ridge Trail and you’re only a few steps from the super-size rocks.
#5: Range View Cabin (milepost 22)
This easy hike leads to Range View Cabin, one of six primitive Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) cabins at Shenandoah National Park.
Range View Cabin was built almost entirely by PATC volunteers in 1932. For the stonework, the club hired local stonemason, Charlie Sisk.
You can’t enter the cabin (unless you rent it for the night), but it’s fun to explore the grounds. This hike shares a trailhead with the Sugarloaf Loop.
#6: Little Stony Man Cliffs (milepost 39.1)
While scenic views are plentiful at Shenandoah National Park, one of my favorite easy hikes on Skyline Drive leads to Little Stony Man Cliffs.
You’ll climb 300 feet over .65 miles to reach Little Stony Man Cliffs. I guarantee you’ll be awe-struck by the dramatic views from the rocky outcrops.
This hike is entirely on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. It’s also just 1.3 miles round-trip, making it a one of the shortest Shenandoah hiking trails, too.
#7: Passamaquoddy Loop (milepost 41.7)
The easy to moderate 2.5-mile Passamaquoddy Loop hike is popular, garnering over 160 reviews on AllTrails.com and an average rating of 4.4.
Start at the Stony Man parking area and go clockwise, if only because the connections between trail segments are more obvious in this direction.
Keep your eyes open for a hobbit door mid-hike. More likely it’s for the electrical technicians given there are power lines above, but it looks like a hobbit door.
#8: Millers Head Trail (milepost 42.5)
The 1.5-mile out-and-back hike on the Millers Head Trail adjacent to Skyland leads hikers to a former stone fire tower that dates back to the 1940s.
At the time, seven fire towers inside the park were manned around the clock. Take in views of surrounding mountains before you reach the observation platform.
At the .2-mile mark, a short spur trail leads to Bushy Top Observation Point for scenic views of Massanutten Mountain and working farms in the valley.
#9: Limberlost Trail (milepost 43)
The Limberlost Trail is one of the most-trafficked easy trails in Shenandoah National Park. This short trail does not allow pets (only service animals).
This 1.3-mile loop along a flat, crushed greenstone walkway is stroller-friendly and wheelchair-accessible. More than 15 wooden benches dot the Limberlost Trail.
On this accessible trail, you will cross bridges and boardwalk sections. For more steps, tack on the side trail to the scenic Crescent Rock overlook.
#10: Crescent Rock (milepost 43)
The 3.3-mile Crescent Rock hike at Shenandoah National Park is an easy one, leading hikers to sweeping views of Massanutten Mountain and the Ida Valley.
At the overlook, brush up on the history of families that lived on the land after the national park was officially established in late-1935.
The Crescent Rock Overlook can be reached on foot or by car. For the latter option, simply park in the sizeable parking lot at milepost 44.
#11: Pocosin Trail (milepost 59.5)
An easy 2.5-mile out-and-back hike on the Pocosin Trail in the park’s popular Central District leads visitors to Pocosin Cabin.
Pocosin Cabin is also managed by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). The cabin was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1937.
Proceed past the cabin to reach the ruins of Upper Pocosin Mission, which served the local mountain community before the establishment of the national park.
#12: Loft Mountain Loop (milepost 79.5)
For a photo-worthy loop hike with easy parking and access to sundries and supplies (in-season), the Loft Mountain Loop is a wonderful choice.
This 2.1-mile loop hike pairs the Frazier Discovery Trail with the Appalachian Trail for a scenic hike with rock scrambles, creek crossings and scenic vistas.
Hike this loop counter-clockwise to reach a show-stopping overlook at the 1.2-mile mark. This east-facing viewpoint would be beyond spectacular at sunrise.
#13: Blackrock Summit (milepost 84.4)
The hike to Blackrock Summit is an easy hike to love. It’s also an easy hike, and one that awes with a massive field of – you guessed it, black rocks.
Panoramic views across the Shenandoah Valley make this 1.8-mile hike a real winner. The hike also includes a short stretch of iconic Appalachian Trail.
A spur trail through a field of boulders leads to the Trayfoot Mountain Trail. The scenic vistas, which include Trayfoot Mountain, are even more sensational.
#14: Little Calf Mountain (milepost 99.5)
The out-and-back hike to the summit of Little Calf Mountain is short and sweet. It’s 1.7-miles and is a nice hike to end the day if you want to squeeze in one more.
This short hike is a stone’s throw from the Rockfish Gap entrance in the park’s South District. It’s an easy one to do if you’re spending time in Waynesboro.
The summit of Little Calf Mountain is more a lovely meadow than a rocky outcrop. Still, the scenic views are rewarding, especially at the end of a long day.
#15: Thompson Hollow Trail (boundary trail)
The Thompson Hollow Trail leads into the park from the end of Thompson Hollow Road in Bentonville. A gravel road guides visitors to the hiking trail.
At the 1.0-mile mark, this Shenandoah trail dead-ends into the Beecher-Overall Run Trail. Turn right at this junction. Within .1 miles, an oasis.
In .1-mile, turn left and you will reach large rocks to sit down on and some beautiful cascades and small waterfalls. As a bonus, a dreamy swimming hole.
Erin Gifford is the editor of Go Hike Virginia. She has completed more than 300 hikes in Virginia. She is also the author of three hiking guidebooks from Falcon Guides. Need help finding a hike? Check out the Trail Finder feature or send Erin a message.