Sunrise at White Rocks

Sometimes a good walk in the forest and a good view is everything we need to be happy.

Sunrise at White Rocks, George Washington National Forest

If you live near Washington DC, there is a great hiking and backpacking area 2 hours away called White Rocks, located in the north of the George Washington National Forest, in West Virginia. There is a 9-mile moderate loop hike with awesome views, beautiful trails and great campsites by the river and at the top of the mountain.

Hiking Old Mail Path trail


Last weekend we went to White Rocks in the George Washington National Forest. We decided to go to this area because there is a 9-mile beautiful loop trail that brings you through different types of forests and to an overlook with fantastic views.

It was the beginning of fall and all the foliage colors were blooming. We could have done this hike as a day-trip, but we wanted to watch the sunrise from the summit, so we packed our backpacks with the tent, food and water and brought them to the top of the mountain, where there is a nice campsite for 2 or more tents.

When hiking upward, we followed a nice stream with several campsites along the way. It was a bit exhausting to carry everything all the way up, but the surrounding nature was fascinating: the sound of the streams flowing in the forest, green ferns and yellow leaves covering the floor and bright orange mushrooms by the side of the foggy trails.

The more we climbed the darker it was, but finally we found the campsite and two campers at the top, which were very happy to meet us in this rainy and spooky night (we too).

A lost dog came to the campsite while we were preparing dinner. She was nervous, confused and hungry, and had a GPS collar in her neck. We could barely sleep with all her noises and howls.

Sunrise at White Rocks, George Washington National Forest

Next morning we woke up just before sunrise and went straight to the overlook, which was just 3 minutes away from the campsite. We watched a spectacular sunrise over the clouds.

White Rocks overlook

Sunrise at White Rocks, George Washington National Forest

We spent the morning relaxing at the campsite and the overlook, and then we packed everything and hiked back down to the parking lot admiring all the colors and wildlife of late summer / early fall.

What we did last weekend? Had fun in nature!

This trip is featured on the book 20 Weekend Trips Close to Washington DC.

White Rocks overlook

How To Get There

Print map and directions

1. Park at the end of Waites Run Rd (GPS: 39.00959,-78.59242), 2 hours away from Washington DC

2. Pass the gate and hike 0.25 miles on the yellow blazed forestry service road to the intersection with the pink blazed Old Mail Path on your right. Turn right here. You will pass a kiosk and 2 benches.

3. Hike the Old Mail Path for 1 mile to a clearing and junction with the orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail. Turn right.

4. The Racer Camp Hollow Trail trail descends for 0.5 miles to a stream and a campsite. Then it ascends along the stream for 2 miles to the hunters campsite.

5. At the hunters campsite turn left and hike for 1.5 miles on the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail to the junction with the White Rocks Lookout Trail on the right. This intersection has several small cairns.

6. Hike the Lookout trail for 0.3 miles passing a campsite to the overlook. Enjoy the views, and then retrace your steps back to the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail and turn right.

7. Hike down for 0.5 miles and arrive at the junction with the Old Mail Path.

8. Turn left and descend the Old Mail Path trail for 2.5 miles (continue downhill through the clearing) to the road and parking area .

More info about this route at