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Kennedy Peak

Blue Ridge Highlands, Virginia

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Kennedy Peak

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  • The view from parking area and trailhead.- Kennedy Peak
  • Signage for the trail to Kennedy Peak.- Kennedy Peak
  • The trail near the peak.- Kennedy Peak
  • The fire tower at the top of the trail.- Kennedy Peak
  • Shenandoah River.- Kennedy Peak
  • Shenandoah Valley.- Kennedy Peak
  • Shenandoah Valley.- Kennedy Peak
  • The trail near the peak.- Kennedy Peak
  • Wild orchids.- Kennedy Peak
  • Flowers on the trail.- Kennedy Peak
  • Another view from the parking area/trailhead.- Kennedy Peak
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Panoramic views.
Cons: 
Limited parking at trailhead.
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Region:
Blue Ridge Highlands, VA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
873.00 ft (266.09 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
5.10 mi (8.21 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,839.00 ft (560.53 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Kennedy Peak is a prominent point along the eastern ridge of Massanutten Mountain, and it can be seen from nearly anywhere in the Shenandoah Valley. The peak's elevation is 2,560 feet, and it is located about halfway between the north and south ends of the mountain. 

This out-and-back hike is one of several hiking options at Kennedy Peak Trail. Its 5.1-mile course follows the Massanutten Mountain Trail along the eastern side of the trail loop up to the peak and back. The trail is marked with orange blazes. There is a sharp switchback to the left at 1.75 miles that is marked with a trail spur, and there is a natural barrier of rocks and trees across the width of the alternate trail. Still, it could be easy to miss. There is a turnoff to a new trail on the right at 2.25 miles, with a sign for Kennedy Peak—the trail blazes are white from this point to the top of the trail (0.25 miles). 

The trail is well shaded by trees from late spring to early fall. It is wide and rocky at the start, and it becomes more narrow and very rocky toward the peak. Appropriate hiking shoes are a must for this hike. The elevation gain is surprisingly gradual until the last quarter mile, where there is a moderate, continual climb to the peak. The reward: a two-story observation tower at the top of the trail with a large platform, bench, and an incredible 360-degree view of the Shenandoah River Valley and Massanutten Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Overall this is a great hike with well-marked trails, low congestion, scenic forest and wildflowers, and a unique panoramic view at the top. 
A few tips for a great trek: 

  • Parking at the trailhead is limited, so carpool or arrive early to be sure you get a spot.
  • GPS coordinates to the trailhead are reliable; otherwise it is not very obviously marked and might be hard to spot.
  • Be careful of the rocks, both protruding and loose, especially further up the trail. If you need to look around, even for a second, stop walking first.
  • Beware of horses and "horse apples" on the trail.
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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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