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Appalachian Trail - Compton Gap to Gravel Springs - Columnar Jointing Formation

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This hike is in the northern most section of Shenandoah National Park and ascends Compton Peak where there is a unique rock formation called Columnar Jointing. I’ve included some links below describing the formation. The hike to visit the formation is 2.4 miles round trip and has 835 feet of elevation gain to hike. The parking is very good at mile marker 10.5 and the hike well worth it just to visit the rock formation. The hike guide can be found here:

We ended up hiking all the way to Gravel Springs Hut to stay the night. There were three section hikers there working on their 1000+ miles with tons of interesting stories and also a Scout troop doing some training hikes for a larger hike later in the year. It was fun to trade stories with the section hikers. I’ll just post a link to the video of the shelter from the other day (Friday) as it looks exactly the same as then…

On the way back, we decided to track down a spring that is listed in some of the guides on Hogwallow Flat. We blew right by it on our way in and wished we had seen it because it was hot and we drank up all our water. The water at Ginger Spring at Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter is also pretty sad, so this spring may be one that people are counting on finding! After paying close attention along the way, we found a suspicious looking rock pile that did turn out to be the spring. The spring is at the end of the video for those interested in just that part.
Hogwallow Spring coordinates: N38° 47.042' W78° 11.629'
Compton Spring Coordinates: N38° 48.966' W78° 10.632'
A paper way more technical about the subject:


  1. Cuppa Tea's Avatar
    Thanks for the info. I will be hiking there in May and will be looking for the spring!