Riprap Hollow Loop
Description: This is a moderately strenuous 9.7 mile circuit in the Southern district of SNP. The elevation gain is about 2200 feet. Great views are had at Cavalry and Chimney Rocks as well as along a stretch of trail that passes through an area that has been defoliated by forest fires. A very picturesque stream with water slides, rock walls, mini-waterfalls and a nice swimming hole runs through the hollow. The hardest part of this hike is a 2.62 mile climb up Wildcat Ridge. While the name suggests that at least some of the tread is very rocky, for the most part, it is not. The final AT section is a very pleasant walk back to the car.
Note: Google Maps often makes use of Park Fire Roads in its directions. These are closed to the public. Confirm your route with other maps! The trailhead is at the Riprap parking area on the west side of Skyline Drive north of Mile Post 90.
Trail Notes: All trails are signed and blazed. From the parking area follow a short blue blazed spur trail to the white blazed AT. Turn right onto it and climb gradually for 0.42 miles to the junction with blue blazed Rirprap Hollow Trail. Turn left onto it and continue climbing. In 0.83 miles arrive at Calvary Rocks and a nice vista. After taking in the view continue for another 0.46 miles to Chimney Rock Overlook. You will traverse an open area with more views as you proceed.
Descend into Riprap Hollow. As you near the bottom the trail will split (marked by a sign.). Bear right here and climb slightly for a short distance before continuing the descent. You’ll cross the stream twice. The swimming hole is between the two crossings. In 2.54 miles from Chimney Rock turn left onto Wildcat Ridge Trail and cross the stream one last time. After the crossing bear left. The trail will follow a small side stream before crossing it and climbing up the ridge. The tread will be steep at times.
In 2.62 miles from leaving the Riprap Hollow Trail arrive at the AT. Turn left onto it and hike 2.74 miles back to the initial spur trail and your car.
Outing Critique: I hiked the
Riprap trail clockwise starting at the Riprap trailhead. I
opted to do the “boring” AT part first and work up a sweat
before hitting the swimming hole. The AT lived up to
expectations with only one slight overlook providing a preview
of the mountain that would need to be climbed at the end of the
hike. The Wildcat Ridge Trail was an easy descent into the
hollow and had a few overlooks. The last mile follows a small
stream until the junction with the Riprap trail. From there the
last 3ish miles were all uphill, although there was only one
Name: Mitch Housed
Hike: Riprap Hollow
Hike: Riprap Hollow