Off the Beaten Path: Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Welcome to the insider’s club. As soon as you leave behind Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, you’ll enter a corner of Shenandoah all your own. The handful of hikers who venture up 2,741-foot Rocky Mountain tend to do the 10-miler as a dayhike, but not you. Tucked atop a granitoid outcropping you’ll find a solitary, secret campsite and views over Rocky Mount and the Southern Shenandoah Wilderness. Pitch your tent as close to the edge as you dare (there’s only one obvious spot, but don’t worry—it’s seldom occupied. When in doubt, there are more sites past the summit about a mile down the Gap Run Trail). Find the perfect backrest on a lichen-covered ledge and settle in to watch sunset over the Blue Ridge. Get here from the trailhead just north of the Two Mile Run overlook on Skyline Drive. Follow a ridge through oak-hickory forest for 2 miles with intermittent views before dipping down to a junction. A left turn will lead you 800 feet to the summit. Previously, downed trees and overgrowth encouraged hikers to catch these views from the road. But the trail has since been cleared, affording you smooth sailing and solitude worth staying the night.

Trailhead 38.2992, -78.6466 Get Here Park overnight at the Two Mile Run overlook at mile 76.2 on Skyline Drive. Permit Self-register at the trailhead.