Route: AT through Shenandoah National Park (VA)

Virginia, US

The Appalachian Trail runs about 96 miles through Shenandoah National Park, from Rockfish Gap to Compton Gap, and the route has generated some FKT interest. Matt Kirk ran it in 23h20m, but his trip report appears to no longer be on a public website.  Sue Johnston also ran this route in April 2012, as reported on her blog but she did not report at time.

38.2927558, -78.6795836


I will be attempting an FKT on the AT through Shenandoah National Park starting Thursday, August 8. I will go south to north. Since it is a bit difficult to define the southern terminus of the AT in SNP, I will start at Rockfish Gap, and record "start" times at both Rockfish Gap and McCormack Gap (where the AT exits Bear Den Mountain). Northern terminus will be just north of the Compton Gap Trail at Chester Gap. This will be a supported attempt, as I will have crew meet me at several parking lots along Skyline Drive. I will try to record time and distance using my GPS (as long as battery lasts), as well as my watch.

Oops - wrong date - starting Thursday Aug 9 :)

How did it go? Thinking about doing this route soon. Been a goal of mine for at least 8 years.

Hello, I’ll be attempting to set a new supported FKT of the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park starting early tomorrow morning (8.5.2019). I’ll be starting at the southern park entry kiosk near Rockfish Gap and completing my attempt at the northern entry kiosk, north of Compton Gap. This route is ~104 miles and is the most complete traverse of the park, on the AT, possible. I’ll be using my SPOT tracker (public link below) to track my progress as well as Strava for more data redundancy. (My SPOT tracker has not been super reliable in the past on the AT due to tree cover) It is set to transmit my location every 30 minutes. I’m super excited to spend the day running in such a beautiful area. I’m very grateful to have a crew to help with this effort (Thanks Sabine and Jim), which I have never had before on an FKT attempt. Also shout-out to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and SNP for keeping the trail so well maintained. Thanks to Matt Kirk and Sue Johnston for their inspiring efforts of this route in the past. I’ll update this list from the other side. ✌️

-El Matador

SPOT Link -

Update: I pulled the plug at around mile 70, a little before Skyland Resort. I had a great time during the attempt. It was a beautiful run, but it wasn’t my day. It was a great experience, and special thanks to Sabine and Jim for the support throughout the run.