Peters Mill Run | Offroad & Hike


November 28, 2020

We headed out west to hit up Peters Mill Run, which is an offroad trail in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. We got on the road and the morning and hit the Front Royal area around lunchtime, so decided to stop in at Spelunker’s for burgers. We have been here a few times, and typically whenever we are in the area around a mealtime, we make sure to stop in. They are pretty good with the pandemic requirements, and after driving through to pick up the food, we ate in the parking lot. This time we ate in the 4runner rather than on a picnic blanket. 

Burger from Spelunker’s

We headed further in the mountains to find the trailhead. I highly recommend you pick up your permit before you get there and make it part of the trip there. This will save you from having to go back and pick it up. We started at the northern part of the trailhead heading south. You get started on gravel road as you get closer, and Eli was already pointing out how this wasn’t real offroading. We didn’t see many rigs or other offroad vehicles in the parking area, but proceeded to hop on the trail. 

Driving on the trail.
Looking for obstacles

The trail is basically one way, though it has a couple pull offs here and there in case you do run into others coming the opposite way. There are some offshoot trails, which I believe are more for bikes or quads to check out. The beginning half of the trail was pretty rocky, not technical or anything, but created a lot of vibration and started to get to people. We came upon a big open area, and so we took a break and let everyone spread their legs a bit. Heidi I think enjoyed this the most, as she didn’t seem to be enjoying herself.

Heidi peeking out of the 4Runner.
Stretching our legs.

At the top of the ridge, you hit an obstacle that is somewhat technical, as you have to drive over a couple of boulders. I put it in 4 low and made short work of it though. This part of the trail is a little narrower and we had a few full size trucks coming the other way. It was around this time that the boys didn’t seem to be having as much fun. Eli wasn’t as enthusiastic anymore, not sure if it was due to the vibrations or that his side had the dropoff and he was worried about tipping over. The other side of this ridge is where the trail starts to change and become more smaller rock and dirt. 

Linda and Heidi Posing as they drive over some rocks.
Different angle of Linda driving.

One of my reasons for wanting to do this trip was for Linda to try some wheeling. She hadn’t done it before, and I’d like for her to be comfortable with the 4Runner just in case she needs to drive it offroad at some point in our adventures. She apparently seemed to like it just fine and started to have some fun. Didn’t take long and we were on the other side and parked in the parking area next to Edinburg Gap.

During the trail ride, we did see a few groups of Jeeps, Toyotas, and other offroad vehicles, but it wasn’t that busy. Which was good, since the trail is limited on space. There weren’t too many obstacles, and honestly I’m surprised this is considered a Jeep Rated trail. 

Jaxon posing while on trail

Before we headed back home, we decided to hit a quick hike, so after parking, we found the Great Massanutten Loop Trail (Orange blaze) and headed off back into the woods. It runs parallel to Peters Mill Run, though it does break off a bit as it snakes around the various ridges. It was great to see the mountains off in the distance and was nice to get some exercise in before heading back home. We didn’t do the full loop, as it is over 60 miles, but did get about an hour or so of walking in.

Family photo while hiking the Great Massanutten Trail.

We got back on the road, stopping in at Front Royal again for food. We couldn’t agree and find something that made everyone happy, so we pushed forward. We took an exit off of I-66 to grab gas and pick up McDonalds. Jaxon had fallen asleep, so eventhough we decided to get him a Happy Meal, it ended up going to waste, well the toy didn’t. We got home late and the boys went straight to bed. It was a great little getaway with the family and we lucked out with nice weather. 


Hike – 1.61 miles
Offroad – 6.5 Miles – Noted on the map, though we should have confirmed as it felt longer.


Spelunkers Frozen Custard & Cavern Burgers
116 South St
Front Royal, VA 22630

Last modified: December 31, 2020

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