Shenandoah National Park: Thornton Gap to the Pinnacles

Go 5 or 10 miles on this dayhike, which features skyline views of migrating hawks, the Shenandoah River Valley, and nearby towns.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Mapped by Jeff Chow

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.1



Location: 38.659366607666, -78.3224029541016

Go SE to meet white-blazed Appalachian Trail; enjoy occasional views over Thornton Gap


Location: 38.6535148620606, -78.3133163452148

Climb past a garden of rocks. Tobacco and hemp were farmed here before park was created in 1935. CCC workers built the trailside rock walls ahead


Location: 38.649284362793, -78.3173980712891

Turn R onto blue-blazed trail


Location: 38.6503829956055, -78.3173370361328

It?s an 80-ft. scramble to the tip of Marys Rock (3,514 ft.), a magma outcrop overlooking Luray and the Shenandoah River Valley. Backtrack to WPT 3 and go R


Location: 38.6419830322266, -78.3206024169922

Keep R @ Y, staying with the white slashes


Location: 38.6383171081543, -78.322135925293

Continue S, hugging the 3,400-ft. topo line


Location: 38.6351165771484, -78.3232803344726

Pass Byrds Nest #3, a day-use shelter with water fountain; climb 500 ft. past jagged rocks


Location: 38.6287002563477, -78.3290634155274

Cross one of a handful of outcrops on the AT called Pinnacle; this one is 3,730 ft. Catch views through mountain laurels


Location: 38.627815246582, -78.338020324707

Pass below Jewell Hollow Overlook (3,320 ft.)


Location: 38.6270179748535, -78.340202331543

Spur trail on L leads to overlook and road. Stay on AT, heading SW under tall white pines with more W views


Location: 38.6241683959961, -78.3434524536133

Leave AT @ Pinnacles picnic area. Pick up shuttle or backtrack to trailhead.