Stony Man is a relatively easy hike for all age groups and fitness levels. We went at the beginning of the peak season in September at around 3pm and there were around 15 or more people at the main view point. So if you don’t like crowds I would suggest you try and go a lot earlier in the morning or potentially for sunrise (always a great idea)! There are camp sites very close to the north and south of the trail head if you are interested in camping, just get there early!
Lets Talk Numbers
Hike Distance: Stony Man trail is 1.5 miles round trip
Hike Duration: It should take you around 45 minutes to 1 hour do to this hike if you’re going at a normal pace.
Hike Elevation: The total hike elevation is around 341 feet.
Hike Difficulty: Stony Man is a very easy trail to follow and is suitable for all ages. We had no problem hiking this at a fast pace as the elevation was minimal.
Stony man is one of the most popular hikes in the Shenandoah National Park, so it is relatively easy to find. The trailhead is located at mile post 41.7. These mile markers will be on your right side if you are coming from the North end of the park. The parking lot can get pretty full fast so you may have to park on the side of the road. If you are coming in the afternoon you will most likely already see others doing this. Here is the location of the trailhead on google maps if you would rather use that.
HIKING STONY MAN IN THE SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
The starting point to the hike is right next to the parking lot and is marked by the photo above that states “trailhead” at the top of it. To start, the trail is paved out in gravel and it is extremely clear as to where it goes. During the hike, as with all trails on the Appalachian Trail, there will be trees marked in a certain color. For this hike the first color you will see will be a light blue and white. The white is for the main AT trail and the light blue will be for the Stony Man summit.
Once you follow the path for long enough you will come to this sign. There will be a path your left or right and one that keeps going straight. Follow that path along for a about five minutes or so and you will start to see only light blue colored onto certain trees. Keep following this path and it will then split into two different ways. Follow the path to the right that also has light blue colored onto the tree.
Shortly after you follow this path is when the elevation will start to go up slightly. It isn’t bad at all but the gravel starts to turn into larger stones. There is no rock scramble or anything but ground environment does start to change. Follow this path for another five minutes or so and you will then get to a sign pointing towards Stony Man. You are practically there! Keep going straight and there will be two paths that you can go to. One will be a path that starts to go left, this is the 1st lookout. This lookout is a little lower than the main summit and has an excellent view of it. About 150 feet past that will be the opening to the main lookout or summit!