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Shenandoah National Park
from Fishers Gap Overlook
You'll find mountain laurel, westward views and rock cliffs on this 2.8 mile round trip hike along the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park. A fairly level hike along the AT with just a brief climb toward the end makes this a perfect hike for everyone in your family. A great leg stretcher to get away from the crowds in Shenandoah National Park.
Park at the parking area at Fishers Gap Overlook located at milepost 49.5 along Skyline Drive. Don't park along the adjacent fire road. Start your hike by walking north toward the fire road, then turn left on the fire road. Follow the fire road for about 200 feet to the Appalachian Trail crossing. This fire road, known as Red Gate Fire Road, was once part of the old Gordonsville Turnpike across the mountains. This was once a major supply route between the Shenandoah Valley farms and eastern Virginia. In November 1862 Confederate General Stonewall Jackson led his army from west to east over the mountains here on their way to Fredericksburg.
Turn right onto the white blazed Appalachian Trail. There are large boulders and cliffs on the right as you hike along the trail. Soon you'll pass directly under Franklin Cliffs and the overlook at milepost 49.0 along Skyline Drive. There are several wide rock ledges on your left that offer spectacular views to the west. Soon you'll be hiking through a long mountain laurel tunnel. In June the mountain laurel is in bloom. The next trail post is the junction of the spur trail that leads to the Rock Springs Cabin Parking Area. Turn right here and head to the walls of the Spitler Knob Overlook and enjoy the views before turning back to retrace your steps back to your starting point.
Hiker on the Appalachian Trail at Fishers Gap.
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