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A tree growing out of a rocky mountain side. Tree on the Rocks by Alison Thomas of Serenity Scenes Photography and Digital Art.

Stony Man, Little Stony Man Circuit Hike

Most of the hikes I have done have been the kind where you hike to a certain place and then turn around and hike back on the same trail.  I recently bought a book on Shenandoah National Park circuit hikes.  I am so blessed to live near this beautiful place.  I decided to attempt a hike that was longer than my usual hikes.  This hike goes to Stony Man, onto Little Stony Man, and then down the Passamaquoddy Trail back to the starting point.  The first part of the hike, to Stony Man was quite busy but once I continued on to Little Stony Man I was pretty much by myself.  At Stony Man you really have to scramble over rocks to see the view and being a little afraid of heights I don't like doing that.  I'm fine on a trail looking down but not standing on rocks.  Little Stony Man had a much easier view to access.  I took several photographs, one of which turned into "Rocky View".

The trail gets a little dicey after Little Stony Man.  My book cautioned against accidentally ending up on the horse trail and I did.  I didn't notice until I saw hoof prints in the trail and I had to back track to find the Passamaquoddy Trail.  The Passamaquoddy Trail  was rough going.  The trail is a lot of rocks and some of them were loose so each one had to be checked with my hiking poles before going forward.  It is quite a scenic trail though.  There was a clif on my left side and a substantial drop on my right.  There were lots of trees on the right so it wasn't a complete drop but I did have to watch my step.  Usually when I am on a trail I don't get too many photographs because the trees are so close together but I did manage to get "Tree on the Rocks" and "Hanging On". because of the clif beside me.

At the end of the trail I ended up in a Skyland Parking lot.  If you do this trail be sure to make a sharp left behind the Skyland buildings to get to the parking lot where you started from.  I did get a little lost and ended up getting a ride to the parking lot because I got very turned around. Because of my mistakes on the trail I ended up doing a 5.9 mile hike instead of the advertised 3.4 mile hike.

A few safety notes - The most important thing that I carry on the trail is a Garmin InReach.  It is a GPS with some satelite texting capability and an SOS button.  It also sends a signal of where I am to a website that my husband can access.  If I don't show up at the expected time he can see where I last stopped.  When I did get lost I could have hit the SOS button to call for help.  It does require a satelite subscription which is about $12 / month but it is much cheaper than carrying a satelite phone and more versatile.


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