I took two short hikes in Shenandoah on Friday. The first was the Turk Mountain Trail, a short (2.4 miles) out-and-back trail in the southern district of Shenandoah National Park that leads to the summit of Turk Mountain and some nice views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west.
The trailhead for the Turk Mountain Trail is at the Turk Gap parking area on Skyline Drive at milepost 94.1. From there, a short jaunt south on the Appalachian Trail, climbing away from Skyline Drive, leads to a fork, and the Turk Mountain Trail begins, heading west towards Turk Mountain.
After splitting from the AT, the trail follows a saddle, descending about 175 feet over the next third of a mile, over fairly nice ground. It then begins a steeper climb up the side of Turk Mountain, the trail growing ever rockier as it heads towards the summit. About two-tenths of a mile from the summit, the trail takes a sharp turn to the right, making the final approach to the mountain’s top.
The top of Turk Mountain is exposed rock, requiring a short rock scramble to reach the summit, and a great view of the Shenandoah Valley and the town of Crimora to the west. Talus deposits descend a few hundred feet down the western face of the mountain to the treeline. The summit itself has a few large, flat rocks that provide a great place to sit and enjoy the view.