Hike Riprap

A large rock formation surrounded by bare trees.
Geology along the Riprap Trail.

NPS/Brett Raeburn

Hike Riprap-Wildcat Ridge

Difficulty rating: Very strenuous
Distance: 9.8 mi/15.7 km
Elevation gain: 2,365 ft/721 m
Trail features: Hike to a unique rock formation, viewpoint, cascades, and a swimming hole.

The Riprap-Wildcat Ridge loop is a very strenuous, but action packed, 9.8 mi/15.7 km hike. You can hike this loop from Riprap Parking at mile 90 of Skyline Drive or from Wildcat Ridge Parking at mile 92.1 of Skyline Drive. The loop combines the Appalachian Trail, Riprap Trail, and Wildcat Ridge Trail. There are several stream crossings and a small waterfall. Follow the map in whichever direction you choose, being careful at the intersections to take the appropriate trail.

Alternate Hike: Chimney Rock

Difficulty rating: Moderate
Distance: 3.4 mi/5.5 km
Elevation gain: 830 ft/253 m
Trail features: Hike to a scenic view and geological features.

For a shorter option, take the Riprap Trail to Chimney Rocks and back for this 3.4 mi/5.5 km hike. From the Riprap parking area at mile 90 of Skyline Drive, take the Appalachian Trail north. Turn left onto Riprap Trail. After a series of switchbacks, you’ll see a viewpoint on your right. Further on, you’ll see Calvary Rocks on left, and then, where the trail makes a sharp left Chimney Rock stands alone on the right across a gorge. Retrace your steps.

Note: The trail network in Shenandoah National Park consists of many intersections. The trails listed here can be connected to create multiple route options. When hiking, bring a map and pay close attention to the trail markers to make sure you are following the route you planned for yourself.

Map: Riprap Area

The Riprap-Wildcat Ridge hike is a very strenuous 9.8 mi/15.7 km loop. The hike to Chimney Rock is a moderate 3.4 mi/5.5 km out and back hike. 

An average pace is:
1.5 mph for easiest trails.
1.4 mph for moderate trails.
1.3 mph for moderately strenuous trails.
1.2 mph for strenuous and very strenuous trails.
Pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times. 
The park entrance fee is required.
The Riprap-Wildcat Ridge Loop can begin from either Riprap Parking at mile 90 of Skyline Drive or from Wildcat Ridge parking at mile 92.1 of Skyline Drive. Leave from Riprap Parking at mile 90 for the Chimney Rock hike.
Accessibility Information
Service animals are allowed on Riprap Trail, Wildcat Ridge Trail, and the Appalachian Trail. 

Last updated: July 9, 2018