OverviewThe Little Stony Man is a colorful, brief little trek up the 2nd highest mountain in Shenandoah National Park. This is also the most popular route. 1.5 miles and 800' of elevation gain is needed to reach the top. All told, it takes not much more than an hour to hike up and back down this trail, but it will probably take more for any hiking enthusiast who will want to enjoy the many splendorous views along the way and atop the summit.
Getting ThereThe Little Stony Man route is about 90 minutes from Washington DC, and about 70 minutes from Fairfax. From Washington, D.C. or Fairfax, take Interstate 66 West to exit 43 for US Route 29 south. Follow Route 29 to Warrenton where you take US Route 29 business. Once in town, make a right hand turn on Route 211 West, where you are about 30 miles from Skyline Drive at the Thornton Gap Entrance. Going South on Skyline Drive, you pass mile marker 39, and you will see Little Stony Man Parking on the right. (The parking lot is in between mile markers 39 and 40.)
Route DescriptionFrom the parking lot, you take the a short trail connecting to the Appalachian Trail (AT). Follow the AT as it winds up the mountain side. You will quickly reach Little Stony Man Cliffs which provides an excellent overlook of the Shenandoah Valley. Excellent rock climbing can be enjoyed at the base of the cliffs. For information on how to get to the base of the cliffs see the Little Stony Man Cliffs page
As for Stony Man the mountain, you continue up the AT for another 3/4 of a mile or so until you see an intersection, which marks the highest point on the AT in the park. At this point you will see a sign to Stony Man and the trail to the summit.
Shortly up the trail you will come by a fork, and wonder which trail to take. The answer is that you can take both of them. They actually form an oval, and they meet up at the same spot, right near the summit. From here is a minute or two from the rocky summit.
Once at the summit you can enjoy the large boulder field just below the summit where you can scramble up and down and explore other viewpoints.
You return the same way you came.