top of page
  • Writer's pictureCampBrood

You NEED To Hike Stony Man Trail With Us! - Shenandoah National Park

Updated: Jan 27

Come hike with us as we show you one of the top 10 hikes in Shenandoah National Park. Stony man may not be the most challenging hike in Shenandoah but its accessibility and the stunning views it offers make it a rewarding experience for hikers of all levels. We can’t wait to share with you all the details. Let’s Get Started! To watch the video version of this blog go to YouTube here. Otherwise continue reading below:

First we’ll get into what the hike is like and stay until the end because you don’t want to forget two important items to put in your hiking backpack.

What's the experience like on the Stony Man Hike?

As you can tell from the beginning of these photos, and what we show throughout, this is an easy to moderate trail. You’ll enjoy strolling through the woods and enjoying the forest but when you reach the stony outcropping that reveals the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountain tops you’ll want to pause and take it all in. But more on that later. Let’s move on to trail specs and later we’ll tell you where to find this trail in Shenandoah.

How long is the Stony Man Hike?

The hike to Stony Man Mountain Summit and an amazing viewpoint is 1.6 miles round trip. It’s an easy hike with only 340 feet of elevation gain. The peak elevation is a little over 4,000 feet.

If you enjoy Pinterest here is a picture to pin to your board:

Another question you might have is

Where is the Stony Man Trailhead?

The Stony Man trailhead has it’s own parking lot between Skyland and Skyline Drive. It’s located at Mile Marker 41.7 with a quick turn onto Skyland Upper Loop. This whole area is considered Skyland which if you look at the length of Shenandoah which runs north and south is just above the half way spot. But you may be wondering

Why is it Called Skyland?

We’ll go into details in another post but “Skyland” was created in the late 1800s by private entrepreneurs and was built for vacationers seeking escape from nearby urban locations. Shenandoah is only 2 hours from downtown Washington DC so this was a perfect place not too far away. The leader George Freeman Pollack had a flair for spectacle and exhibition and probably renamed the Stony Man Camp to Skyland in 1902 for marketing purposes. Back to today and an important question

Are there Restrooms and Facilities along the trail?

You will not find any bathrooms at the trailhead or on the trail. But this is so close to Skyland we drove up there for a minute, visited the hotel and gift shop, used the bathroom, explored a little and hit the trail. They also have a restaurant and larger parking lot that is only ¼ mile from the trailhead parking lot.

Now we’ll talk about who should hike Stony Man and later we’ll tell you the one hike you can skip because you hiked this trail instead.

Is the Stony Man Hike Suitable for Beginners?

Stony Man trail is a popular trail in Shenandoah National Park. There are a few reasons. One is its 1.6 mile round trip limited distance. The trail only takes about an hour to complete. With an elevation gain of 340 feet there are inclines and declines that could present a challenge. Basically, if you can climb stairs, walk 2 miles, and can balance well on uneven terrain this trail is good for you. The trail is also great for small children but you may have to carry little ones and help them watch their step. We’ll talk about the gear you should pack to make the hike as easy as possible later.

What is the Best Time to Visit the Stony Man Hike?

Stony Man Trail like many, is special in all seasons. But they are all different and we’ll share the best month to avoid people in a minute. The Spring season will provide you with budding wildflowers and new growth. Summer will provide spectacular greens as you can see here and the Fall colors of Shenandoah I can only imagine. In the winter the trail can be dangerous, especially the viewpoint. Ice and snow can cause you to cancel the hike. Rain can, too depending on the amount of rain and your hiking ability. Shenandoah is popular in the Summer and during Fall colors. If you are looking for a less popular time of year, April is one of the better months. We’ve talked about what people can hike the trail but,

Are Pets Allowed on the Stony Man Hike?

Pets are allowed in Shenandoah National Park. of the 500 miles of trails in Shenandoah only 20 miles are restricted. Some of the most popular trails are not for dogs. Stony Man, Old Rag, Bearfence Mountain, and Dark Hollow Falls are a few of the trails where pets are prohibited. Stony Man Trail has narrow areas that do not allow for people to pass each other well with pets. The stone outcroppings can be dangerous for pets and owners who would bring their pets. Leave your dog at base camp for this one. Speaking of animals

What kind of wildlife can I expect to see on the Stony Man Hike?

Honestly, we didn’t see a lot of wildlife on the trail. Mammals and birds enjoy Shenandoah National Park. You should be able to see deer, squirrel, and chipmunks. Expect to see insects if you take your time and keep your eye on the trail. You could also see snakes. Bobcat and bear are in Shenandoah but they are more shy.

We’ll talk about what gear to bring a little later but every hike needs a dad joke. This joke is a question. What's funnier? The Shenandoah Mountains or the Valley? The Mountains of course - they’re hill areas.

We’re in the middle of this post and just want to say thank you for spending time with us here at CampBrood. If you are enjoying this post and want to learn more about great hikes in the national parks subscribe right now so you can find us again for other Shenandoah hikes or when you plan your next national park adventure.

All right back to the trail and some people ask

Is there a Fee to Access Shenandoah National Park and the Stony Man Hike?

Skyline drive has limited access and each entrance into the park has a fee station. Expect to show your National Park pass at these entrance stations or pay your fee. The price varies depending on your length of stay, age, and how many people are in your group. The park fee will get you into all areas of the park including all of the trails and roads. Make sure to ask for a map of Shenandoah at the gate.

Now we’ll talk about the gear but stay until the end as we’ll share some of the features you can see on the Stony Man Outcropping after that, so you can decide if this hike is worth it. So,

What Should I Bring With Me for the Stony Man Hike?

The trail is short and takes about an hour to complete. But we still took hiking daypacks and our full gear set. We recommend the following for your pack. You should bring a first aid kit on every hike. The uneven footing on the trail can cause a trip or stumble that leads to bumps, scrapes, and bruises or worse. A band-aid can save a hike and make everyone in your brood feel better. Water is necessary. For these small hikes we put water bottles in our daypacks. Hunger can set in at any time. But if you pack protein bars, trail mix, and other snacks you can attack hunger and continue on your way. Apply sunscreen before hiking or take it with you in your pack. Depending on the time of year insect repellent is recommended. Make sure you also carry a map and compass. Here is a map of stony man for example but with over 500 miles of trails in Shenandoah we noticed a lot of intersections and it is always good to know which direction you are traveling. Most people don’t think about this but with large drop offs and steep cliffs make sure you also pack a rescue rope. Other gear to help you hike the trail are good hiking shoes and trekking poles.

For examples of the gear we took on our hike check out these links below for more details.

Teton Sports Hydration Pack Video Review: 

Amazon Link: 2021 model 

Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E hydration backpack Video Review for younger hikers: 

Amazon Link: 

Merrell Moab II Men's Hiking Shoes: 

The First Aid Kit we carry: 

Trekking Poles: 

Tactical Flashlights: 

Here are dad joke books for great gifts: Dad Jokes Around the Campfire: 600 Funniest Dad Jokes: To view any product mentioned by us in our videos, click this link: As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

What Makes the Stony Man Hike in Shenandoah National Park Special?

You’ll enjoy this hike for the stroll through the woods. There is a lot to see and discover in the forest. Like this tree for example. It’s such a unique thing to see this tree growing in between the rock. It’s just defying the weight of the rock and growing strong through it. The Appalachian Trail has a history and significance for any hiker. Being on the trail and seeing people through hike adds to the joy of the trail. But what you can see at the Stony Man outcropping is amazing. From here you can see Little Stony Man to the right along with Skyline Drive behind it. Little Stony Man is another hike many people do but I don’t see any reason to hike it as you will see the same experience. To the left you can see the Skyland lodge area and other mountain tops as you look towards the big meadows area and the Visitor’s center. But some of the best views are out and beyond as you look down at the Shenandoah Valley. Here you can see many farms as well as Luray Virginia. Speaking of Luray check out this post of one of the best caves we’ve toured which is great for an alternate adventure in the Shenandoah region. but I wonder if you can see Spacious Skies Campground from here?

If you are wondering whether to hike Dark Hollow Falls or Rose River Falls be sure to read this post and I'm sure it will lead you to making your decision. We love to hear from readers like you. Please comment and join in the conversation. What are you looking forward to on your visit to Shenandoah National Park?

37 views0 comments
bottom of page