Blackrock Summit

Blackrock Summit Trailhead is located in the South Disctrict at mile 84.4 on Skyline Drive. The trailhead is accessed via the Blackrock Viewpoint hike. Here you will find the Blackrock Summit hike and the Blackrock Spur Trail hike & Trayfoot Mountain Trail hike.

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Downloadable map with trail descriptions. PDF (0.85 MB)
Suggested Hikes
Before You Go
Did You Know

 
Black Rock Summit Trailhead Map

Downloadable map with trail descriptions. PDF (0.85 MB)
*Best if printed in color.

 
Suggested Hikes

Hike #1: Blackrock Summit

Distance: 1-mile circuit
Difficulty: easiest
Duration: ¾ hour
Elevation Gain: 175-feet

Follow the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) south. After a short distance, the trees open up and the A.T. goes around a rocky talus slope. Stay on the A.T. and continue south around the slope. At the intersection, turn left onto the Blackrock Hut Road-Trayfoot Mountain Trail, and follow the trail back to the parking lot.


Hike #2: Blackrock Spur Trail &Trayfoot Mountain Trail

Distance: 1.6-mile circuit
Difficulty: easiest
Duration: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: 445-feet

Follow the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) south. After a short distance, the trees open up and the A.T. goes around a rocky talus slope. At the trail post, turn right to follow the Blackrock Spur Trail through a boulder field. Continue downhill to the intersection, and turn left onto Trayfoot Mountain Trail. When the trail meets the A.T., it becomes Blackrock Hut Road-Trayfoot Mountain Trail, which will take you back to the starting point.
 
Exposed rocks on Black Rock summit.
Did You Know?

An Ocean Preserved
The exposed rocks of Blackrock formed the seabed of the Iapetus Ocean, an ancient body of water that predates the Appalachian Mountains. The geological forces that created the mountains changed the seabed into solid quartzite rock. You can see the layers of sand and quartzite on the rocks. Blackrock is still changing. Weathering has caused what was once a cliff to crumble into a talus slope, a river of moving rock. Water, ice, and roots break the rocks into even smaller pieces that slide downhill. Eventually the rocks will have settled enough that plants can grow and Blackrock will look like other forested mountainsides.
 
Pine cone sitting on fire-burned landscape.
A Forest Renewed
Around Blackrock you might notice burn scars here and there. You might also see new oak and table mountain pine seedlings reaching for the sun. It's hard to see the relationship between the two—fire and these seedlings—but actually we wouldn't have one without the other! The Blackrock area was the site of a prescribed burn in 2008. Shenandoah fire managers were concerned that, because the area had not burned for many years, the thick mountain laurel was choking out native oaks and pines. A carefully planned fire helped clear the brush, open the forest canopy, and regenerate important species.

You Can Help
The popularity of the cliffs makes your care even more important. Constant trampling can endanger the fragile vegetation. Please stay on the trail and avoid stepping on sensitive plants and lichen-covered rocks.
 
Before You Go!
Emergency: 1-800-732-0911
(Cell phone service is unreliable)

  • Pets must be on a leash at all times.
  • Be sure you are physically able to complete the hike you've chosen.
  • Take plenty of water—at least a quart per hour.
  • Be sure you know your route. Free maps are available at entrance stations, visitor centers, and www.nps.gov/shen
  • Stay on the trail and avoid trampling sensitive vegetation.
  • When you return from your hike, check for ticks.
  • Be sure someone knows where you are and when to expect your return.
  • Be aware that you are in snake habitat.

Last updated: September 8, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835

Phone:

(540) 999-3500

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