Robertson Mt. has a steep east-side trail.
Robertson Mountain is one of Shenandoah National Park’s biggest secrets, and as such one of the least-climbed mountains in the park. The reason this mountain is often over-looked is because it is located next to Old Rag (one of the park's most popular hikes).
There are basically two routes to hike this mountain. One way, is to walk down to the base of the mountain from Sky-line drive on the Limberlost Trail and the Old Rag fire road, and then climb up the west side of Robertson. The other way is start from the park boundary at the Old Rag parking lot, and walk up the Weakley Hollow fire road to the base of the east side of Robertson. Both alternatives are about six miles round-trip. For a slightly longer hike, Robertson can be traversed from either the east or the west.
Ascending the east side of the mountain is more strenuous then ascending the west side of the mountain.
The Peak of Robertson Mountain provides for a panoramic view of Old Rag Mountain’s jagged peaks.
Robertson Mountain in one of the many Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge is the enormously long mountain crest that begins just north of the Potomac River on the Virginia-Maryland border and goes south all the way to Georgia.
Directions & RoutesTo hike Robertson from Skyline drive:
Take Skyline Drive south to the Limberlost Trail parking area at milepost 43.0. Take the gravelly Limberlost Trail from the parking area entering a hemlock forest. Pass the Whiteoak Canyon Trail and after about 0.5 miles from the parking lot intersect the Old Rag Fire Road. The Old Rag Fire Road drops down, crossing Whiteoak Run. Continue on the fire road eventually passing a ranger station about 1 mile into the hike. After about 1.7 miles the fire road passes the Corbin Mountain Trail just keep descending on the road. In another 0.5 miles the road passes the Corbin Hollow Trail, at this point watch for the Robertson Mountain Trail just ahead where you will turn left. The single track Robertson Mountain trail will take you to the peak in less than 1 mile. Click here
to see a map.
To hike Robertson from the park boundary:
From DC take I-66 west to Route 29 south through Warrenton. Take Route 211 west and follow to Sperryville. Turn left onto Route 522 east and follow to Route 231 south. Follow signs to park at Old Rag. The Old Rag parking lot is located on the left side of the park toll booth. From the parking lot walk 0.8 miles up Rt. 600 (a paved road with several houses along it) to the park boundary. At the boundary Rt. 600 becomes the Weakley Hollow fire road. About 1 mile up the fire road is a trail marker indicating the Corbin Hollow and Robertson Mtn trails. The Robertson Mountain trail is quite steep gaining about 1700 feet in the roughly 1.5 miles from the trail marker to the peak. Once you reach the peak, instead of turning around and descending by the same route you ascended, you can instead continue west and traverse the mountain (the author, recommends the traverse, as the views of Old Rag from the Old Rag Fire road are amazing)
. Follow the Robertson Mt. Trail down the west side of the mountain to an intersection with the Old Rag fire road. Turn left on the Old Rag fire road, and follow it down to the Weakley Hollow fire road. Follow the Weakley Hollow fire road back to Rt. 600 (along the way down you will pass the intersection of the Robertson Mt. Trail that you used to ascend the mountain, and you will being back-tracking your approach route)
. Click here
to see a map.
The trailheads mentioned above are marked on metal bands placed around concrete posts (as are all trails in the park) indicating the direction to and distances of significant places on the trail. These easy to see (and follow) trail markers make it simple to find desired destinations. Click here
to see what the trail markers look like.
Regardless of which of the two trails mentioned above you decide to use to ascend Robertson Mountain, be mindful that at the Shenandoah National Park entrance stations you can ask for a free map that shows the Weakley Hollow fire road, the Limberlost Trail, and the Old Rag fire road.
At Old Rag parking lot it costs $8/person, during the peak months, to enter the park. Entering the park via Skyline drive, during the peak months, costs $15/car load. The fees vary depending on which months you visit the park, for the various fees please see nps.gov
Robertson Mountain enjoys four distinct seasons, marked by a wide range of temperatures. In January the normal high of the neighboring area is 41 °F, and the normal low is 22 °F, and on average there are 10 hours of daylight and about 2.8 inches of rain. By April the average high is 66 °F, and the average low is 41 °F accompanied by 13 hours of daylight and 3 inches of rain. Moving into the summer month of July the Robertson Mountain neighborhood warm up to typical highs of 88°F, and typical lows of 65°F, with about 15 hours of sun, but with nearly 4 inches of rain. By October normal high temperatures drop to 68°F and normal low temperature hover around 43°F; daylight hours drop to only 8 and the rain reduces to just over 3 inches.
When you get to the top of the mountain for the first time, regardless of which side you arrived from, the prime overlook and viewing spot can easily be over looked. Look for a clearing, as shown in the picture above, never the south-west corner (if you will) of the mountain, to obtain the best views of the areas below.