Stony Man Mountain Hike is a easy round-trip hike in Shenandoah National Park, which contains parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Home to peregrine falcons, the summit is easily accessed by a hiking trail. This summit is only one of two peaks in the park higher than 4,000 feet. The mountain is composed of ancient basalt, which was metamorphosed into greenstone through heat and pressure.
From the parking area, located at mile marker 41.7 on the left hand side of the Skyline Drive if you are driving north, take the Appalachian Trail to the trail marker. Continue on the blue-blazed Stony Man Trail to the viewpoint. Beware that when you get to the first concrete trail marker about a half mile up the trail, you will be tempted to turn left, but don’t – it is a misguide. If you turn right, you will see disgusting beetle traps. Keep going straight up the mountain.
Parts of the hike are very narrow, so be careful you don’t fall. We saw several huge rocks overhanging the path. Several families were picnicking out on the outcroppings. There are plenty of huge boulders to climb on top of (something I am fond of doing) and there were times where the scenic view was obstructed by large boulders. When you could see, the view was so spectacular that I’d wished I had brought my binoculars. There was a section at the top that was off-limits due to peregrine falcon breeding season. Did you know that they are the fastest bird of all?
Because the hike is in the middle of the Skyline Drive, halfway between Front Royal and Waynesboro, you may want to bring a lunch as well as plenty of water. At the nearby Skyland Resort, you can buy drinks and snacks just in case you’re extra hungry and thirsty. Another great place to eat and rest is the Big Meadows Wayside, located at mile-marker 51. But they are only open from early spring to late fall.
There was cell-phone signal at the top. I do not recommend this hike for a wheel-chaired person. Also, horseback riding and biking probably would be ill advised.
Other websites to check out:
- General Information About Stony Man by National Park Service
- Map of the Hike provided by National Park Service
- Skyland Lodge by Shenandoah National Park
- Falcon Cam – Dept. of VA Game & Inland Fisheries – Live camera feed of Peregrine Falcon Family who nest & frequent the roof of the James Center in downtown Richmond, VA. Several years they have had babies!