Massanutten Mountain Trail

71 miles of rugged singletrack atop some of Virginia's rugged ridgelines.

Trail Running Difficult

Distance
114 km
Ascent
3.6 km
Descent
3.6 km
Duration
1 day +
Low Point
227 m
High Point
847 m
Gradient
10˚
Massanutten Mountain Trail Map

The Massanutten Mountain Trail, sometimes listed as the Massanutten "Ring" or "Loop," is a 71-mile circuit touring many of Virginia's finest ridgelines between Front Royal and Luray. The "trail," which the locals simply nicknamed "The Ring," "is hard, rocky, and slow," and though portions of the loop "have been around for centuries," the circuit was not officially completed until 2002. Today, it's considered one of the most epic undertakings available to a trail runner anywhere in Appalachia.

Description

According to the local trail club, "the selective amnesia of most trail runners is an amazing thing to behold." They note how "virtually every finisher touches on these three themes before they drift off to sleep after completing their 71-mile run: the aid stations and volunteers were great; the finishing descent down Signal Knob sucks; and thank goodness that this is done, so that I never have to do it again. Yet somehow many do return to beat themselves up on the rocky Massanutten Trail yet again."

Those who successfully complete the circuit are then welcomed into "The Fellowship of The Ring," a registry of all who have completed the run. Originally, there were even unofficial restrictions on running it more than once each year, though that policy has since been lifted. According to fastestknowntime.com, some of the fastest supported efforts hover around the 14-hour mark, while unsupported times range from 16 to 23 hours.

Seen here, the version of the route begins on Edinburg Road near Woodstock. Several road crossings allow vehicle and crew access along the way, and any of them could be chosen as a start point based on where you are driving from. Late summer and early fall are the most common time of year to attempt the run, though early spring is preferred by others.

Sources: http://www.vhtrc.org/news/theRing https://fastestknowntime.com/route/massanutten-mountain-trail-va

Difficulty

Difficult

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area