Goshen Pass - Jump Rock Loop
About 9 miles, strenuous terrain
60 miles from Roanoke, $6 Carpool Fee.
Meet at Daleville Park and Ride. This hike,
not far from Lexington, in the Goshen Pass Nature Preserve, encompasses a
swinging bridge, views of the Maury River, a waterfall, great views of the
Shenandoah Valley and Lake Merriweather from Jump Rock. This is truly a
beautiful area and one of the jewels of Virginia.
Open meadows, waterfalls, forest,
panoramic vistas.Meet at Daleville Park and Ride. This hike, not far from Lexington,
in the Goshen Pass Nature Preserve, encompasses a swinging bridge, views of the
Maury River, a waterfall, great views of the Shenandoah Valley and Lake
Merriweather from Jump Rock. This is truly a beautiful area and one of the
jewels of Virginia.
The parking for the trailhead is located on an unmarked gravel/dirt road approximately 1.6 miles
upriver from the Virginia Wayside rest area on Route 39 West. Keep your eye on the river on the
right, looking for the Swinging Bridge. The road goes back about 200 yards to the parking area.
The majority of trails will be white blazed, but not always easy to see. Hunting is allowed on
this property and the adjoining Wildlife Mgmt Areas, so be careful and wear orange during hunting
season. This is a very strenuous hike, 4 liters of water recommended. I had 3 and ran out with 1 mile
The hike begins by crossing the swinging bridge over the Maury River and immediately taking a right
off the steps onto the Goshen Pass Trai. Follow the river down-stream for an easy stroll for 0.8 miles.
The trail is over-grown in some places. There are a few spots for good views of the river. At the
intersection, take a left onto the Chambers Ridge Trail. You will now start to climb reaching a small
waterfall on your right in 0.2 miles. This is a good place to soak a bandana and tie around your neck
to keep cool if hiking in warm weather. The climb will continue steadily for 0.4 miles, finally
reaching the ridge part of this trail. In 0.5 miles there is a small pond on the right (may dry up
in the summer) and in another 0.3 miles you will reach the intersection of the Little Peak Trail.
Bear right onto the Little Peak Trail and be prepared for a few “breather” stops along the way as you
climb 800’ in 0.6 miles, even requiring a little scrambling!! At the 0.5 mile mark there is small set
of rocks just off the trail on the right giving you a first good view of Lake Merriweather (you will
not see Lake Merriweather again until later in the hike). Continue 0.1 miles more for a larger set of
rocks with views of the Goshen Pass and the Maury River Road to the west, a great place to stop for
lunch. The Maury River is not visible at this vantage point.
From this point on, the trail and markings get a little sketchy for a good bit of the rest of the hike;
which is why we recommend downloading our GPS track for this hike. Without the GPS track the hike can
be done if you have a good sense of direction and orienteering skills. Doing this hike with others is
also highly recommended. Be alert and try to follow the path as best as possible. Look constantly down
the path about 20-30’ to ensure you are still on it.
After taking in the views at the rocks, head back to the trail and take a right continuing to climb
for about 0.6 miles. Where the trail takes a sharp right and heads down hill the markings and trail
will end in just over 110 yards with one last white blaze. From this point, bush-whack East-North-East
down into the saddle for about 150-160 yards and you should intersect Jump Rock Trail. Take a right
onto the trail, heading east towards Jump Rock, over-grown in some places with intermittent yellow
blazes and finally reaching it in 0.6 miles. At Jump Rock there are great views of the Little North
Mountain to the north, the Shenandoah Valley to the north-east, east, and south with the Blue Ridge
Mtns clearly visible for miles. This is another great place for lunch or a rest.
Retrace your steps back down the same path (there is another path at the east end of Jump Rock, not
sure where that goes) to the saddle for 0.5 miles where you will see some trees with yellow-blazes
which we did not see coming down earlier. Follow these yellow blazes for 0.1 miles and you will
intersect a trail, take a left onto the trail which we believe is the Tuscarora Trail, heading almost
due north. In about 0.5 miles you will see a sign pointing you back to Jump Rock/Tuscarora Trail but
we saw no other trails intersecting at this point (a sign from nowhere but it gave us confidence we
were on the Tuscarora trail and not lost). The Tuscarora Trail is not well marked but you will see
many trees with red markings on them which may be boundary markings between the Preserve and the WMA.
0.4 miles beyond that sign you will reach the intersection of the Viewing Rock Trail, bear left and
in 150 yards you will reach a short spur trail to Viewing Rock. There are spectacular views of Lake
Merriweather from Viewing Rock.
There are no more views from this point back to the parking lot and you should make excellent time as
it is either downhill or fairly level for the remaining 2.7 miles.
Continue downhill on the Viewing Rock Trail for 0.4 miles and at the next intersection bear hard left
onto an un-named trail. There is a sign on the opposite side of this intersection that reads “To Camp
PMI”. If you are reading that sign, ignore it and back up to the trail you came down and bear hard left.
You will very quickly come to another trail/fire road, take a right towards Camp Bowman on the Round
Knob Trail. In 0.7 miles you will cross a small creek and then reach a gravel road 0.1 miles after the
creek. Take a left onto the gravel road for 0.5 miles passing Camp Bowman on your right, a sign to
Anderson Trail on your left (ignore) and finally reaching a green Swinging Bridge sign, turn left here.
You will reach the Swinging Bridge and parking lot in 0.8 miles.