Washington, DC: Three Top Mountain Loop

In just a weekend, you can travel from wooded ridges to gentle peaks to quiet hollows on this 16.5-mile lasso in George Washington National Forest.
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Mapped by Jeff Chow

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 20.9


Fins of Rock

Location: 38.9217910766602, -78.3880157470703

©Jeff Chow

Among the pines

Location: 38.9426918029785, -78.3625946044922

©Jeff Chow

Mountain View

Location: 38.9513969421387, -78.3320465087891

©Jeff Chow

Conifer Corridor

Location: 38.9521636962891, -78.3226623535156

©Jeff Chow


Location: 38.947021484375, -78.3165969848633

Buzzard Rock Overlook (1,740 ft.); views stretch to Front Royal


Location: 38.9518890380859, -78.3224334716797

Established campsite on R


Location: 38.9519081115723, -78.3298034667969

Turn L for .4-mi. excursion to Meneka Peak; spur trail NE meets back up with Signal Knob Trail


Location: 38.9494094848633, -78.3348617553711

Meneka Peak (2,220 ft.); E views between trees extend to Matthews Arm of Shenandoah National Park


Location: 38.9604110717773, -78.3310165405274

Pass Signal Knob Tower (2,100 ft.) to rocky overlook of the N. Fork Shenandoah River; begin 600-ft. descent into Little Fort Valley on Little Passage Trail


Location: 38.9579200744629, -78.3368988037109

Top off bottles or bladder @ natural spring


Location: 38.9504890441894, -78.3483810424805

R onto blue-blazed Tuscarora Trail for rocky ridgeline hike on Three Top Mtn.; continuous valley views


Location: 38.9196586608887, -78.3905563354492

Watch for L turn to stay on Tuscarora Trail. Then, in 700 ft., turn L to steep downhill back onto orange-blazed Massanutten Trail


Location: 38.9178504943848, -78.3859481811524

L onto road, following orange blazes


Location: 38.9209518432617, -78.3804168701172

Straight past Mudhole Gap Trail; begin looking for a campsite among clearings beside Little Passage Creek


Location: 38.9419212341309, -78.3578872680664

Veer L off fire road, still linking orange blazes past Strasburg Reservoir; head .9 mi. to close loop @ WPT 8 and return to trailhead