Trayfoot Mt-Paine Run Loop



Description: This is a strenuous 9.8 mile loop in the southern district of SNP. While the highlight of the trek, undoubtedly, has to be the near 360 degree view from Black Rock more fine views are to be had along the ridge of Trayfoot Mountain, the last being one of Buzzard Rock and the surrounding ridges and valleys. The Paine Run Trail, an old fire road, spends little time along the stream as it climbs slowly back towards the parking area. Parts of it are exposed to the sun as the result of a forest fire on its southern flank so be prepared. Near the end it switchbacks up nearly 400 feet in 0.86 miles.


Google Custom Directions


Note: Google Maps often makes use of Park Fire Roads in its directions. These are closed to the public. Confirm your route with other maps! The trailhead is at the Blackrock Gap parking area on the west side of Skyline Drive south of Mile Post 87.



Printable/Downloadable Map

View 3-D Map

Zipped National Geographic. TOPO! GPS and Universal GPX Files

GPS Text File for Non-TOPO! Users

Trail Notes: From the parking area cross Skyline Drive and turn left (north) onto the AT. In 0.27 miles cross SLD and continue on the AT. at 0.43 miles come to a 4X intersection. On the right is a spur that goes to the Blackrock Hut and spring. The blue blazed trail to the left parallels the AT and, I believe, is technically part of the Trayfoot Mountain Trail. You'll cross it later. Stay straight on the AT as you continue to climb. In another 0.62 miles cross the blue blazed trail. (To the right is the Blackrock parking area.) Follow the AT as it wraps around Blackrock itself. Drop your pack, grab your camera and climb to one of the premier vistas in the park.

Near the front or western edge of Blackrock turn left onto the blue blazed spur trail of the same name. Soon you will merge with the Trayfoot Mountain Trail which comes in sharply from the left. Climb an old fire road for about 0.72 miles to the summit passing Furnace Mountain Trail on the right near the top. The absolute high point is marked with a concrete pole and USGS marker.

Once at the summit you will have fairly easy walking along the ridge. In 1.67 miles you'll pass a vista with a nice view across Paine Run valley. It another 0.51 miles you'll pass a rock outcrop and views to the north-west and south-east. In another 0.68 miles you'll reach yet another rock formation with a great view of Buzzard Rock straight ahead and the ridges and valleys around it. From this point the trail switchbacks quickly down to the Paine Run Trail. Turn left (upstream) and in 0.23 miles cross the run itself. There is a small campsite just before crossing but a slightly bigger and better one on the other side. The next 2.42 miles is a pretty leisurely walk as you slowly climb towards your starting point. Be prepared for some bright sun in places as it appears that much of the canopy on the right was destroyed by fire some time ago. Near the top the trail/road will make a hard right turn and switchback up nearly 400 feet in 0.86 miles, depositing you quickly at your vehicle.


Critique This Outing



Name: J. Plue                                                                                                              Hike: Trayfoot Mt / Paine Run Loop
Date: 10-03-10                                                                                                           Rating: 5

Critique: Got started a little later than we wanted to (about 1PM vice 8AM) due to the Google maps confusing me a bit. It should be noted that there are three exits for route 250, the correct one is exit 99.

Rain in Hampton Roads and Richmond did not stop me from making the Sunday trip out here, determined to hike mountains rain or shine. Once leaving Richmond, the rain stopped and clouds parted, revealing sun and blue skies. Blackrock is indeed unique and quite the place to stop and view the valley. The rock formations on Trayfoot's ridge are simply amazing, as is the view of Buzzard Rock.

Had my dog with me, who has never hiked a field, much less the Blue Ridge. He enjoyed the whole trip and surprisingly had energy to burn the whole hike...until the final .86 mile climb. It is correct that the final 400ft elevation gain is no joke. All in all, finished in about 5.5 hours. Not bad for a couple less experienced guys and a dog from the flatlands of Norfolk.
Wonderful write up, recommend this trip to any and everyone.


Name: The Tick                                                                                                           Hike: Trayfoot Mt/Paine Run Loop
Date: 10/10/09                                                                                                          Rating: 4

Critique: This is a good hike. Took us about 5 hours to complete but we took it slow enjoying the scenery. Beginning sections were a little steep but over relatively quick. Spent some time at Blackrock and scrambled up the short distance to the top. Very fun. An overall fun hike, and once up on the ridge, not a whole lot of energy expenditure until the end. The rock formations were great throughout. Saw a bear at the end of the hike but it ran away very quickly. Mt Paine was a little slow as it was a sort of fire road type trail but did not look like it was used for that purpose in a long time. I would recommend this hike.


Name: B. Failon                                                                                                          Hike: Trayfoot Mt/Paine Run Loop
Date: 4/27/2008                                                                                                        Rating: 5

Critique: Directions were excellent, as written. It should be noted that the Paine Run Trail is yellow-blazed (equestrian). I saw 5 guys on horseback descending as I was ascending the last 0.86 miles back to the parking area. Views were, unfortunately, not as spectacular as those pictured due to limited visibility (clouds/fog). I did this hike solo in 4 hours, but allotting 5 is probably better. I saw a black bear jump out of a tree and cross the trail in front of me (40 yards?) and lumber down the right side of the mountain as I was just south of the Trayfoot Mt. summit --- definitely a highlight! Fresh scat on the trail had my senses on alert about 10 seconds before I saw the bear, though it clearly saw/heard me first. Paine Run was really running and was a bit of a wade, rather than a rock hop, due to recent rainfall. This is now one of my personal favorites.


Name: B. Gordon                                                                                                        Hike: Trayfoot Mt/Paine Run Loop
Date: 12/28/2007                                                                                                     Rating: 4

Critique: I did my best to dodge rain all day on this hike with rain beginning literally as I was putting my gear in the car around 3:40. As stated this is a pretty strenuous hike with many great views throughout other than the hike up Paine Run Trail. Pay special attention to the directions staying straight on the A.T. so you don't miss Blackrock Mt. There are great views there along with some wild rock formation/shapes. There are many good places to eat lunch on the Trayfoot Mt Trail but save a little snack and water for the last .84 mile of the Paine Run Trail as your thighs will be burning and need just a bit of energy to make that last lunge to the parking area. Directions for this hike are excellent. This is a great hike if you are looking to burn off a few calories and you have about 5 hours to spare.


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