Harry Landers Special

A beautiful, runnable loop through Southern Shenandoah National Park on the Moormans River Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Riprap Trail, featuring two of the best swimming holes in the park.

  • 21 miles
Running time
  • 4–6 hours
Total ascent/descent
  • 4,500 feet
    215 feet/mile

This is an annual fun run put on by the Charlottesville Area Trail Runners on Memorial Day weekend. It is named after Harry Landers who, in 2010, ran the last 6 miles with a broken collarbone. Now, that’s tough… and special!

Group shot before the 2015 Harry Landers Special
Group shot before the 2015 Harry Landers Special.


From the trailhead, take the North Fork Moormans River Trail for 5.9 miles to the top of the ridge at Blackrock Gap and the intersection with Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail (AT). Turn left (south) on the AT for 2.4 miles to the Riprap Trail. Take a right onto the Riprap Trail and descend off the ridge, passing Chimney Rocks with excellent views to the west. After 3.7 miles, turn left onto Wildcat Ridge Trail and begin ascent back up the ridge. In 2.5 miles reach the AT, and turn right (south), for 2.25 miles to the Turk Gap Parking Area. Leave the AT on the Turk Branch Trail and drop off the ridge for 2.4 miles. Take a left on the South Fork Moormans River Trail and follow for 2.0 miles back to your car. In 0.5 miles is an excellent swimming hole down to the left, known locally as Blue Hole.


Last updated June 16, 2020

What you do is up to you, but you shouldn't rely on these directions alone; they are often not specific enough to navigate by, and may be incorrect or out of date. Review a map beforehand and carry it with you. Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan to return. Do not count on having cell phone service while on the run. The VHTRC is not responsible for your welfare on any of these runs. If you go on one of these runs and get lost, run out of water, get injured, mauled by a bear, or die, or if anything else goes wrong, it's your fault; not ours. You assume all risks here and the VHTRC assumes none at all. Legal issues aside, some of these runs are more remote than others and the VHTRC is not suggesting that you do any of these runs, unless you are prepared to accept full responsibility for yourself.