Located on Massanutten Mountain in the George Washington National Forest
This shaded hike along Mountain Run stream leads to an idyllic swimming hole fed by a small waterfall. An informal camping spot overlooks the swimming hole and small waterfalls. The trail is ideal for hot summer days. Mountain Laurel and other native flowering plants bloom along the trail in the early summer.
Trail Activities: Hiking, Trail Running and Swimming
Time required: 1 hour
Challenge level: Beginner
Distance: 1 mile
Elevation change: 153 ft.
Terrain: Dirt footpath with some rocky sections along the creek
Preferred direction: n/a (out and back hike)
Practical Planning Information
Services along trail: None
Food and water: None, but access to Fridley Run along most of the way. Be sure to filter/purify.
Phone service: Limited to none
Directions & Parking
Google: Mountain Run Swimming Hole
Driving: 20-25 minutes east of Harrisonburg
Signs and marking: The Fridley Gap Trail is blazed purple
Parking: Follow signs for “Camp Overlook” most of the way if arriving from Rt. 11. A large dirt parking area and end of Airey Lane sits on edge of National Forest. There is plenty of parking.
Navigating the Trail
From the parking area, follow the Fridley’s Gap Trail east. When you reach the junction (0.2 miles), stay to the right and follow the trail along the side of Mountain Run. The trail is rocky and can be slippery. Water shoes or sandals are recommended. Alongside the trail, the rocky stream has many areas suitable for wading and water play. The main swimming hole will become accessible within 0.4 miles and is just a few steps to the right of the trail. Be aware that snake sightings are frequent along the trail.
This short hike can be extended into a challenging 6-mile loop with 2000 feet of elevation gain. Ample time should be allowed if undertaking this challenging hike. After 0.45 miles, cross a small creek over stepping stones. Then, at 0.5 miles, turn right at the junction of the Fridley Gap and Massanutten South Trails. Cross Mountain Run over steppingstones and ascend up the Massanutten South Trail. This trail is very hilly and rocky. Continue for 1 mile where the trail reaches the top of the ridge on Fourth Mountain. A narrow path on the right will lead to an overlook of Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley below. Descend down the same trail to the parking area.
Hunting season occurs from November 5 to January 7 each year. During this time, be aware hunters may be active on National Forest lands. Wear bright clothing to make yourself more visible and consider wearing a brightly colored hat or vest. Whistle, sing, or carry on a conversation and alert hunters to your presence. For more information and safety suggestions, visit the Virginia DWR website.