To access the blue-blazed Riprap Trail, head uphill from the Riprap Trailhead parking area and turn right onto the white-blazed AT: Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PA/MD/VA/WV)
. About four-tenths of a mile from the start, look for a left turn onto the Riprap Trail. It continues along generally descending to a talus slope that crosses the ridge. The trail bends to the right, then swings left with a number of white rocks on the right that mark the Paine Run watershed down below.
The rock tower ahead is Chimney
Rock. In front of you, Trayfoot Mountain bounds the far side of the hollow. The trail continues to Chimney
Rock, after around three-quarters of a mile, the trail bends to the left and begins to drop into Cold Spring Hollow. A little more than a mile further and a stream merges in from the left, and the trail joins Riprap Hollow. One hundred feet downstream is a small but very picturesque cascade.
The trail crosses the stream and continues for another hundred yards until a side trail heads off to the right, crossing the stream toward the Riprap Shelter site, which is next to one of the biggest swimming holes in the park. The Riprap Shelter no longer exists, as it was removed when the area became a wilderness. From the shelter site, you can continue downstream for a couple hundred feet to merge back onto the trail.
A short distance ahead the trail forks. Bear right, heading along the relocated trail as it stays on higher ground that avoids flood damage. The trail continues for another half-mile or so until the intersection with the Wildcat Ridge Trail
. The Riprap Trail continues for three-quarters of a mile to the western limit of the park.
Thanks to Larry W. Brown, for sharing this trail description. If you’re interested in learning more details about great runs, weather, camping / lodging, wildlife, and scenic drives, check out the comprehensive Guide to Shenandoah National Park