Riprap Hollow

A quick overnight trip with excellent views and a small waterfall.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
15 km
Ascent
656 m
Descent
656 m
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
496 m
High Point
906 m
Gradient
Riprap Hollow Map

This is one of the best one-night circuits in the southern district of Shenandoah National Park. There are multiple stream crossings, a small waterfall, and stunning views along Riprap Trail. This hike is a perfect option for anyone new to backpacking, but looking for a challenge.

Description

Begin this loop at the Riprap Trailhead, milepost 90 on Skyline Drive. You could also park at Wildcat Ridge Parking, milepost 92.1. Since it can be hiked in a day, the NPS notes how it can be quite busy on the weekends. Weekdays are your best option for solitude, and most choose to hike the loop counter-clockwise.

Though there are many notable campsites along this loop, your best bet is where Riprap Trail turns onto Wildcat Ridge Trail. There is water nearby and plenty of tent sites nearby. Some maps show different trail names along this loop, but the second you turn left and cross the river, the NPS considers the trail the start of Wildcat Ridge.

For a shorter day hike, consider an out and back to Chimney Rock instead. It highlights some of the best views on the loop in a short 3.4-mile round-trip trek to the vista. For a longer loop, there are plenty of excellent options. Since there are multiple trail intersections in this area, the park also suggests bringing a detailed map along. A detailed map of the Riprap area can be found here.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/SHENBCTrip-RiprapandWildcatE033-508.pdf https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/hikeriprap.htm

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area