8. TORRY RIDGE BACKCOUNTRY
Nearest Town: Sherando
Backpack Mileages: 20-mile loop
Elevation Highs and Lows: 3,500 feet high point, 1,700 feet low point
GPS Trailhead Coordinates: 37.90908, -79.05874
Why Backpack There: Views, water features and good backcountry campsites, with the possibility of overnighting in a campground if so desired.
This loop backpack has plentiful highlights that you earn with climbs and descents. Leave Slacks Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, crossing the Parkway to make White Rock Falls. Beyond the falls, cross the Parkway again, dropping to South Fork Back Creek. Ahead, Sherando Lake Recreation Area is centered with a pair of lakes and a series of nature trails that you can incorporate into your loop. The recreation area also has water spigots running during the warm season. From Sherando Lake, ascend Torry Ridge, passing view-laden Overlook Rock where Three Ridges Mountain rises in the distance. Work your way to the lowlands, eventually reach trouty Mills Creek. A steep climb earns now-wooded Bald Mountain. Still more views open of the Mills Creek Valley below while ridge running back to the Slacks Overlook.
Backcountry campsites can be found on South Fork Back Creek, lower Orebank Creek, and lower Mills Creek. Beyond, Sherando Lake Recreation Area offers developed campsites, water, and hot showers in season if you desire.
Essential Fact: This loop requires a little over 4,800 feet of ascending and descending.