Compton Peak Trailhead

Columnar jointing, a large rock formation with stacked rock shaped like columns.

Quick Facts
Compton Gap Parking Area (mile 10.4)

A hike through the forest along the Appalachian Trail to a western view and a great look at columnar jointing, an exciting geologic feature. Pets must be on a physical leash no longer than 6 feet at all times.

Distance: 2.4-mile round trip hike
Difficulty: Moderate (explanation of our hiking difficulty scale)
Hiking Time: 1 hours 45 minutes
Elevation Gain: 855 feet

Hike Description

  1.  From the Compton Gap Parking Area (mile 10.4), cross Skyline Drive and look for the concrete trail marker indicating the Appalachian Trail (A.T.).
  2. Take the A.T. south to the intersection and go right. This will lead you to the western viewpoint.
  3. Turn around, and return to the same intersection.
  4. Continue straight to the eastern viewpoint. From this viewpoint, you have the option of following the blue blazes below the cliff to see a prime example of columnar jointing, an amazing geological feature. It is well worth it, but be aware that this part of the hike is rough and rocky.
  5. Return back to the parking area by taking the A.T. north from the intersection.

Shenandoah National Park

Last updated: May 13, 2021