Little Devil Stairs

  • Highlights: Waterfalls, mountains, Shenandoah National Park, stream crossings
  • Distance:  5.5 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 1,490 feet
  • Difficulty level: Strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: US 211 north of Sperryville, left on route 622 (Gidbrown Hollow Road) and then left on route 614 (Keyser Run Road). At the end of route 614 there is a small parking lot. The trailhead is on the right marked by a cement post. Park entrance fee required.
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Boddington’s Pub Ale & Sneaky Pete’s Valley Lager

The Hike:

This hike begins outside of the park near Sperryville. A longer version of this hike begins inside Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive. We spent the night in Sperryville so this trailhead was a better option for us. We use our National Park Pass for easy entry. Find the trailhead marker on the right side of the parking lot and follow the blue blazes on the Little Devil Stairs Trail. The trail is well marked in most places although we did veer off the trail a few times.

The first mile of this hike begins with a gradual ascent beside Keyser Run. It’s a nice walk through the forest. The next mile gains over 1,000 feet in elevation as you climb through the gorge. There are several small waterfalls, depending on the water volume in the stream. Many sets of natural and man-made stairs help with the climb. There are a few switchbacks as well. The views of the stream, wildflowers, and small waterfalls make up the view. The dense forest doesn’t allow for any views outside of the gorge.

At about 2 miles at the top of the gorge, the Little Devils Stairs Trail ends at a 4-way trail junction. The Keyser Run Fire Road runs to the left and right. Turn left at this well marked junction and follow the yellow-blazed fire road. We normally don’t like fire roads, but this one had the look and feel of a trail and did provide a few views of the surrounding mountains. The fire road ducks in and out of the forest canopy providing some nice views and wildflowers.

The fire road is a gradual descent back to the parking area. At about 4 miles the Bolen family cemetery appears on the left. The Bolens were one of many families who had to relocate from their homesteads when the park was founded. Stay left on the fire road at a junction with the Hull School Trail and continue your descent. The trail ends at the small parking area.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

We finished this hike a little after noon and it was time for lunch (and a beer). Griffin Tavern in nearby Flint Hill has great food and a very nice beer selection. Cheeseburgers were a given, our only challenge was which beer to order. Kathy settled on Boddington’s Pub Ale, an English bitter. English beers tend to be a little too malty for some, but we like them. We first learned to appreciate English beers on a trip to England and we still seek out cask-style beers. Pete had a Valley Lager from Sneaky Pete Brewing in Winchester. Valley Lager is brewed with Pilsner malt and a small amount of Sauermalz, or sour malt. It was a slightly hoppy and crisp and refreshing. It went nicely with the cheeseburger.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.