OverviewI have climbed Mount Marshall several times. North Marshall, the main summit, at least seven times, with South Marshall once. Mount Marshall is one of the most accessible from Washington DC. Not far from I-66, it can be hiked from Skyline Drive via several trailheads where you can get on the Appalachian Trail. It can also be hiked via a longer route from Skyline Drive. The views from the Appalachian Trail near Mount Marshall's summit are very nice. The actual summit has a view as well, but not as good as the open view from near the summit. This view is probably at an elevation of over 3,300'.
One of the most interesting aspects of Mount Marshall is the cliffs along the North summit area. My favorite of these cliffs, I call "The Fist"
This rock formation can be reached from just off of the Appalachian Trail.
My first timeThe first time I climbed it, I had just climbed Mt. LeConte and Clingman's Dome in Tennessee the day before. I wanted to do a short hike in Shenandoah National Park. At the time, I didn't know much about the park, but I saw the name "Mount Marshall" on my Rand McNally road atlas. It said the mountain was 3368 feet, so I thought, "ok, I'll do that one."
Driving up I-81, I took Route 211 to Skyline Drive and took it north. At milepost 15.9 there was a parking lot. I knew this was the way to Mount Marshall from some data I picked up on the internet. From the parking lot, the Appalachian Trail was 10 yards away. I hiked up the hilly trail, with a couple switchbacks. It was there that I first passed "The Fist".
After I reached a higher part of the mountain, there was a view overlooking a cliff. At this point, the summit was still ahead. Now, I hiked into the woods and tried to find it. After 1/3 of a mile, the summit was evident on the left, because the trail did not go any higher. When I went to check out the boulders I found 2 things. One, there were no higher points in the general area, and two, there was a USGS marker identifying this as the highest point.
I have since returned to Mount Marshall and have climbed it in roughly all four of the seasons. My lone hike to South Marshall was uneventful as its summit is in the woods without any real views. As for North Marshall, I have climbed it alone, with friends, and even with my Mother, who is not much of a climber, but has hiked the Fourth of July trailhead in Colorado up to 11,000 feet.