Hike Descriptions

Albright Loop/AT/Humpback Rock, 6 miles, moderate elevation gain.  We'll start at the Humpback Rock Parking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We'll take the Allbright Loop to the A.T. south to Humpback Rock and return to our cars.  In the event of weather/Parkway closure, the hike will default to the Fluvanna Heritage Trail. This will be a gentle 5 mile walk that will start at Pleasant Grove off Rt. 53 in Fluvanna County. We'll lunch at a beautiful picnic shelter (with rest room!). 

Appalachian Trail from State Route 56 (Swinging Bridge over Tye River) to Harpers Creek, out and back 5.2 mile - moderate.  Hike to where the water gurgles through large rocks!  We will have lunch at the Harpers Creek Shelter and perhaps we can jump into the Tye River as we return back to the cars. 

Appalachian Trail inspection, expected distance ~4 miles. We will walk some or all of this section, picking up small branches, cutting some with loppers and handsaws and noting large obstacles for future removal. The plan is to do some cleanup and see how much there is for the future. There are a few spots where ice covers the trail. Directions: I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, then go 4 miles north on Skyline Drive to McCormick Gap. There may be a car shuttle.Austin Mountain. , 8.4 miles. Follows Madison Run fire road to Austin Mountain Trail to Big Run Loop Trail (turn right) to Madison Run fire road back to the trailhead. The climb is about 1,200 feet. Directions: Take I-64 west to 340 (exit 96); 340 north to Grottoes; turn right on Route 663 (the second 663) to the trailhead.

Appalachian Trail maintenance.  Time to clean and upgrade waterbars and other ways to get water off the trail at Rockfish Gap and possibly further along the trail-one day someone needs to walk towards McCormick Gap doing some tread touch up along the way. The majority of the work is with a McLeod.

Apple Orchard Mt to Petites Gap,  ~7 miles - moderate.  7.3 miles with a 3.4 mile side trip to Apple Orchard Mt as an option for faster hikers.  Start at BRPMP 78.4 and end at BRPMP 71.0  Possible short bushwhacks in search of wildflowers.  Meet at the AP parking lot on 511.  Features: wildflowers

Apple Orchard Falls, 5.6 mile circuit hike, 1680 feet elevation.  A great water hike with lots of stream crossings and a close up view of the 200 foot Apple Orchard Falls.  Unlike many circuit hikes the way back on Cornelius Creek Trail is also beautiful with swimming holes available. It's about one hour 15 minutes from Rockfish Gap to the Trail head.  Meet at Rockfish Gap at 9 am.  For directions to the trail head and more information about the hike:  http://www.hikingupward.com/JNF/AppleOrchardFalls/

Appalachian Trail maintenance and hike,  Little Calf Mt.  5 miles.  PATC is first and foremost a trail maintenance club. For those interested in giving back for the trails you hike, here is an opportunity to help.  A combined trail maintenance and hike of about 5 miles from Beagle Gap to Calf Mt. shelter and back. Most of the work portion will consist of painting the trail marker posts. Many hands will make light work. There may be some light clipping/branch removal,etc. if we come upon that. For those wanting a little more exercise, an out and back hike to the famous tractor seats atop Bear Den Mt.(2 miles) could be added to this hike.

Austin Mt., 9.5 miles. This hike is in the Southern District, SNP. The trail is steep and rocky in the beginning, followed by less challenging ascent along ridges, then down the Madison Fire Road. Directions: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, 250 west to Waynesboro, then go north on 340. At Grottoes, turn right on 663 and travel to the end of the pavement.

Bear Church Rocks, 8.5 miles. This out-and-back hike follows the Staunton River trail with a gentle climb for a couple of miles before heading uphill more steeply with a 2135 foot elevation gain towards Jones Mountain and a rocky overlook with a marvelous view of the Staunton River valley and Bear Church Rocks 0.1 mile further along. Directions: Take 29N to south of Madison, turn left at lights at the Sheetz onto route 230. Go west 4 miles to Wolftown. Turn right on 662, go about 5.5 miles to Graves Mill, turn right past bridge staying on 662; road ends at parking area. 10.5 miles from Route 29 to parking area.

Belle Cove, 9 miles. An out-and-back hike on the AT from mile 51.7 on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the top of Bluff Mountain and then on to the top of the abandoned Belle Cove Trail. From there we will hike down the former Belle Cove Trail to the stream and proceed down along the stream a ways.


Big Devil Stairs, 5.5 mile trail including hiking back up the gorge.  Be ready for the unexpected as we will be exploring this area as we hike.  Scenic views of the gorge.

Big House and Little House Mountain, 6.2 or 9.8 miles, strenuous. The House Mountain hike near Lexington Virginia is really two out-and-back hikes in one. Big House Mountain, with great views to the west from Goat Point Overlook, and Little House Mountain, with its spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley to the northeast. Little House and Big House Mountains appear to tower out of the plains as they stand by themselves, separate from any other mountain range. The 950 acre House Mountain Preserve was purchased in 1989 through the efforts of the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and many local residents. The area is now owned by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and managed locally by the House Mountain Management Committee representing RACC, W&L University, VMI, and VOF.  We will all go together up to Little House Mtn. first. There is some rock scrambling (nothing like Old Rag) at the top and some really beautiful views. The entire group will then descend to “the saddle” where the short hikers can either wait there while the long hikers continue up to Big House Mtn. or if possible, we will have another hike leader lead the short group back separately. This will be decided before we leave Sat. morning depending on the turnout.  Saddle Ridge Rd, Lexington, VA 24450 The parking area on Saddle Ridge Rd/VA643 is located between the parking signs before the information kiosk. 37.8116, -79.53266. There are not many parking spaces, so we need to coordinate driving.

Big Run Loop Trail, 7 miles, 1600 feet elevation gain.  Start at Big Run Overlook.  Park at Doyles river parking area, mile post 81 in the Southern District of SNP.  We will hike down into the Big Run basin on Big Run Loop Trail to the intersection with Rocky Top Trail, then follow the Madison Run Spur Trail to Browns Gap.  From Browns gap we take the AT north back to Doyles River Parking area.

Big Run Loop, 7 Miles, 1600’ ascent.  We’ll park and begin at Browns Gap (Skyline Drive MP 82.9) and head north on the AT to the Big Run Loop Trail. Well follow the Big Run Loop Trail, descending to Big Run and then climb back out to the Big Run Overlook on Skyline Drive where well have lunch. After lunch well cross the Drive and head back on the AT to our starting point. 

Big Schloss, 12 miles. This hike is in the Great North Mountain area of the George Washington National Forest near Woodstock, VA, a great year-round hiking area. During spring the forest floor is filled with wildflowers, such as iris, wild azaleas and various orchids. Other highlights include a clear trout stream lined with giant hemlocks and colorful mossy areas along the trail. The grandest spectacle in this area is the large rock outcropping with practically 360-degree views known as the Big Schloss, which straddles the VA/WV state lines. We’ll probably have lunch here. The hike will have a total elevation gain of around 2,000 feet. We’ll hike the Mill Mountain Trail, Big Schloss Cut-Off Trail, Half-Moon Trail and the Stony Creek Trail. Directions: From C’ville take I-64 west to I-81. Go north on I-81 to Exit 283 (Route 42). Go west on Route 42 for 5.8 miles. Turn right onto Route 675 at Columbia Furnace. Bear right at the junction with Route 717 and in 2 miles turn right onto FDR 92, which is unmarked. Stay on FDR 92 for 4 miles, until you reach a parking area on the right side of the road just before crossing Little Stony Creek. Features: wildflowers, old growth forest and views.

Bird Knob and Emerald Pond Massanutten, 8 miles, 1300 feet elevation.  This is an eight mile loop with almost all the climbing in the first mile and a half.  It is mostly shady, some great overlooks and one of the best swimming spots in the area - Emerald Pond, a small lake hidden in the forest (unfortunately being discovered but still most of the time there is no one there). Directions: From Swift Gap go 6 miles to Elkton, turn right on Business 340 north for 17 miles and then left on 211 west for 2.6 miles.  At the crest of the mountain turn left at the Visitors Center parking lot.  It should take 35 minutes from Swift Run Gap.

Blackrock, 6-7 miles. Park at Upper Blackrock on Skyline Drive between mileposts 84 and 85 and head out the AT over Blackrock and up Trayfoot Mt. to Trayfoot Mt. Trail for an out-and-back hike. Warnings: Some mild up-and-down climbing with one steep albeit fairly short climb. Nice views from Blackrock and from along Trayfoot Mt. Trail. No stream crossings.

Bluff Trail/Mount Marshall/AT Circuit Hike, 13 miles. This journey takes place in the Northern District of Shenandoah National Park. Along the circuit, we’ll encounter several good views, especially along the AT from North and South Marshall Mountains. The hike goes along the Bluff and Mt. Marshall Trails and returns along the AT. Expect good views from the North and South Marshall Mountains on the AT near the end of the route. Elevation gains and ascents are relatively tame. The biggest uphill stretch on the AT is about 750 feet. The hike will begin and end at Gravel Springs Gap along the Skyline Drive between mileposts 17&18. Directions: Take Route 29N to Madison, then Route 231N to Sperryville. Pickup Route 211 in Sperryville and travel west to SNP’s Thornton Gap entrance station. Go north on Skyline Drive about 14-15 miles to Gravel Springs Gap, between mileposts 17&18.


Braley Pond/Bald Ridge Trail, Hike 7 miles out and back.  We will walk around beautiful Braley Pond, then follow Bald Ridge Trail, which is a fire road for about a mile, then turns off to become a proper hiking trail.  We will climb to the Peak and if time and conditions permit beyond to the Pinnacle.
 

Braley Pond/Wild Oak Trail, 9 miles.  This hike, which involves a 1,900-foot climb. We’ll walk past a pond that may be surrounded by people fishing and wondering why other people are not. After following a road, we’ll climb Bald Ridge Trail to The Peak and turn right, ascending the ridge to Green Pond. From there, it is downhill (distinctly down at first) on part of Wild Oak Trail, to where cars were shuttled. Directions: I64 west to I81, through or around Staunton to 250W. Go about 10 miles west of Churchville. Immediately after crossing Calf Pasture River, turn right on Route 715, then go about ½ mile to the road to Braley Pond. Note: Car shuttle about 4 miles further along the road required.

Broad Hollow Trail/Catlett/Pine Hill Gap Trail, ~8 miles. Circuit hike in the Central District of the SNP. There will be about a 1,600-foot elevation gain in the morning. Directions: Take 29 North to 231 North in Madison. Take 231 North to 681, about 12 miles past Banco. Turn left on 681. Follow 681 to the top of the hill. The sign there says, “Bus turn around, no parking M-F.”

Brown Mountain/Big Run Loop Trails, 11 miles. Summit of Brown Mt. and back. We begin from Brown Mountain Overlook and descend 5.3 miles. We’ll have views of Shenandoah Valley, the Massanuttens, and reach Big Run for riverside dining. We’ll then follow the almost level Big Run Portal Trail for 3.7 miles with several stream crossings, at least one pool, a spectacular cliff and finally a 2-mile ascent up Big Run Loop Trail to end at Big Run Overlook. Drive past Loft Mtn Wayside on the way out. Directions: 29N to Ruckersville; turn left to head west on Route 33 to Swift Run Gap, then south about 11.5 miles on Skyline Drive to Brown Mt. Overlook, just north of milepost 77. There is a 4.2-mile car shuttle to Big Run Overlook (about quarter of a mile south of mile 81). Entrance from Rockfish Gap is possible but involves driving 24 miles to Big Run Overlook, 28 to start of hike.

Browns Gap, 5-6 miles. Out-and-back hike starting at Browns Gap near milepost 83, taking Rockytop Trail towards Austin Mountain and Lewis Peak. This hike is mainly ridge tops so the climbing is relatively minor (but there is some). Directions: take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap and then head north on Skyline Drive; Southern District, SNP.


Browns Gap Turnpike History Walk, out and back hike of 4 miles or 8.5 miles , 1300 feet elevation.  Come walk some history!  The Browns Gap Turnpike, the first turnpike in Albemarle County, used by Stonewall Jackson to march his entire army through Browns Gap during his famous Valley Campaign, awaits.  We will begin on a gravel state road and ascend into the SNP to a fire road. Footing on this hike is wide and generally good, with a few rocky and wet sections where water runs down the mountain.  We will have an easy, steady climb under 500 feet in elevation gain for every mile. The road passes into Shenandoah National Park a little after the 2 mile mark. The short hike will return at this point. The longer hike will continue to the Doyles River Trail, admiring the views only seen in winter and having lunch at the Doyle River Upper Falls , before returning on the same roadbed surface.  Hikers must stay on the road, and dogs must stay on a leash, since the road is surrounded by private property until we enter the park. Please read more about this hike and the history of the area on Jeff Monroe's blog at: http://pathfollower.blogspot.com/2015/01/hiking-shenandoah-in-winter-one.html

Buck Hollow to Mary's Rock, Hike Leader Kelly O'Rourke, 9 miles, very strenuous.  Location outside Sperryville in the parking lot off 211. (0.6 miles from SNP boundary. 38.65788, -78.28085)  This is a beautiful hike! Well worth the drive and climb. And climb we will! We will start at the base of the mountain and go up to the top (cross skyline) and keep ascending to Mary’s Rock. It is steady climb all the way up and that means all the way back down!  There are stream crossings though this time of year they are easy to cross and we should not get wet. Beautiful woods and waterfalls half the way up.

Buzzard Rock Trail Massanutten,  7 miles but difficult.  A long drive and a long day but worth it to experience a unique hike. We will take our time.  It involves a  3.9 mile hike with 1300 feet elevation up to Buzzard Rock from SR619 near Waterlick.  It is a shorter, slightly gentler version of Old Rag with rocks to squeeze through, steep cliffs and good views; not recommended if you suffer from vertigo.  Then we descend three miles through a shady section of the Massanutten Trail to the parking lot. Another mile can be added be going to a further parking lot.   If we do a short car shuttle we can avoid an additional three miles of road walk. Directions: From Elkton take 340 north for 46 miles. Turn left on VA 619 which becomes Mountain Road. After approximately six miles the parking lot for Buzzard Rock Trail will be on your left. 

Camp Hoover,  ~8 miles, moderate. Hike will start at Bootens gap parking area, to Laurel Prong trail, with our lunch break at Rapidan camp.  After lunch we go to the Mill Prong trail (there will be a few stream crossings). When we get to the AT, we head south back to the parking area at Bootens gap.

Cedar Mountain/Jones Run Trail Bush Whack, short hike of about 3 miles, long hike of about 5 miles.   A bush whack to the top of Cedar Mountain.  Starting near Blackrocks in the southern section of SNP we will hike an old trail that is not on the current PATC map to the top of Cedar Mountain and back. For those wanting a longer hike, an added bush whack down to Jones Run Trail waterfalls can be added.  The bush whack part to Cedar Mtn is about a 1/2 mile round trip, the bush whack down to Jones Run Trail is about a 1/2 mile one way.

Charlottesville Reservoir to Turk Mt., 10.5 miles. Hike initially takes us along the beautiful South Fork of the Moormans River and the old AT until we reach the Turk Branch Trail, where we’ll turn uphill for a steady climb to today’s AT and the Skyline Drive. We’ll then cross the Drive and head to the top of Turk Mountain for a nice lunch stop. The overall hike will involve an elevation change of 2,000 feet up and 2,000 feet back down. A shorter hike can be made by simply turning back earlier. There is a swimming hole near the end of the hike for those interested in a dip. Directions: The trailhead is at the end of SR 614 in Albemarle County. From Charlottesville, follow Barracks Road - Route 654 and then Garth Road - Route 614 all the way to White Hall. Then continue straight on SR 614 past the Charlottesville Reservoir at Sugar Hollow to the parking area on the left of the road, about one mile past the dam. Features: swimming hole


Chimney Hollow Trail, 7 miles out and back, moderately difficult.  Since we're going out and back, those wishing a shorter hike will see a lot in just a couple miles of walking by a beautiful stream then a short climb to nice views.   Those wishing a longer hike may continue to Crawford Mountain Trail. 

Cold Mountain, 5.8 miles.  Stunning, 360 degree views, several nice campsites, and a short walk on the AT will be part of this hike near Amherst. Among the best views you will see in our area, with 1500 feet of elevation gain, every step of it worthwhile for the awesome view. In good weather, you will want to linger in the open meadow which offers views in all directions.

Corbin and Robertson Mt. Trails, 10.5 miles. Starting at the Old Rag parking area. The trailhead is reached by taking 29N to Madison, taking Route 231 through Banco and Etlan, turning west onto Route 602 (sign to Old Rag) and following the road, which changes to 707, back to the parking area along Route 600 through Nethers, 3.5 miles from 231. We’ll park in the large Old Rag parking area and strike out from there. The hike will begin by heading up the Hughes River, along the Nicholson Hollow Trail. After 1-2 miles we will reach the lower terminus of the Corbin Mountain Trail, which takes us steadily uphill at a good clip—1,800 feet of elevation change over 4.5 miles. We will then turn onto the Old Rag Fire Road briefly before branching off onto the Robertson Mountain Trail. Along Robertson we will have views of Corbin Hollow and Old Rag Mt. The hike will finish along the Weakley Hollow Fire Road. Warning: This hike will include significant elevation change, about 2,300 feet up and then back down.   Individual entrance fee per person ($5) or current park pass is required.

Cove Mountain Loop, 8.2 miles, strenuous.  This hike is starts by climbing the Appalachian Trail past Little Cove Shelter from the Jennings Creek Road, east of Arcadia, north of Buchanan.  At 4.5 miles, we will leave the A.T. and descend on the Little Cove Mountain Trail 2.7 miles back to Jennings Creek Road.  We will walk the road 0.8 miles back to our vehicles.  Elevation at the start of the hike is 1000 feet, and the A.T. portion of the hike climbs much of the way, ascending to 2600 feet, meaning that this is a tough hike.  Further details of this hike can be found here: http://www.wanderingvirginia.com/2012/11/atlittle-cove-mountain-trail-loop.html. 

Crabtree Falls/The Priest, 9-10 miles. Moderate in difficulty. Note: car shuttle required. Begins at the base of Crabtree Falls and ends where the AT crosses Route 56 at the Tye River. Starting from the parking lot for Crabtree Falls, we'll hike uphill along the popular Crabtree Falls Trail. After stopping for the scenic view from the top of the waterfalls, we'll continue hiking uphill to the AT, which we can access from Cash Hollow Road or the Crabtree Farm Road. From here, we'll hike the AT heading north, eventually getting to the top of The Priest. After that it is downhill for the last 4 miles, dropping about 3,000 feet in elevation. The total elevation gain during the first part of the hike will be about 2,000 feet. Directions: From Charlottesville take Route 29 south past Lovingston to Route 56. Take Route 56 heading west. As many cars as possible will then need to be left at the parking area where the AT crosses Route 56 at the Tye River (this parking area is about ¼ mile west of Route 862). The parking area is on the left-hand side of the road as you are traveling west on Rt. 56. From here, a car shuttle will be necessary. Features: views


Cranberry Wilderness West Virginia, Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Hillsboro, WV and Watoga State Park. 4800 Watoga Park Road, Marlinton, WV 24954, almost 3 hours west of Charlottesville, only ~ 13 miles from the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Hillsboro, WV, http://www.watoga.comAbout the Cranberry Wilderness. Cranberry Wilderness is the largest USFS Wilderness east of the Mississippi. This 35,864 acre Wilderness is bounded on the west by an additional 26,000 acres known as the Cranberry Backcountry. On the east, the Wilderness is bounded by the Highlands Scenic Highway - once envisioned as being an extended highway crossing the high mountains of the Allegheny backbone of West Virginia. Two scenic rivers pass through the area - the Williams River and the Cranberry. One of the most unusual features in the region is the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, a 750 acre bog located at the southern tip of the Wilderness - the largest in West Virginia. Because of its unique conditions, some unusual plants grown in bogs, including carnivorous or insect-eating plants. These plants and others were pushed south when glaciers covered the northern hemisphere. When the glaciers retreated, the bog became an island ecosystem and the southern- most point in North America where some of these life forms are found. Lots of spruce and glistening mountain streams are the hallmark of this area. Along the Middle Fork of the Williams River, 8- 10 miles.  The Middle Fork of the Williams River is the only river in area completely encompassed by the backcountry. The water is crystal clear, cold, and sparkling. An old railroad grade parallels the river for close to twelve miles, finally meeting the main branch of the Williams at an area known as "Three Forks of the Williams River". The Middle Fork of the Williams passes through beautiful, 100-year-old woods with plenty of ferns along the way. The woods are open for the most part, except in those places where rhododendron grow in closely woven bunches. The railroad grade is an easy, gentle walk through exceptionally pretty forest. The river alternately cascades over boulders, or flows quietly along huge, flat slabs of stone. There are a few spots suitable for wading if one is up to the very cold water temperatures. Big Beechy, 8- 10 miles.  Starts near the top of the Middle Fork of the Williams River and re-enters that trail about 7 miles later. The trail starts at a broad flat expanse traveling through young spruce, then heads into more mature forest with large trees in the middle section. Then Big Beechy makes an extended, in some places steep, drop down to the Middle Fork with restricted views into what appears to be a very wild little hollow. Additional information on the hike specifics and meeting location to follow.

Crescent Rock Overlook to Milam Gap, 8.5-10.5 miles. Notes: If people want to do side trips to the top of Hawksbill Mountain and to Lewis Spring Falls, it’ll add 2 miles to the 8.5-mile hiking distance. Note: Car shuttle required.  This hike in the Central District of the Shenandoah National Park starts from the Crescent Rock Overlook parking area off Skyline Drive between mileposts 44 & 45. From here, we will quickly access the AT hiking south towards Hawksbill Mountain, the highest point in the park. A side trip to the summit of Hawksbill is highly recommended as it offers a 360-degree panoramic view at an elevation of 4,050 feet. Hawksbill Mountain is also known as a breeding area for peregrine falcons. After Hawksbill, the next overlook area will be at Franklin Cliffs. The AT will take us around the Big Meadows campground. A short distance after this is a possible side trip to view the Lewis Spring Falls. From the falls, we will conclude this hike where the AT crosses the Skyline Drive at Milam Gap. Directions: From Charlottesville, take Route 29 north to Route 33. Proceed on Route 33 traveling west to Skyline Drive at Swift Run Gap. Go north on the Skyline Drive to the parking area at Milam Gap at milepost 53. A car shuttle will take place from here to the start of the hike at Crescent Rock Overlook. Features: views

Dark Hollow Falls/Rose River Trail, 7 miles. This fairly easy hike starts at the Big Meadows picnic area. We’ll descend to the base of Dark Hollow Falls, with benches along the trail, then head towards less visited areas, passing an old mine site. The adventurous may head up a hill to search for the old mine shaft (it’s up there somewhere). Next comes some uphill beside Rose River (with a small pool or two) before we cross Skyline Drive and go around the picnic ground to the start. Note: No dogs allowed on the Dark Hollow Falls and Story of the Forest Trails. Directions: Take Route 29N to Route 33 and 33 west to Skyline Drive, then head north to Big Meadows picnic grounds, mile 51.5. About 43.5 miles, 1.25 hours. Features: old mine


Devil’s Marble Yard, 8 miles, 2200’ elevation gain.  The main attraction of this hike is the boulder field. It’s got boulders the size of cars, caves and crags and may induce a bit of hyperventilation.  We’ll hike to its base and then scramble and rock hop to the top gaining almost 800 feet. There will be plenty of time on the rocks to play, explore, and to enjoy the spectacular views. After reaching the top we’ll then bushwhack ¾ mile back to a civilized trail and descend back to our starting point. Parking for this hike is very limited so we will take a minimum number of cars. 1-1/2 hour drive to Natural Bridge Station.

DelFosse Vineyard Trail, 5.5 miles. We will hike the trail around the vineyard followed by wine tasting and our bag lunches at the winery. The hike is fairly strenuous with 800 ft elevation change. Trekking poles and long pants or high socks recommended due to grass and weeds. Well behaved dogs on leashes are welcome.  Meet at AHS at 9 am for car pooling.  Directions: 35 minutes from AHS, Route 250 bypass west to 29 south.  Right on Hickory Creek Rd (616). Right on Old Roberts Mountain Rd (634) - follow signs to DelFosse Vineyard. 

Doyles River Trail to Pinefield Gap, 8 miles. We’ll start at the Doyles River Trail. The trail passes around Loft Mt. Campground, then passes near Loft Mt. Wayside and the Frasier Discovery Trail. The trail continues past Ivy Creek Overlook to Pinefield Gap, not far from the Ragazzi tree. The hike can be shortened if anyone desires by stopping at the Ivy Creek Overlook or descending the Frasier Discovery Trail from the top of Loft Mt. Note: Car shuttle required. Directions: Vehicles will be left near mile 81 along Skyline Drive (Doyles River Trail) and just south of milepost 75 (Pinefield Gap). Enter via either Rockfish Gap or Swift Run Gap.

Dripping Rocks Spring to Humpback Rocks, 7 miles with 1,200’ of elevation gain and 1,500’ drop (option of an additional 4 miles).  We will hike the AT from Dripping Rocks Spring to Humpback Rocks.  There will be 2 viewpoints facing west toward Charlottesville over the first 4 miles.  The second viewpoint located on Humpback Mountain will likely be the lunch spot.  Then we will continue on to Humpback Rocks facing into the Shenandoah Valley toward Stuarts Draft and then end the hike at the bottom of Humpback Rocks.  Additional 4 miles option A group of hikers can add 4 miles to the hike. This will total ~11 miles. The additional 4 miles will start at the bottom of humpback rocks and add the Dobie Mtn./Albright loop trail. We will not go all the way down to the cabin, but to the 2 nice overlooks and return back to the parking lot.  We will drive to Rockfish Gap turning right and head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We will drop off as many cars as possible at the Humpback Rocks parking area MP6.  Then continue to Dripping Rocks Spring parking at MP 9.6 which has very limited parking.  Depending on the number of people that come on the hike we may do the shuttle in reverse.

Elliott’s Knob, 9 miles. Out-and-back hike
west of Churchville that entails a 2,600-foot climb (gentle to moderate climb) in the George Washington National Forest.  The hike ascends to the summit. From here, on a clear day you can see miles of surrounding countryside, including Skyline Drive. Directions: Take I-64 west to I-81; go north on I-81 to the Woodrow Wilson Parkway; turn left onto the parkway and follow it until it meets Route 250 (you’ll cross over Route 11). Go west on Route 250 to Churchville, then take Route 42 south through Buffalo Gap to Route 688; turn right onto Route 688 and go 3.8 miles to the trailhead (Route 688 is largely a dirt road).  Features: views

Elliott Knob shuttle, 9 miles, 2700 feet elevation.  Elliot Knob is the highest point in the GWNF and one of the highest peaks in Virginia.  This hike features two waterfalls and several great views to the west and east.  Hike from 688 (Dry Branch Gap) to the Knob and descend via Falls Hollow Trail.  Expect a couple of creek crossings.

Entry Run Trail/Pocosin Fire Road, 6.5 miles. This loop hike will use a combination of PATC cabin access trails,fire and county roads and the youngest of all SNP trails (Entry Run). There is a PATC cabin theme to this hike, as we'll pass both Rosser-Lamb and John's Rest. Some steep up and down along with wet leaves. Limited trailhead parking. Features: hike by two PATC cabins

Fish Hatchery to Wolf Rocks to the AT, ~10 miles. Out and back. We'll get the steep climb over right away as we ascend to the A.T. We'll then proceed south along Elk Pond Mountain, staying between 3500-3800 ft. elevation to Wolf Rocks.

Flat Top Mtn. Loop, 8 miles. The Flat Top Mtn Loop will begin at the last church on Simmons Gap Road. We will hike up about 1600' to the top over the first 2 miles. Then slowly make our way down the back side of the mountain to Simmons Gap Road. From there we'll walk down the road back to the church and the cars. We will be able to take in the panorama view of the mountains of the Piedmont and the SNP.


Flattop Mountain, about 6.5 miles.  Join us for a circuit hike from Simmons Gap, north on the AT, with a mid-hike stop at a cabin on the top of Flattop Mountain. We will have a  gradual ascent from Simmons Gap, with a few short, steeper sections along the AT.  As guests of Keith Argow, we will enjoy our lunch with a view from Flattop Mountain before finishing the hike downhill to the cars.

Fluvanna Heritage Trail, easy 6.5 miles.  A 6.5 mile out and back from the western trailhead (behind Pleasant Grove house).

Fortune's Cove, 5.5 MilesWe will do circular loop on this beautiful Nature Conservancy site in Nelson County. Although not a long hike, there is 1500' of elevation gain to the top of Woods Mt. and the same amount of fall.  Directions: Rt 29 south, Rt. 718, Rt. 651. 

Fortune's Cove, 5 or 9 miles, strenuous. There is a total of ~ 1,725 ft Elevation gain in this hike. The hike begins at the entrance to the parking lot, bear left onto the gravel road heading uphill and in a short distance the trail will leave the road to right onto the trail marked with 2 blue poles. Many of the trees will be marked with information tags about the trees and also yellow and green arrow metal tags for direction. The trail quickly begins a tough 1400' climb, with a few short reprieves. The trail is basically a ridge hike around the Fortune's Cove Valley. The last part of the trail from High Top Mountain is downhill the rest of the way, and will pass a nice creek on the way back to the parking lot. Directions: 29 S to R on Rt. 718, R on Rt. 651 to Fortune’s Cove Preserve, Lovingston, VA 22949 

Furnace Mountain/Austin Mountain/AT, 12.5 miles. Hike which has a 2,500-foot elevation change and possibly a major stream crossing near the beginning. We will start at the bottom, ascend Furnace Mt. to scenic Blackrock, follow the AT to Browns Gap (where hikes to Lewis Peak start), then take Rockytop Trail to Austin Mt. Trail. Approved shortcut possibilities exist to shorten this long hike. Directions: I-64 to Rockfish Gap, 250 to Waynesboro, 340 north to Grottoes, then right on 663 to end of pavement.

Furnace Mt. Trail to Blackrock, 8-9 miles. This out-and-back hike in the Southern District, SNP, entails a 2,200-foot climb with views from Blackrock and along the trail over Shenandoah Valley. Possible side trip to Furnace Mt. summit has great overlook of Madison Run. One stream crossing maybe tricky. Directions: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, 250 west to Waynesboro; go north on 340. At Grottoes, turn right on 663 and travel to the end of the pavement. Features: views
 
Furnace Mountain, 7 miles. From Blackrock Parking, take AT to Blackrock, then Trayfoot Mt and Furnace Mtn. trails to Furnace Mt. summit. About 860 ft climb going out, 1090 ft return. Directions: Take I-64 to Rockfish Gap (24 miles) then north on Skyline Drive about 20.5 miles to Blackrock Parking at little past MP 85.

Furnace Mountain summit, 5 miles, about 1200 feet climb. Furnace Mountain summit and back for a total of about 5 miles  Great views of Shenandoah Valley on the climb, and a great view of Madison Run valley at the destination. The morning is mainly uphill. The crossing of Madison Run is usually straightforward because of large rocks in the stream. Because this hike starts at the park boundary, it is not affected by closing of Skyline Drive. Directions: I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, exit on to 250W into Waynesboro, turn right on to 340 (27 miles) to head north to Grottoes (about 15 miles), turn right at flashing light on to Route 663 (roughly east) and go about 3 miles until the pavement ends. Stop when pavement ends and road becomes 1 lane, and a private road to left.-45 miles total.

Glass Hollow Overlook/ Dobie Mtn plane wreckage loop, 4 miles - easy.  Come hike and still make your later day obligations! This short, scenic loop hike will provide a peaceful, wooded walk along trails near Humpback Rock without crowds. We will have great overlook of the Rockfish Valley for a snack break, as well as search for plane remains from a wreck in 1964. For some extra miles, those interested can either travel to the Paul Wolfe Shelter or up to Humpback Rocks for another 2 miles.

Glenmore (Keswick area) perimeter hike, ~7 miles.   We will hike around the Glenmore golf course and woods surrounding the neighborhood with approx. 2 miles along the Rivanna River. It is also a equestrian trail so we might see some horses. It is mostly flat with some stream crossings and maybe some muddy areas towards the end of the hike (if we have had a lot of rain). The hike is through a very nice wooded area with a rural feel.  The drive is only ~ 20 minutes.

Grooms Ridge - Wild Oak Loop, 9 miles.  This hike in a proposed wilderness area on Shenandoah Mountain has some great views. It climbs up the Grooms Ridge Trail for four miles to the Wild Oak Trail then follows Chestnut Ridge and eventually a short spur trail leads to the parking lot.  Directions: The trailhead is 12 miles and 20 to 25 minutes from Churchville.  Turn right off 250 and east onto 42 for 5.2 miles. Then left on 760 for 3.5 miles. Left on 747 after 1.1 miles.  747 then merges with 730, continue straight on 730 for 1.0 miles then left on 718 for about .8 miles; then turn on Forest Road 95. The Wild Oak Parking lot is on your right about .1 miles.  There are several other great hikes in this immediate area.

Hankey Mountain, ~10 miles. Out-and-back hike in Churchville. It will entail a 1,400-foot climb along Dowells Draft Trail with wonderful views to the southeast (leaf foliage permitting). Shorter hike options: Because this is an out-bank-back hike, people can opt to hike less than the full 10 miles. Directions: Take I-64 west to I-81 north to 275 west to 250 west past Churchville, about 9 miles. The trail starts opposite Chimney Hollow Trail. We’ll park in the Chimney Hollow parking spaces and walk across the street. Features: winter views

Hawksbill, 4 miles. Hike on the AT and Nakedtop Trail in the Central District of the park. The trail is rocky in places. Directions: Enter the park at Swift Run Gap and head north about 21 miles (past Big Meadows); go 1/2 mile past milepost 45 to Crescent Rock Overlook.

Features: views
 
Hawksbill Summit, 5.5 miles. Multiple vistas along the trail to the summit of the highest mountain in the Shenandoah National Park (4,049’). From the summit we’ll view both the east side and the west side of the SNP; Luray to Old Rag. Hopefully we’ll see the peregrine falcons from the nearby nesting area soaring above us. We’ll start the hike from the Franklin Cliffs Overlook at MP 49 and end at the Lower Hawksbill Gap parking at MP 45.6. We will start the hike by following the AT North to the Salamander Trail then on to the Hawksbill summit. We’ll eat lunch around the Byrd’s Nest Day Shelter near the summit. Then return byway of the Salamander Trail & AT North to the cars. Features: views


Hawksbill Mountain Moonlight Hike , 4 miles. This moonlight hike will let us use the fading daylight and rising moon to guide us to the highest point in the Shenandoah Park. Get away from city light pollution and come see the stars from 4000 feet! Bring your dinner or snack, water, and a headlamp (likely not used) and clothing appropriate for the weather.  For those wanting to make a weekend of fun, consider making reservations at Big Meadows at the Lodge, cabins or campsite or at Skyland. http://www.goshenandoah.com/Stay.aspx  

Hazel Mt., 8+ miles. Hike starting at Hazel Mountain Trail in the SNP. This route leads downhill to White Rocks Trail to a cave with some wonderful views, and I have heard the waterfalls from here. We will eat lunch there. After lunch, we will climb Hazel River Trail back to Hazel Mountain Trail. Warnings: This hike involves extensive elevation change (about 1,500 feet up and down). There are a couple of minor stream crossings. Directions: Take 29 north to 231 north to Sperryville. Take 211 west to Thornton Gap. Go south in the SNP to the parking area between mile markers 33 and 34. Features: views

Hazel River Loop/SNP, 11 mile circuit - strenuous, 2200ft elevation gain.  We will do the Hazel River Trail, lower portion of Hazel Mtn. Trail, Catlett Spur and Mtn. Trails.

Hightop Mountain, 7 miles.  Well hike south on the AT from Swift Run Gap steadily climbing over Hightop Mountain and then descending a short distance to Hightop Shelter for lunch. Well then return along the same route. Total elevation gain is about 2100 feet.  Features: views

Hightop Mountain Bushwhack, about 5 miles, 1200 feet elevation.  Join us for a bushwhack to the highest mountain in the southern section of SNP, Hightop Mountain. We will begin at Johnson Cabin on the Vining tract, ascend on the Cliff trail to an unused road leading to a spring that forms the head waters of Mattie's Run.  Nearby is the chimney of an old home site.  We then hike over to the base of a large cliff (about 400 feet across).  After a short scramble around the the side of the cliff we will have lunch on top with a wide open view to the east.  After lunch we start the bushwhack through SNP to the AT near the top of Hightop Mountain.  We will hike to the top of Hightop and then descend on the AT to Swift Run Gap. Bushwhack distance about 2 miles, AT hike including the hike to the top of Hightop about 3 miles. NOTE: the bushwhack will have thickets, sticker bushes, rock scrambles and crawling over and under downed trees. Wear clothes and heavy boots you don't mind being torn up as we pick our way through the woods. Use a pack that fits close to the body to reduce it catching on things. Shuttle required.

Hightop/Pinefield Gap/AT, 10 miles. The hike will be along the AT starting at mile marker 66.5 in the SNP. We will start out with a steep climb to Hightop Mountain first thing in the morning. Hightop Mountain is the highest mountain in the Southern District of the SNP peaking at 3,587 feet. We will hike to Pinefield Gap (mile marker 75.3) for a total distance of 10 miles. People preferring a shorter hike can go to Simmons Gap & Ranger Station (mile marker 73.2), which is an 8-mile hike. Total elevation change for the long hike is about 1,900 feet. Note: requires a car shuttle.

Hogback Mt./AT, 11 miles. Out-and-back hike in the Northern District of Shenandoah National Park. We'll start at the small parking lot for Piney Branch Trail at mile 22.2. Piney Branch Trail immediately dumps us onto the Appalachian Trail (AT), where we'll start our ascent up Hogback Mountain, which stands at 3,500 feet. From there we'll descend on the AT to Gravel Spring Hut, our turning back point. On the way back, we'll take a slight detour at Keyser Run Fire Road. The fire road links up to Pole Bridge Link Trail, which spills us onto Piney Branch Trail, leading back to the cars. Guesstimated elevation gain is 1,500 feet. Directions: Take Route 29 north to Madison, 231 north to Sperryville, and Route 211 west to the Thornton Gap park entrance. Head north on Skyline Drive; go about 1.8 miles past Elkwallow Wayside, and go just past the entrance to Mathews Arm campground but before milepost 22. Look for a road on the right leading to a small parking area.


Hone Quarry Ridge/Big Hollow Trails, ~5 miles circuit hike, ~1200 feet ascent.  Hiking from near the Hone Quarry Dam, we follow Big Hollow Trail along a stream bed to the top of the Hone Quarry Ridge Trail.  Moderate grade along the ridge to a couple of lovely overlooks and then down to connect back to Big Hollow Trail.

Hoover Camp, 9.9 miles. Not terribly strenuous (1,200-foot climb) route. This Central District circuit hike visits historic Hoover Camp and passes through stands of hemlocks; some stream crossings. Directions: From Swift Run Gap, head north 10 miles to Bootens Gap parking on the right. Features: historic site

Hoover Camp, 5.5 miles. 1,000-foot climb with car shuttle; 8 or 9 mile circuit with 1,600 feet or more ascent. Start at Bootens Gap with a climb, then descend on Laurel Prong Trail to Camp Hoover (an extra loop of a mile can be added). A moderate climb on Mill Prong Trail to Milam Gap follows, where the short hike participants will complete a car shuttle. The circuit continues south on the AT over Hazeltop Mt. This hike has streams (no big crossings), moss, hemlocks, history, and a shorter than 10-mile hike. Directions: 29 north to Ruckersville, west on 33 to Swift Run Gap, then 10 miles north to Bootens Gap parking on right, about 0.75 miles past milepost 56. Car shuttle drivers will proceed an extra 2 miles. Features: historic site

Humpback Rocks on the AT, 6 miles. This will be an out-and-back to the iconic regional view from Humpback Rocks with a twist... rather than the normal uphill slog from Humpback Gap parking, we will instead start further south at the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area off Blue Ridge Parkway, thus making our approach to Humpback from the back side.

Humpback Rocks on the AT, 10.5 miles. Hike which starts on Afton Mountain where the AT crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway. Note: requires car shuttle.  After completing a car shuttle, we'll hike south on the AT to Humpback Rocks. We'll have a 1,700-foot elevation gain, with all the uphill coming in the afternoon. The views should be tremendous for any fall colors around. For those wanting to meet at the trailhead, please gather at the Humpback Parking lot at mile 6 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. From there we'll car shuttle back to Afton Mountain. Features: fall colors


James River Face Wilderness Area, 9 miles - strenuous! Glasgow, Rockbridge County, VA. This hike takes in three levels of history of the Appalachian Trail in the James River Face Wilderness Area, near Glasgow.  The hike starts up the Piney Ridge Trail, which was the original A.T. alignment back in the 1930’s.  This section is 3.5 miles long and the elevation changes from 900 feet to 2450 feet.  At the end of this trail, we head northbound on the current Appalachian Trail, working our way back downhill to the Matt’s Creek Shelter.  Just after the shelter, we turn off of the A.T. onto the Matt’s Creek Trail, which was the A.T. until the James River Foot Bridge was built in 2000, altering the trail’s river crossing location.  The Matt’s Creek Trail is 2.6 miles long and climbs steeply from 830 to 1310 feet in its first mile before dropping down to around 750 feet, for a day’s total of about 9 miles of hiking.  The hike is one way on the trail, so a very short car drop is required (about 2 miles).  Group size in federally designated Wilderness Areas is limited to no more than 10 people.

Jarman Gap/Turk Mountain/AT, 9.3 miles. Hike in the Southern District of Shenandoah National Park. We’ll start by taking an easy walk downhill along the Jarman Gap Fire Road to the Turk Branch Trail. We’ll then make our way back up to and across Skyline Drive for lunch on Turk Mountain after about 5 miles of leg stretching. After lunch the hike will finish with a little more than three miles along the Appalachian Trail back to the cars. The total elevation change for the day will be 2,500 feet. The trailhead is at the Jarman’s Gap parking lot, just north of milepost 97 off Skyline Drive.

Jarman Gap/Turk Mountain/AT, 10 miles.  Southern District of Shenandoah National Park. We’ll start by following the AT north on rolling hills with some great views, crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We’ll continue on the AT until we turn onto Turk Mountain Trail, climbing for about a mile to a short rock scramble onto Turk Mountain where we’ll have lunch with incredible views.  After lunch we’ll climb down to the AT and turn onto Turk Branch Trail, which meanders downhill by a branch of the Moormans River, turning onto Moormans River Fire Road to climb back to the parking lot.  The total elevation change for the day will be 2,500 feet. The trailhead is at the Jarman’s Gap parking lot, just north of milepost 97 off Skyline Drive.

Jeremy’s Run Trail,  11 miles with 1400’ elevation gain. Did you say stream crossings?  Well this hike will have about 14 of them.  Be sure to bring hiking poles and extra socks!  This will be an out-and-back starting at the Elkwallow picnic area (NOT the Elkwallow wayside) on the Skyline Drive.  We’ll head down the AT for a bit then join up with Jeremey’s Run Trail.  From here we’ll continue downhill with 14 stream crossings for about 5 miles to a beautiful waterfall where we’ll have lunch.  Then we’ll re-trace our steps back to the cars.  We aren’t going to stop and change boots to sandals and back again 14-times so wear appropriate footwear for hiking and stream crossings. Directions:  29N, thru Madison to the Thornton Gap entrance to ~MP 24.

Jones Mountain/Staunton River Trail, 13 mile loop, about 2800 feet elevation gain - difficult.  In the SNP Central Section.  A circuit hike in a quiet, wild section of the park.  )n a warm day cool off in the many swimming holes in the Staunton River.

Jones Mt./Staunton River, 8 miles. Out-and-back hike, which is in the Central District of the park. There’ll be good views from Bear Church Rock. Much of the route is level, but there’s one steep section, and the trail is obscure and rocky in places. Directions: Take Rt. 29 towards Madison, but get on Rt. 230 south of Madison to Wolftown, then follow Rt. 662.


Jones Run Trail/Doyles River Trail Water Falls Loop, 8 miles. 1,600' elevation change. This is one of the most popular water fall hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park. There are several beautiful falls along Jones Run, plus several more large falls on the Doyles River Trail. We will start the loop at the Doyles River Parking mp 81 and hike down the Doyles River Trail to where it meets the Jones Run Trail, then up the Jones Run Trail to the AT.  We'll follow the AT north to the Browns Gap Road, following Brown's Gap Road back to the Doyles River Trail and on to the parking lot. Features: circuit hike and waterfalls


Jones Run Trail/Doyles River Falls, 7 miles. Starting from the parking lot just south of MP84 on Skyline Drive, we’ll head north on the Jones Run Trail descending about 1,000 feet from Skyline Drive to the junction with the Doyles River Trail. There we will ascend to the falls area for lunch. About 1/2 mile north of the Falls, we’ll turn south onto Browns Gap Road until it intersects the AT at Browns Gap, following the AT south back to the parking area. Directions: Entering park from south end at Afton Mtn.: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, north about 21 miles on Skyline Drive. Entering park at Swift Run Gap: Take 29 North to 33 West; check in at the Swift Run Gap entrance. Go south on Skyline drive for 17 miles to mile 83. Features: falls

Jump Mountain Loop/Goshen Pass, 7 miles, very strenuous: 2600' total elevation change. We'll hike an iconic Virginia landmark at scenic Goshen Pass. Beautiful rural scenery along with some worthy post-hike options:Rockbridge Vineyards, Wade's Mill. (Shoppers and Imbibers could carpool). Steep up and down with varying trail conditions including overgrown (and sometimes disappearing). Soak in the picturesque Maury River afterward. No dogs (swinging bridge and some rock scrambling).

Knob Mountain Trail/Jeremys Run Trail, 11.5 miles. Circuit hike in the Northern District of the Shenandoah National Park. The hike will begin and end at the Elkwallow Gap parking area off the Skyline. We will take the AT going south for a very short distance until it meets the Jeremy's Run Trail and descend on this trail for 0.8 mile, where we pick up the Knob Mountain Cut-Off Trail. This trail will then ascend steeply for ½ mile, gaining 500 feet in elevation and then get on the Knob Mountain Trail, which stays along a ridge until it eventually descends to the Jeremy's Run Trail. Jeremy's Run will be the final leg of the hike. Note: This trail will require crossing the Jeremy's Run stream about 15 times, so bringing sandals is recommended. There is also the potential for taking a dip in the stream since there are numerous spots for stopping along the trail. Directions: Take Route 29 north to Madison, to Route 231 traveling north to Sperryville. From here you will take Route 211 west to the Skyline Drive (Thornton Gap entrance). Go North on the Skyline Drive for 7 miles to the Elkwallow Gap Picnic Area. Short hike option: An-out-and-back hike on the AT and Jeremy's Run Trail would be 5-6 miles with no more than a 500-foot elevation change each way. Features: circuit hike, stream crossings and swimming

Knob Mountain Trail/Jeremy's Run Trail/AT, 11.5 miles. Circuit hike in the Northern District SNP. We’ll take the AT south to Jeremy's Run Trail. We’ll descend 0.8 mile, where we pick up the Knob Mountain Cut-Off Trail. This trail will then ascend steeply for ¾ mile, gaining 500 ft. We then get on the Knob Mountain Trail, which stays along a ridge until it descends to Jeremy's Run Trail. This trail will cross Jeremy's Run stream about 15 times, so sandals are recommended.  Directions: Take 29 north to Madison, to 231 traveling north to Sperryville. From there you will take Route 211 west to the Skyline Drive (Thornton Gap entrance). Go North on the Skyline Drive for 7 miles to the Elkwallow Gap Picnic Area.

Lake Sherando, 8 miles. Summer favorite, which is in the Blue Ridge Mountains in George Washington National Forest. It features a brisk climb followed by gentle uphill and mostly downhill. This is the perfect summer hike, as it concludes with swimming in the lake for those so inclined. Directions: Take I-64 west to the first exit past Rockfish Gap (exit #96, Sherando Lake Exit). Take SR 624 southwest 2 miles to SR 664. Take SR 664 south about 8 miles to FDR 91 (Sherando Lake Recreation Area entrance sign), and FDR 91 west about ½ mile to the entrance station. $$ Warning: Whether or not you plan to swim, there’s a per-car entrance fee to get in based on the number of people in the car ($4 for one person; $6 for two; $8 for three or more). So in addition to the car pool fee, everyone in the car will chip in to pay the entry fee. Swimming: Lake Sherando features a sandy beach with a shaded grassy area behind it. There are bathrooms with hot showers; drink and snack machines are available. Features: swimming

Laurel Fork, 12 miles. This hike will take us about 2-2¼ hours west on Rt. 250 for a great leg stretcher with several significant stream/river crossings (bring suitable extra footwear) and gentle elevation changes. The Laurel Fork area is a high-altitude region in the northwest corner of Highland County, bordered on the north and west by West Virginia. Its main attraction is its relative remoteness, gentle beauty, and its place at the headwaters of the Potomac River. The middle part of the hike along Laurel Fork is highlighted by tunnels through huge mountain laurel and rhododendron groves, hopefully blooming in early June. Directions: The hike jump-off point can be reached by taking U.S. 250 west past Monterey (21 miles) to West Virginia Route 28. After taking a right on 28, go 6.7 miles to a dirt road marked Locust Spring Picnic Area. Features: stream crossings and spring flowers


Laurel Prong, Cat Knob, Jones Mt., Fork Mt. Trails, AT, 7 Miles - strenuous (1500' elev. gain)  This will be a combined out-and-back with a loop using the above trails. The route begins and ends at Bootens Gap (MP 55.1). We will be exploring SNP backcountry trails following white, blue and yellow blazes.  The tread is a little more rugged than average with significant rocky stretches,wet (stream/trail combined) portions, and a little rock scrambling.  There are a number of small stream crossings and one large one in Laurel Prong, where water shoes or sandals are recommended.

Lewis Falls Trail from Milam Gap/AT, 5 or 7 miles. This hike is an out-and-back in that it will begin and end at Milam. The 5 mile option will use Lewis Falls trail and A.T. as a loop to return south to Milam. 7 mile option will proceed further north on A.T. and then pick up horse trail that returns south to Big Meadows to again make a loop that then picks up A.T. to return to Milam. Lewis Falls Trail is rocky and steep with moderate elevation gain.


Lewis Peak, 10 miles. This out-and-back hike is in the Southern District, SNP. It mainly follows ridges on Big Run Loop trail, then Rockytop Trail, then Lewis Peak Trail, so there will be minimal sustained climb. Directions: Take 64W to Rockfish Gap, go north 22 miles on Skyline Drive to Browns Gap at milepost 83.  Features: views
 
Little Devil Stairs and Piney Ridge, 10.5 miles. Hike that starts with making our way up Little Devils Stairs. The canyon area is steep, wild and picturesque with beautiful sheer cliffs. After getting our hearts pumping with this early morning climb, we will then follow the Pole Bridge Link Trail to the Piney Branch Trail and then briefly onto the Appalachian Trail, reaching the PATC Range View Cabin area by lunchtime. During the afternoon we will follow the Piney Ridge Trail to the Fork Mountain Trail and onto the Hull School Trail. The hike ends on the pleasant Keyser Run Fire Road. Directions: Take US 29 north to Madison. Follow 231 from Madison to Sperryville. Follow 522 north to 622. Take a left on 622. Follow 622 two miles and turn left onto 614. Follow 614 for about 3 miles to the trailhead parking.


Little Devil Stairs/Piney Branch Trail loop, 8.5 miles- strenuous.  We are going to enter this loop from the bottom of Little Devil Stairs, climb up and descend along the Pole Bridge Link trail, to Piney Branch Ridge trail. We’ll pass the very interesting Bolen cemetery. If you have never done this hike the gorge is really beautiful and we will see many large old trees. There are many stream crossings (last time I did it I counted 21!). If we have a heavy rain – some could be a little deep and some could be on the trail. Though in the summer, the streams are usually very low and crossing is easy. However, poles are highly advised.  Though it is a bit of a drive, it is a beautiful drive and wonderful hike, so it is well worth it!  Directions: 29 N to Madison, take 231 N to 522 N to Sperryville. Go Right on Rt. 211. Go ~ 1-2 miles to Gig Hollow Rd. Rt. 622 go Left. Go Left on VA670/Keyser Run Rd to the end of the road to the parking lot.

Little Devil Stairs, 8 miles. Hike in the northern district SNP. The route is uphill with stream crossings in the morning; some stream crossings in the afternoon. Directions: 29 north to Madison, 231 north to Sperryville, 522 north about 2 miles, left at Rediviva on 622 about 2 miles, left on 614 about 3.5 miles (unpaved last 2 miles) to parking lot.

Little Devil Stairs, 5-6 miles. A shorter option in the same area as the hike listed above, which would go to the top of Little Devil Stairs, down the Jinny Gray Fire Road and back to the cars via Keyser Run Fire Road. The challenging part will be the Little Devil Stairs ascent.


Little Devil Stairs - Keyser Run Fire Road, 7.5 miles, strenuous. We are going to enter this loop from the bottom of Little Devil Stairs, climb up, and descend along the fire road. We’ll pass the very interesting Bolen cemetery. If you have never done this hike the gorge is really beautiful and we will see many large old trees. If we have a heavy rain, there will be a lot of water crossings, and some could be on the trail. Poles are highly advised. We will eat somewhere along the waterfall, depending on timing. Though it is a bit of a drive, it is a beautiful drive and wonderful hike, so it is well worth it!  Directions: 29 N to Madison, take 231 N to 522 N to Sperryville. Go Right on Rt. 211. Go ~ 1-2 miles to Old Hollow Rd. Rt. 622 go Left. Go Left on VA670/Keyser Run Rd to the end of the road to the parking lot.

Lower Shamokin Falls Trail 3.4 miles and Rockfish River Loop, 2 miles.  We will begin off of Old Stoney Creek Road to do the moderate Lower Shamokin Falls Trail. Return and drive a short distance to Rockfish Valley Trail head to do the flat, easy Rockfish River Loop.  Depending on weather (exposed hike) we can alter the distances as needed.

Marbleyards Loop, adventure hike with boulder climb and bushwhack, 8.3 miles.  This will not be pre-hiked, so we will  explore together.  Three mile AT section may be added depending on timing.  Beautiful panoramic views.

Mary's Rock via the AT,  ~5 miles, moderate.  Hike to Mary's Rock from either Panorama on Route 211 or the Jewell Hollow Overlook.  If we can run a car shuttle it will be a point-to-point, if no shuttle an out-and-back.  Dogs are welcome ON A LEASH!

Massanutten Mountain - Second Mtn Trail, 6, 8 or 10 miles. Starts with a 1,200-foot climb up to Kaylor Knob on Second Mt. After descending, hikers can either return to cars for a 6-mile total or continue up Boone Run Trail to make 8 or 10 miles with more climbing. Directions: Drive north on Route 29 to Ruckersville; go west on Route 33 to Elkton. Take 33 Business to 635, to 636, to 602 north, then go left (west) on 363 (Cub Run Road). Parking is on the right about 2 miles down, before 636 turns right along the stream.

Massanutten Mountain - Bird Knob Trail, 8.5 miles. Circuit hike near Luray. Warning: Wading may be required. Swimming possible at lunch. Directions: Take Rt. 29 north to Rt. 33; take 33 west towards Elkton; take 340 north to 211 to Luray. We’ll park at the New Market Gap Visitors’ Center on Route 211. Features: circuit hike and swimming


Massanutten Mountain - Fridley Gap, 7 mile loop.  This is a circuit hike on the Fridley Gap Trail and Massanutten Trails which provides the opportunity for three ascents: one steep, another steeper and the third steepest over three mountains in just seven miles.  Directions: Route 33 via Swift Run Gap to Route 340. Turn north about 5 miles to the town of Shenandoah then left at the McDonalds on 602.  Proceed 3.9 miles and turn right on Runkles Gap Road with a brown National Forest sign.  After 2.1 miles this becomes the unpaved but hard surfaced FR 65  (Cub Run Road). Drive 1.9 miles on the dirt road and the trail head and parking space is on the left.  No sign but look for a purple blaze.

Massanutten/Kaylor Knob, 6 miles. This is a six mile out and back hike starting from Cub Run Road with about 1100 feet of elevation gain.  We will walk the first mile of the 90-mile Massanutten Trail along Boone Run and two miles on the Second Mountain Trail to Kaylor Knob with views to the east.   Bring along a pair of clippers or loppers and we will do a little light trail clearing.  There are plenty of places to dip your feet if it's a hot day and we will stop at a swimming hole toward the end of the hike.  Directions: To get there from Charlottesville take 33 West for approximately 12 miles.  Turn right at the light on to 602 which is  just before the entrance to Massanutten Resort.  After 4.4  miles on 602 and turn left on Runkles Gap at the brown National Forest sign and then two miles to Cub Run Road. There is a parking lot at the start of Cub Run Road or you can park along the left side of the road near the first orange blaze.  From there we just follow the orange Massanutten Trail blazes.

Mathews Arm, 12-14 miles, long & strenuous. This is one of best circuit hikes in the Northern District of the Shenandoah National Park. It offers scenic overlooks, a waterfall, stream crossings, and a diverse forest scenery brought about by the changing contour of the landscape. The hike will likely start from the Skyline Drive at the main entrance to the Mathews Arm campground area. If the campground gate is open, we’ll be able to cutoff about 2 miles of walking. Once in the campground area, the hike will pick up and descend along the Mathews Arm Trail. After 1.3 miles, we’ll meet up with the Overall Run Trail. We will continue to descend along this trail, which at one point offers a great panoramic view from above one of the highest waterfalls in the SNP. We’ll hike along this trail until it terminates at the Beecher Ridge Overall Trail. At this point, we’ll have descended around 2,000 feet. On the return part of the circuit, the hike will take us along the Beecher Ridge Overall Trail, the Beecher Ridge Trail and the Heiskell Hollow Trail. On past hikes we’ve seen a variety of wildlife in this area. Directions: From Charlottesville, take Route 29 north to Madison. From here, pickup Route 231 north, passing through the town of Madison. Take Route 231 to Sperryville. Then take Route 211 traveling west until you get to the Thornton Gap entrance to the Skyline Drive and the Shenandoah National Park. Go north on Skyline Drive to the entrance for the Mathews Arm Campground area, which is less than 1/10 of a mile from milepost 22. If gate is closed, park in gravel area on left-hand side of Skyline Drive just beyond the gate. However, if the gate is open, park in one of the general parking areas within the campground.  Features: circuit hike


Matts Creek Trail, AT and Old AT Loop, 7 miles, moderate difficulty, with elevation ranging from 700 to 1400 feet, drive distance 80 miles, 1.5 hours. Come on a hike that this chapter has never done before, a hike in the James River Face Wilderness. We’ll start at the trailhead for the Matt's Creek Trail Foot Bridge on U.S. 501.  To start, we’ll walk across the 501 bridge and then take the old A.T. along Cashaw Creek to the current A.T. at Rocky Row Run. Then hike the current A.T. south over the Foot Bridge (the longest hiker-only bridge on the entire A.T.) to the Matts Creek Trail and back to our vehicles through the James River Face Wilderness. 

Mau-Har Trail - Three Ridges Wilderness, 7.5 miles. Starting at Love Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 15.5) we will hike to the Tye River.  A car shuttle is required for this hike. 

Mauhar Trail to Campbell Falls, 7 Miles, 1700’ ascent.  See and hear rushing waters and gaze upon spectacular rhodies, and wildflowers while enjoying some easy walking and conversation with your friends, some steep sections that will test your stamina and a little rock hopping to spice things up. This hike has it all! Starting at Love Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 15.5) we’ll hike on the fire road to the Maupin Field Shelter where we’ll pick up the Mauhar trail and head steeply downhill following Campbell Creek to lunch with an optional side trip to the falls before heading back. 

McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs, 12 miles. A visit to two-thirds of Virginia's “Triple Crown.” (Nearby Dragon's Tooth is the other third.) McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs are reputed to be among the prettiest parts of the AT in Virginia. Located near Roanoke. Note: car shuttle required. Features: views

McCormick Gap to Turk Gap, 9.5 miles. This hike starts at McCormick Gap and heads north, with tractor seats on Bear Den Mountain, a side hike to Turk Mt. summit and views of Shenandoah Valley near the end. The hike minus the side trip is 7.5 miles. Note: Car shuttle required. Directions: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap; go north about 3.5 miles to McCormick Gap.

Minebank/Bald Mt. Trails, ~10 miles. Hike in the George Washington National Forest, which includes some beautiful trails and many rhododendrons. We’ll head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 23; Fork Mt. Overlook is just north of the trail parking area. We’ll descend Minebank Trail and walk St. Mary River Trail, followed by a climb to Green Pond, to Forest Service Road 162 to Bald Mt. Trail.

Minebank/St. Mary's River/Bald Mountain Trails, 10 miles, 
moderate to strenuous. Hike in George Washington National Forest. We'll descend Minebank Trail and walk St. Marys River Trail, with a climb to Green Pond, then walk along Forest Service Road 162 to Bald Mtn. Trail which will go down and up back to the starting point. There are stream crossings, and overgrown trails. Directions: We'll head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to near MP 23; Fork Mt. Overlook is just north of the trail parking area which is on the right when headed south.

Montebello Fish Hatchery to VA State Route 56 (Tye River), 10.5 miles. From the hatchery we’ll hike 1-1.5 miles uphill along the Fish Hatchery Trail until it intersects with the AT. The next 9.5 miles will take the group north along the AT until it meets up with VA State Route 56, where the AT crosses the Tye River. In the early stages of hiking the AT, we will take a side trip to the top of Spy Rock, which offers a 360-degree view. After this, we’ll find a spot a few more miles down the AT at one of the other numerous scenic areas along the ridge north of Main Top Mountain for lunch. In the afternoon we’ll head to the top of The Priest, an elevation just over 4,000 feet. With clear weather, there could be some excellent views from this lofty mountain. Directions: Take Route 29 South. Turn right onto Route 56 West (this is about 5 miles south of Lovingston). Take Route 56 1.1 miles. Turn right onto Route 655, which is also Roseland Road. Travel 3.9 miles on Route 655 until it intersects with Route 151. Go left on Route 151 for about 50 yards, crossing over the Tye River. Turn right onto Route 56 West. Travel 7 miles on Route 56 West to parking area, which is on the left-hand side of the road (parking area marked by hiking sign for the AT). Note: From here a car shuttle will be required. Features: views

Montebello Fish Hatchery, AT South to the Railroad Trail, 8 miles. This is a circuit hike which begins with a steep ascent, followed by a moderate ascent shortly after lunch. There’s also a couple of minor stream crossings. Directions: Go south on Route 29 past Lovingston to Route 56. Take a right onto Route 56 heading west. After Route 56 splits off from Route 151, travel about 15 miles (this will take you past the parking area for Crabtree Falls). Take a left off of Route 56 onto Route 690. Drive to the fish hatchery, then follow the hiker sign up a gravel road to the parking lot at the start of the hiking trail. Features: circuit hike


 Montebello Fish Hatcher​y ​to Spy Rock, 4.1 miles, 1,263 ft ascent, short, but steep.  Great 360 degree views.  We may add a little mileage (2 miles to Rock Spring) on the Appalachian Trail on the return or we will stop and check out the fish hatchery. ​ Meet at AHS at 9 am or the Montebello Fish Hatchery on Rt. 690 off of Rt. 56 at 10:15 am. Trail parking is up hill on left.
 
Mt. Pleasants to Wolf Rock, 10 miles. Out-and-back hike on the AT starting at Hog Camp Gap to Wolf Rocks. Wolf Rocks has a nice rock outcropping for splendid views. The hike is fairly flat, with an elevation change of about 500 feet. Directions: Take 29 South to Route 60 in Amherst. Take Route 60 west approximately 20 miles to Route 634.
Take Route 634 North to Route 755 to Forest Road 48 to the parking area.

Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run Trail, 10.7 miles. Trek in Northern Section of Shenandoah National Park. It begins at milepost 27, the trailhead for Neighbor Mountain Trail, which we descend, followed by a gentle climb along Jeremy's Run Trail, with numerous stream crossings and possible swimming holes, ending at Elkwallow Wayside. Note: Car shuttle required. Long travel distance. Stream crossings. Directions: Take Route 29 north to Madison to Route 231 north to Sperryville. From here take Route 211 west towards Luray to Skyline Drive (Thornton Gap entrance), then north 4½-5 miles to parking area. At milepost 27, with car shuttle to Elkwallow Wayside.  Features: stream crossings and swimming

Nicholson Hollow, 9 miles. Out-and-back hike up to Corbin Cabin. Be prepared for a 1,200-foot climb and wading. Park in the lower Old Rag parking lot. Directions: Take 29 north to Madison, then 231 through Banco and Etlan to Route 602 and follow 707 through Nethers.  Individual entrance fee per person ($5) or current park pass is required.


Nicholson Hollow/Indian Run/Corbin Mt. Trails, ~ 11 miles, 2,300 elevation change.  Starting at the Old Rag parking area.  The trailhead is reached by taking 29N to Madison, taking Route 231 through Banco and Etlan, turning west onto Route 602 (sign to Old Rag) and following the road, which changes to 707, back to the parking area along Route 600 through Nethers, 3.5 miles from 231.  We’ll park in the large Old Rag parking area and strike out from there.  The hike will begin by heading up the Hughes River, along the Nicholson Hollow Trail.  Follow Indian Run Trail to Corbin Mtn. Tr. To Nicholson hollow.  We will pass the Corbin PATC cabin. We will have some water crossings, but they will hopefully shallow without too much trouble to cross.  Poles are recommended.  Warning: This hike will include significant elevation change, about 2,300 feet up and then back down.  Entrance fee per person ($5) or current park pass is required. (1 pass can get in 4 people).

Old AT - New AT Loop, 8.5 miles, moderate to strenuous.  A looping hike from Three Ridges Overlook north of Reeds Gap. We will follow the old Appalachian Trail which was used until the mid-seventies when Wintergreen Resort was established.  We will continue up into the resort until we cross over the Blue Ridge Parkway at Dripping Rock and return back to the Three Ridges Overlook along the current AT.  Many beautiful views and rocky terrain.

Old Rag Mountain,  ~9 miles. This is perennial PATC favorite as well as one of the finest and most beautiful hikes in the area.  It’s a circuit hike with 2400 feet of climbing and plenty of rock scrambling up steps and ledges when going up the front face (scrambling not serious rock climbing).  The back approach is largely without rocks, but still gives lots of exercise.  The overall effect, including great rocks to lunch on and enjoy the vistas at the top, is an unusually complete mind/body experience.  We will divide into two groups, one group up the less rocky back side and the other group up the front side.  Boots or shoes that grip rocks well are recommended.  Trekking poles tend to be a nuisance when taking the rockier front trail, though good on the back one.  Alternative hike up Old Rag for those who want to avoid the rock climb and the crowds. We will park at the Old Rag Parking lot but go up the Weakley Hollow Rd for 2.5 miles to the Saddle Trail.  From there 1.9 miles to Old Rag where  hopefully we will meet the others for lunch and all hike back together. This is actually a longer but easier hike with the same great views.  Anyone who wants a shorter hike could always turn back earlier. Directions: Take 29N to Madison, then Route 231 through Banco and Etlan until you get to Route 602 on the left (look for a brown sign to Old Rag).  Continue as 602 changes to 707, then Route 600 through Nethers, 3.5 miles from 231. We’ll park in the large Old Rag parking area in the meadow below the mountain. Individual entrance fee per person ($5) or current park pass is required.

Old Rag, ~9 miles. Circuit hike with a 2,200-foot climb and rock scramble plus great views! This is not your normal hike, requiring hikers to squish under, hurtle themselves over, and propel themselves through and around rocks. A fun adventure, and not serious rock climbing. Gloves recommended for rock scrambling. Trekking poles can get in the way in a couple of spots. Traffic delays normal at a couple of spots on the trail. Directions: Take 29N to Madison, then Route 231 through Banco and Etlan. Turn west onto Route 602 (look for sign to Old Rag), which changes to 707, then Route 600 through Nethers, 3.5 miles from 231. We’ll park in the large Old Rag parking area. Individual entrance fee per person ($5) or current park pass is required. Features: circuit hike

Old Stoney Creek/Lower Shamokin Falls Trail/Rockfish Valley Trails, +6 miles. We will begin at Wintergreen's Lower Shamokin Falls Trail ascending Old Stoney Creek to the lower falls and possibly middle falls. The trail will vary from a fire road to steep ascent at the end. Trekking poles advised due to numerous stream crossings. Beautiful 4.0 mile out and back hike. Then we will drive one mile up Rt.151 to the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center and enjoy the Rockfish Valley Trail/Spruce Creek Trail system with 2+ mile loop options. Features: stream crossings

One Mile Run, 7-8 miles. This route which descends about 1,400 feet in the first 1.5 miles, then roughly follows a stream with little elevation change. We return after reaching trail’s end on private land, or before. There are some stream crossings. There is the steep climb at the end and stream crossings. Directions: Take 29 north to Ruckersville, left on 33 to Swift Run Gap, then 10 miles south on Skyline Drive to Two Mile Run overlook. Trail starts south of parking area.


Paine Run Trail from Blackrock Gap, 6-7 miles. Out-and-back hike beginning at milepost 87.4 in the Southern Section, Shenandoah National Park. It features a morning descent into a valley, after which we turn around and head back. The first mile is steeper than the remainder. We will also stop by Blackrock Springs and explore the remains of Blackrock Resort, which was built before 1900.

Pass Mountain Trail/AT/Buck Hollow Trail, ~10 miles. This mostly circuit hike with a one-mile car shuttle. We'll have some wonderful views at Mary's Rock and two significant climbs. The first climb is at the beginning of the hike with a 1,300-foot elevation gain, and the second is right before lunch, also 1,300 feet. This is a long and difficult hike, it involves at least an hour's drive to the trailhead. Directions: Take 29 north to Madison and go north on 231 to 822. Take 822 west to Sperryville, then take 211 south towards Thornton Gap. The parking area is about 3-4 miles on the left. If you reach Thornton Gap, you've gone too far. Features: views


Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve (off of Rt. 810 in Albemarle County), 4.5 to 5.8 miles, 1220 feet elevation gain.  Little Flat Mountain Loop with additions as decided by group.  Short, but moderately strenuous rating due to some steep portions.

Peaks of Otter: Abbott Lake to Flat Top to Falling Water Cascades Trail, about 12 miles.  This is an out/back. Hike up Flat Top Mountain, cross the Blue Ridge Parkway past the Flat Rock parking lot and do the Fallingwater Cascades trail loop (loop is 1.6 miles) and hike back to the lodge. (option:  A shuttle will be at the parking lot of the Fallingwater Cascades.  Just do the 1.6 mile loop or not and be taken back to the lodge/campground.)

Peaks of Otter: Sharp Top Trail, Harkening Hill Trail to Johnson Farm Trail, about 9 miles.  This is an out/back. Leave lodge and walk the other way around Abbott Lake, walk past the camp ground past the nature center to the top of Sharp Top.  This is only 3 miles round trip, you can stop here to just do the shorter hike.  We will continue across the road to the Harkening Hill Trail to Johnson Farm Trail and back to the lodge (option: Add 1 mile and do the Elk Run Trail loop).

Petites Gap to Cornelius Creek Shelter, 10.5 miles, moderate to strenuous. (based on ratings in “Walking The Blue Ridge" by Leonard Adkins).  Starting from Petites Gap, this hike will take us south along the AT until we reach the Cornelius Creek Shelter, which is about ¼ mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 80 & 81. The hike will initially go through the Thunder Ridge Wilderness area, requiring an ascent of 1,300 feet. A second climb with less elevation change will follow. This ascent will lead to a view of the James River and the Allegheny Mountains. Continuing along the AT, the next panoramic area is at Sunset Field Overlook, which is close to the summit of Apple Orchard Mountain. If people want to, we could then make a side trip to Apple Orchard Falls, which is along the Apple Orchard Falls Trail. This would add another 2 miles to the hike. The AT portion of the hike will then conclude at the Cornelius Creek Shelter. From there it is a relatively short walk to cars that will be parked just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. In addition to the overlooks and views, this section of the AT is known for having an abundance of spring wildflowers, such as bloodroot, trillium, and mayapple. Note: Car shuttle required. Directions: From Charlottesville, take I-64 west to I-81. Go south on I-81 to the Natural Bridge exit. After exiting from I-81, take Route 11 going south until it intersects with Route 130. Travel on Route 130 going towards Glasgow, VA. Once in Glasgow, take Route 501 as it merges with Route 130 traveling southwest towards Lynchburg. Follow Route 501 all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once on the Blue Ridge Parkway, go south. Look for parking area for Petites Gap on the right-hand side of the Parkway just past milepost 71. Features: overlooks, views and wildflowers

Petites Gap from the AT, 10 miles. Along the AT from Petites Gap (on Blue Ridge Parkway south of the James River) to the James River, ending with a crossing of the new pedestrian bridge across the river. Mostly downhill with good views of the river from the halfway point and on a new bridge built on abandoned railroad piling.
Features: James River views
 
Pinefield Gap to Brown's Gap, 10.3 miles. Hike the Appalachian Trail from Pinefield Gap (between mileposts 75 and 76 on Skyline Drive) in the southern section of Shenandoah National Park. We'll head south, ending at Browns Gap near milepost 83 on the Drive. Along the hike we will make several climbs of 500-800 feet. The hike will lead us around Loft Mt. camping area and should provide us with a number of vistas throughout the day. Note: car shuttle required. Directions: The trailhead can be reached from either 250/I-64 at Rockfish Gap (Afton Mountain) or from Swift Run Gap at Route 33. The parking area at Pinefield is on the right side of the Drive when heading north. Features: views

Piney Branch/Hull School Trails, 7.5 miles with car shuttle or 10.2 miles as a circuit hike. Hike in the North District, SNP. We’ll head north on the AT to Piney Branch Trail, turn right and descend to Hull School Trail and Thorton River Trail, then back up about 1,000 feet to the AT and either do a car chuttle or complete a circuit via the AT. Warning: several stream crossings. Directions: Go north to Madison and take 231 and 522 to Sperryville, then 211 to Thornton Gap. Head north about 7.5 miles on Skyline Drive to Elkwallow Gap near milepost 24. Features: stream crossings

Pleasant Grove, 6.7 miles. Loop in Palmyra, Virginia. We will follow the Fluvanna Heritage Trail through the woods along the river. A nice, easy hike with a few inclines but mostly flat terrain. A few small stream crossings. A short traveling distance from Charlottesville. Directions: Take the Thomas Jefferson Parkway for about 20 miles. Turn left at the Fluvanna Heritage Trail sign into the parking lot across from the dog park.
Features: circuit hike

Pocosin Fire Road to Milam Gap, 8 miles. Hike starts off the Pocosin Fire Road just north of milepost 60 along Skyline Drive. We’ll do a couple of moderate climbs during the day, but the elevation gain only ranges from 300 to 500 feet. The lunch spot will be near the top of Bearfence Mountain (in a rock scrambling area). Directions: Take 29N to Route 33W, access the Skyline Drive from Swift Run Gap, then head north on the Skyline Drive to the Pocosin Fire Road just north of milepost 60. We’ll do a car shuttle to leave vehicles at Milam Gap, north of milepost 53.

Pocosin Cabin to Milam Gap on the AT, 8 miles. This climb entails has two climbs of around 500 feet, the first being Bearfence Mountain. This section of the hike features a rock scramble, which may be where we pause for lunch since it offers a really nice view into the Shenandoah Valley. The second climb will be after lunch at Hazel Top Mountain. Note: Car shuttle required. Directions: Take Route 29 north to Route 33, go west on Route 33 to Swift Run Gap. Enter Shenandoah National Park and go north (towards Big Meadows). Travel 5.5 miles on Skyline Drive, looking for the right-hand turn to the parking area for the Pocosin Cabin between mile markers 59 & 60. If you see mile marker 59, then you have gone too far.

Pocosin Hollow Trail/Slaughter Trail, 10 miles. Hike starting at Pocosin Fire Road parking area (mile 59.5 on Skyline Drive) down the fire road past Pocosin Cabin and Pocosin Ruins to Pocosin Hollow Trail, out of the park and along route 667, then up Slaughter Trail to the parking area for Meadows School Trail just beyond milepost 67.  Directions: 29 north to Ruckersville, east on route 33 to Swift Run Gap, then north on Skyline Drive (Central District, SNP).
Note: Car shuttle required.
 
Pocosin/South River Falls, 10 miles. This hike is in the Central District of SNP, which starts at the South River Picnic Grounds and heads north on the AT for several miles to the Pocosin Cabin and fire road. The hike will follow the fire road briefly until reaching the ruins of the Upper Pocosin Mission, at which point we'll head south along Pocosin Trail, through the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area, and back into the park. We'll end the day by visiting the South River Falls area. Directions: The trailhead can be reached by following Route 33 to Swift Run Gap. At the SNP entrance station, turn left (north) and follow Skyline Drive about 2.5 miles to the South River Falls picnic area on the right. The trail begins on the backside of the picnic area. Features: ruins

Pompey Mt./Mt. Pleasant Loop Trail/Hotel Trail/AT to Cole/Cold Mountain, 9-10.5 miles for the two loops. This hike will entirely take place within the beautiful Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area. A climb early-on will be required to get us to the top of Mt Pleasant, where we'll enjoy lunch from the rock outcropping at the summit, elevation 4,021 ft. After lunch we will complete the loop trail, then descend downhill to Cowcamp Gap Shelter along the Hotel Trail. There will be some climbing near the end of the Hotel Trail. Once the Hotel Trail meets the AT, we will then gain another 500 feet to get to the top of Cole/Cold Mountain, which will offer a spectacular panoramic view. From here it is all downhill back to the cars. Directions: Take Route 29 south to the Amherst exit for Route 60. Go west on Route 60 to Route 634 (about 1 mile from the Long Mt. Wayside; sign to Mt Pleasant). Turn right onto Route 634. Go about 2 miles, then turn/veer right uphill onto Route 755 (sign to Mt Pleasant). Follow through road uphill to parking lot at Hog Camp Gap. Features: views

Priest (The), 6 to 9 miles. Out-and-back hike, so hikers can go as fast or as far as they like. We’ll start at the parking lot across the street from the Tye River Suspension Footbridge (a fun bridge to hang out on) off of County Route 56. We’ll climb south on the AT, and then we will climb, and just when we think we can't climb any more we will take a break and then CLIMB some more. There is a 3,050-foot elevation change in the first 3 miles. Once we get to the top we can eat lunch at one of the many rock outcroppings. For those who really want a workout, we can then hike all the way to FDR 263 and back, which would be about 9 miles. Round trip distance to the Priest peak is about 6 miles. Both options entail going 3,050 feet uphill then 3,050 feet back downhill. Directions: Take 29 south to County Route 56 west to just past County Route 862. Parking is on the left. Features: views


Punchbowl to Long Mountain Wayside along the AT, 10.2 miles, strenuous.  
8:00 AM, Long Mountain Wayside ,U.S. Route 60, Oronoco, VA (map), 80 miles from Roanoke.  This hike is northbound on the A.T. from the Blue Ridge Parkway MP 51.7 near Punchbowl Shelter to the Long Mountain Wayside where the A.T. crosses U.S. 60. The hike starts out around 2200 feet before dropping to 1000 feet between the 2 and 4 mile marks. From there it slowly climbs back to 2000 feet, passing by the Lynchburg Reservoir and ruins of homes owned by freed slaves after the Civil War before being evacuated in 1908. The hike is one way on the trail so a car drop is required. Roanoke-based hikers will meet the Charlottesville-based leader at the trailhead with details distributed after reservations close. Please RSVP at least 48 hours in advance. Note: Car shuttle required.

Rapidan Camp, 8 miles. Starting at Bootens Gap, we head north on the AT. We may continue to Milam Gap before descending to Rapidan Camp which was built for President Hoover as a get away from Washington. Then climb back to the AT to complete the circuit. Some stream crossings, which we have successfully made in winter. Directions: Take route 29 and 33 to Swift Run Gap, then head north about 10 miles to Bootens Gap parking on the right, just before milepost 55. Features: historic site

Reeds Gap on Blue Ridge Parkway/AT, 7.4 miles. Out-and-back hike on the Appalachian Trail to Hanging Rock. Elevation gain is 1050 ft. so it is a moderate hike.


Reeds Gap north on AT to Cedar Cliffs, moderate hike, 8.2 miles with approximately 500 ft of elevation gain. No water crossings to worry about.  Reeds Gap is 13.6 miles south of Rockfish Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Riprap Trail/Wildcat Ridge, 7-10 miles.  A hike to the Riprap swimming hole in the Southern District, Shenandoah National Park. This hike will be a 10-mile circuit or 7 miles with a car shuttle. We’ll go down Riprap Trail and up Wildcat Ridge. There’ll be a superb view of Shenandoah Valley from Chimney Rocks in the morning, and a few views in the afternoon. We’ll see a small waterfall, and we’ll do some stream crossings. Directions: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap; head north on Skyline Drive.  Features: views and waterfalls


Rip Rap Hollow/Wildcat Ridge circuit hike, 10 miles, 2030 feet elevation gain. We will start the hike outside of Shenandoah National Park at the Crimora trail head of the Rip Rap Trail.  We will follow the trail through Rip Rap Hollow, crossing several streams, then climb passing Calvary Rocks and Chimney Rock to arrive at the Appalachian Trail. We’ll follow the AT south then descend on Wildcat Ridge Trail back to the Rip Rap Trail.  It's an interesting hike with beautiful views along the ridge, clear pools and stream crossings in the hollow.

Riprap Hollow/AT, 9.5 miles. Circuit hike which descends into Riprap Hollow on the Riprap Trail, passing Calvary Rocks and Chimney Rock en route. It climbs out on Wildcat Ridge Trail then follows the Appalachian Trail north to the beginning of the circuit. Total elevation change is 2,030 feet. As for difficulty, a “moderate” hike. If all goes well, we’ll have lunch at a swimming hole down along Meadow Run! The hike is in the southern part of SNP, and the parking lot is at milepost 90 (Riprap Parking). Features: circuit hike and swimming


Rivanna Trail at Pen Park in Charlottesville, 6 to 7 miles.  An out and back hike, starting at the tennis courts and head north following Rivanna River.

Rivanna Trail at Pen Park in Charlottesville, 6 miles.  Starting from the tennis court parking lot in Pen Park we will descend to the river and follow the trail behind the Dunlora Fields, then a short walk up the Farm Road, then into the woods.   Trail is mostly flat following the river and wooded areas.

Road Hollow Trail/Shenandoah Mt. Trail/Jerry’s Run Trail/Ramsey’s Draft Trail, 9 miles. This hike will completely take place within the Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness area and involves numerous stream crossings and a pocket of old-growth forest (with enormous hemlocks, white pines and yellow poplar trees). The first part of the hike will necessitate a 2.5-mile steady uphill climb of 740 feet along the Road Hollow Trail. The remainder of the hike will either be relatively level or downhill. The hike will start and finish at the Mountain House Picnic Area. Directions: Take Interstate 64 West to I 81, then go North on I 81 to the Woodrow Wilson Parkway. Turn left onto the Parkway. Follow the parkway as it bypasses Staunton. The parkway will then end at Route 250 west of Staunton. Take Route 250 West towards Churchville. From Churchville, the parking lot for the Mountain House Picnic Area (Ramsey’s Wilderness Area) is another 15 miles west on Route 250. The parking lot is on the right hand side of the road.  Features: old growth forest

Robertson Mountain, 7-9 miles. We’ll walk about a mile on Weakley Hollow Fire Road (which is at end of Old Rag hike) and ascend either Corbin Hollow Trail or Robertson Mt. Trail; then descend the other. There’s an excellent view of Old Rag from Robertson Mt. Trail, which has a steep section. Estimated trail distance is about 7 miles, but there may be 0.9 miles each way from Old Rag parking area and about 2,000 feet of climbing. This hike will give another view of fire damage from fall of 2000. Warning: Some stream crossings, which have been average difficulty in the past. Directions: Take 29N to Madison, then Route 231 through Banco and Etlan. Turn west onto Route 602 (look for sign to Old Rag), which changes to 707, then Route 600 through Nethers, 3.5 miles from 231. We’ll park in the large Old Rag parking area. Individual entrance fee per person ($5) or current park pass is required. Features: view of Old Rag

Robinson Gap, 10 miles. Moderate in difficulty. Appalachian Trail north from Blue Ridge Parkway near Robinson Gap to US Route 60. Elevation descent: 1,000 feet; elevation gain: 1,500 ft. This hike will start between milepost 51 and 52 on a Blue Ridge Parkway parking lot. It will pass over Rice Mountain and go above the east bank of the Lynchburg Reservoir. There is also a stream near the end with a potential swimming hole. Note: requires car shuttle.  Directions: Take Route 29 South to the Route 60 Exit for Amherst. Go west on Route 60 to the Long Mountain Wayside ... this is where the AT crosses Route 60. From here we’ll do a car shuttle to the start of the hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Travel time from C'ville to trailhead: 1 1/2 to 2 hrs (this includes the travel required for the car shuttle).

Rockfish Gap/AT, 6-8 miles. Out-and-back hike heading south along the AT. (Since it’s an up-and-back route, that leaves the possibility of a longer hike for those so inclined.) Should be nice views of Rockfish Gap Valley. Warning: Several small stream crossings.


Rockfish Gap to Bear Den Mountain along the AT, Hike Leader Dan Ralston, 10 miles out-and-back with 1,500' elevation gain.  Bear Den Mountain is one of the southernmost summits accessible from the Skyline Drive. The summit is mostly clear and views in nearly every direction can be had by simply walking around a few steps. Oddly enough, someone has installed several old tractor seats very near the summit. The views from these seats are more obscured now than in the past due to forest reclaiming a portion of the open meadow, but it would make a fine place to eat lunch.  This will be an out-and-back hike starting outside of the SNP. 

Rockfish Valley Trail System, 6 miles, easy. We will begin at the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center and connect the Glenthorne Loop, Spruce Creek Park and Reid's Creek Loop, and Rockfish River Trail. These are flat, valley trails along meadow, creeks, and surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Wear a hat as it is an exposed area. This is a Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail with 25 bluebird boxes along the way. 

Rocky Mountain/Brown Mountain/Portal, 9.8 miles circuit or 6.2 miles. This out-and-back hike has a 2,100-foot elevation change. A shorter version would stop at Brown Mountain for 6 miles or earlier, with descents and ascents in both directions. Lunch is usually at the Portal, on the banks of Big Run, after 5.3 miles. On the return leg, we cross Big Run, then climb along Rocky Mt. Run Trail. This hike ends with a lot of climbing. Views of Shenandoah Valley, nearby mountains, and cliffs along Big Run are “extraordinary,” according to a guide book. Directions: Take 29 north to Ruckersville, then 33 west to Swift Run Gap. Turn right and head south 11 miles on Skyline Drive to Brown Mt. Overlook, just north of milepost 77. Features: views

Rocky Mountain Run/Big Run Portal Trail, 9 miles. This hike is in the south section of Shenandoah National Park. This hike starts from Brown Mountain Overlook, milepost 77, and ends at Big Run Overlook, milepost 81. Warnings: There will be numerous stream crossings along the Rocky Mountain Run & Big Run Portal Trails. Uphill climb required during the last mile of the hike. Directions: Take Interstate 64 West to Afton, get onto Skyline Drive heading north. All cars will be driven to Brown Mountain Overlook, milepost 77. 
Note: requires car shuttle. From there a car shuttle will be required back to Big Run Overlook.

Rocky Mtn - Brown Mtn 10.1 mile loop with 2100' elevation. South district, strenuous. Hike #21 in the PATC SNP Circuit Hikes book. This scenic but longish circuit brims with multiple highland overlooks and intimate stream-side scenery, all on a national-park scale. We'll start on the Brown Mountain Trail, passing over Rocky Mountain to meet the Shenandoah National Park's largest watercourse, Big Run, and then follow Big Run back into the high country.  Brown Mountain Trail emerges at a giant quartz outcrop at mile 1.6, where the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Brown Mountain stand across the gulf of the Rocky Mountain Run. Then switchback among pine and mountain laurel down the face of Brown Mountain while absorbing views of Rocky Mountain, Rockytop, Big Run, Massanutten Peak, and the Shenandoah Valley. Around mile 5 the white noise of Big Run, a classic Appalachian stream, will resonate from below. We'll pick up the Big Run Portal Trail, rock-hopping Big Run numerous times. We'll join Rocky Mountain Run Trail, stepping over the Rocky Mountain Run twice more as the trail steepens before returning to the Brown Mountain Trail. Then backtrack a half-mile to Skyline Drive and the parking area. Oh and did I mention you'll get to see 500 million year old fossil worm holes on the Brown Mountain rocks.

Rocky Mount/Gap Run Lariat, 9.8 miles - strenuous.  Skyline Drive mile 76.2 to park at the Two Mile Run overlook.  Rocky Mount is one of a few 9+ mile circuit hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park.  With three different ascents, the last being at the end of the hike, this 2,840 foot loop can feel longer and higher than it actually is.  The reward is the great panoramic view from the Rocky Mount summit.  There are a lot of stream crossings.

Rocky Mount, 7 Miles. The route follows a narrow ridge for most of the way to Rocky Mount, with good views from the summit. Elevation change is about 2,580 feet, and the descent from the summit of Rocky Mount to Gap Run Trail is rocky. The afternoon is mostly uphill (this sounds worse than it is) and includes retracing the first part of the hike. There will be some small stream crossings then descend to Gap Run, hook back up with the morning’s trail and ascend to Skyline Drive. Directions: Take Route 29 north and 33 west to Swift Run Gap, go south 11 miles to Twomile Run Overlook on right, MP 76. Features: views  

Rockytop from Browns Gap, 6-7 miles. Out-and-back hike starting at Browns Gap near milepost 83 along Skyline Drive. The route follows along a ridge with some ups and downs but not strenuous ones. Features: views

Rough Mountain Wilderness, 10.4 miles, very strenuous.  88 miles from Charlottesville.  This hike will explore the only established trail in the Rough Mountain Wilderness near Millboro.  The Crane Trail may have the most remote trailhead in the George Washington National Forest, requiring a 40 minute drive off pavement and a vehicular stream ford.  The trail is an out-and-back hike, ranging in elevation from 1250 to 2550 feet.  Bushwacking may be necessary.  Limited to 10 participants.

Saddleback Mountain on the AT, 5 miles. Less elevation gain than normal and hopefully some nice views. Lunch at a picnic table with an official PATC privy. Directions: Take route 29N to Ruckersville (about 14.1 miles), turn left on Route 33 west to Swift Run Gap, (about 14.7 miles). After passing through the entrance station, stop on Skyline Drive.

Saddle Gap/AT/Saltlog Gap Loop, 8 miles, ascent 1800 feet - strenuousA loop which is not found on any maps - yet.  Starting on Hercules Road (near where the A.T. crosses the James River), we will climb the Saddle Gap Trail to the A.T.  We will hike northbound on the Appalachian Trail to Saltlog Gap, then descend on the Saltlog Gap Trail, with occasional views of Fullers Rocks and the James River, through the Hercules Mine quarry and back to our cars.

Second Mountain Massanutten, 5.4 miles - 1100 feet elevation change.  This is an out and back of 2.7 miles for each trail: along Boone's Run and up Second Mountain to Kaylor Knob.  Bring along some clippers or loppers and we will cut back on some blueberries on the way back.  We will cool off at the waterhole near where we park our cars.  Directions: From Swift Run Gap on Route 33 go 11 miles to SR 602 on your right which is 0.2 miles before the entrance to Massanutten Resort.  Then 4.4 miles on SR 602 and turn left at Runckles Gap Rd.  Go 2.1 miles to FR 65 (Cub Run Road), park on shoulder of Cub Run after about 0.2 of a mile.  You will see the orange blazes.

Shenandoah Mt./Hardscrabble Knob/Ramseys Draft/Wild Oak Trail, 14 miles. There’s not much climbing, but there is a steep descent at the end. Note: car shuttle required. This hike offered magnificent scenery. It’s possible to do a shorter out-and-back version. It’s also possible to do the traditional Ramsey’s Draft hike (7 or 8 miles, with some fun unblazed trail navigating). Directions: Take I-64 west to I-81 and Staunton to Route 250 west. Pass through Churchville. Hike starts at top of Shenandoah Mt., 17 miles west of Churchville. Cars will be left at end of trail on route 715 past Braleys Pond.

Skyland To Thornton Gap, 9.5 miles. Starting from Skyland, this hike in the Central District of SNP takes us north along the AT. The route is up, over and around Stony Man Mt. (potential side trip to the top of Stony Man would add another mile to the distance), Little Stony Man, Pinnacle Mt. and Marys Rock. There are scenic views to the west at several points throughout the day. We’ll also pass through an area stricken by a wildfire a couple of years ago, so we can see how much of the forest has recovered. Lunch will probably be at the top or close to the top of Pinnacle Mt. Changes in elevation, basically up and down hiking, will be the order of the day, with the greatest uphill being 800 feet and the longest downhill being 1,300 feet.
Note: car shuttle required. Directions: From C'ville take Route 29 north to Madison and Route 231 north through Madison to Sperryville. Where Route 231 forks, go left into Sperryville, looking for signs for Route 211. Go west on Route 211 to Thornton Gap and the Skyline Drive. Travel south on Skyline Drive to the parking area for Panorama.  From Panorama we’ll shuttle cars to the start of the hike at Skyland. Features: views

Slaughters Trail to Bear Fence Mt., 9-10 miles. Out-and-back route, which features a 1,800-foot elevation gain. Directions: Take 29 North to 33 West to Stanardsville. In Stanardsville, go north on Route 230 for about 3 miles to Route 667. Go west on 667 about 7 miles to parking area.


Stephens Trail Hike and Kennedy Peak near Luray, VA, moderate 9.2 miles, elevation gain of 1,590 ft.  A circuit hike in the George Washington- Jefferson National Forest using the Stephens Trail, which is best in early spring before leaves start to bloom.  We will hike along the Massanutten Mountain ridge line and have a spectacular 360 degree view at the top of Kennedy Peak.  The tower at the top should provide a great spot for photos of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains.​ Hike will take about 5 hours.  Directions: I81 north to exit 279 to Rt. 675 toward Edinburg or go on 340 north towards Elkton - destination will be on left.  From Rockfish Gap travel time will be about 1.5 hours.

Soup hike in Greene County and Briarleigh Farm,  4 to 5 miles and 1 bowl
The annual short, relatively flat hike followed by soup at Briarleigh Farm! We will hike a mystery Greene Co location that most of you will have never been to before.  After the hike, we will return to Briarleigh Farm for soup. Bring carrots if you'd like to feed the horses and goats. They love the soup hike as much as you do. Bring beer or other if you like to drink that. An opportunity to possibly meet horse people in addition to hikers. Meet at AHS to carpool or call Iva (409-6203) for directions to the farm if that is closer for you.

South Fork Moormans River Road/Turk Branch Trail/Appalachian Trail, 9 miles. This hike starts just beyond the Sugar Hollow Reservoir. We’ll hike up the South Fork Moormans River Road, entailing several stream crossings including Moormans River at the beginning and end. An uphill climb on the Turk Branch Trail of around 1,500 feet will get us to the AT at Turk Gap. There’s a possible side trip to an overlook on the Turk Gap Trail (a great lunch break spot). We’ll then go south on the Appalachian Trail, with the climb at Sawmill Ridge Overlook the last significant climb of the day, until it intersects the Moormans River Road. We’ll then proceed downhill on the Moormans River Road for a long leisurely trip back to our starting point. We’ll pass the famous Blue Hole swimming hole.  Directions: Take Barracks Road - Route 654, to Garth Road - Route 614, after passing Whitehall stay straight on Route 614 into Sugar Hollow Road to the end, do not turn left on to Route 810. Features: circuit hike, stream crossing and swimming

South River Falls Loop, 5 miles. Hike with an elevation change of about 1,300’ leads us along the South River to an impressive waterfall that plunges deep into a canyon. When the park has experienced lots of rain, this waterfall hike is one of the nicest Shenandoah has to offer. Features: waterfalls


South River area two hikes, 10 mile circuit hike, moderate, 1800 feet elevation or 5 mile point to point, easy, 800 feet elevation. You will have two hike distance choices today, both in the SNP between Pocosin Cabin and South River Falls. We will not be heading to the falls, but hiking past the former mountain homes and adjoining cemeteries.  There are some downed limbs, so bring hand saws if convenient. The five mile point to point hike will begin at the Pocosin Fire Road, pass the Pocosin cabin, Upper Pocosin Mission ruins, to the Meadows/Taylor cemetery for a lunch stop. We will continue through the Rapidan Wildlife Management area on our way to the South River Falls picnic area on the South River Fire Road and AT.  The ten mile circuit hikers will begin at the South River Falls picnic area, take the AT and South River Fire Road through the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area to the cemetery, then to the Pocosin Cabin for lunch. We will return on the AT passing over Bald Face Mountain.  Directions: The trailhead can be reached by following Route 33 to Swift Run Gap. At the SNP entrance station, turn left (north) and follow Skyline Drive about 2.5 miles to the South River Falls picnic area on the right. The trail begins on the backside of the picnic area. Features: ruins.

Spy Rock to Crabtree Falls, 8 miles, strenuous - 1600’ climb, 2700’ descent.  This hike starts behind the Montebello Fish Hatchery and goes up Spy Rock Road (rock scramble required) to the AT then north along the AT for a scramble up Spy Rock. The group then continues north on the AT over Maintop Mountain to the popular Crabtree Meadows to Crabtree Farm Road and down the Crabtree Falls Trail for a total of about 8 miles.  The hike is one way on the trail so a short car drop is required (about 5 miles) with a $3 parking fee. Carpool fee is $7.00, including parking.  Note: car shuttle required.  Directions: South on 29 past Lovingston, then to 56. Stop at Crabtree Falls parking about 12 miles west of 151 to set up car shuttle. Features: views and waterfalls

St. Mary's River, 4 to 7 miles. This popular hike includes several stream crossings. Everyone will cover the 2 miles up St. Marys River Trail and the side trail to the falls. At that point, the 4-milers will retrace their steps while the others continue up St. Marys River following an abandoned, overgrown trail. We’ll be bushwhacking for 1.5 miles. Expect some stream crossings and slippery banks. We’ll emerge on the St. Marys River Trail above the Mine Bank Trail, and we’ll follow it back to the parking lot, a distance of 7 miles. Directions: From Cville, take I-64 west to exit 94 (Rt. 340). Take a left on 340 through Stuarts Draft. This road ends at Rt. 11. Go south on 11, left on 667, and left on 608. Go ½ mile. At Mt. Joy Presbyterian Church, make a right on Forest Development Road 41. Follow FDR 41 until it ends at the parking area. Warnings: Wading almost a certainty and river rocks are slippery. PLEASE BRING A SPARE PAIR OF SHOES IN WHICH TO WADE ACROSS THE RIVER. YOU NEED BOTH BOOTS FOR ROUGH TERRAIN AND WADING SHOES!


St. Mary’s Wilderness, 10.3 miles, strenuous. A reclaimed old iron ore mining area, St. Mary's Wilderness has an abundance of diverse scenery from waterfalls, fern forests, open meadows, valley vistas, and high mountain wetlands, in Virginia's largest designated wilderness area. No wonder it's one of the most popular circuit hikes in the northern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This will be a loop hike with many water crossings in the 2nd half. It is rocky and some of the streams can be deep. The trails are not blazed and hard to see, so we will need to stay together. Directions: 64 to Rockfish Gap, go So. On the Blue Ridge parkway. Go to milepost 23 and parking is on the Right, just past the Fork Overlook parking (we can park here and walk across the street if additional parking spaces are needed.)

Staunton River/Jones Mt. Trails, 8 miles. Out-and-back hike, which is in the Central District of the park. There’ll be good views from Bear Church Rock. Much of the route is level, but there’s one steep section, and the trail is obscure and rocky in places. Directions: Take Rt. 29 towards Madison, but get on Rt. 230 south of Madison to Wolftown, then follow Rt. 662. Features: views

Staunton River/Jones Mountain Trail, 11-12 miles - 2,500 foot plus climb, moderate to difficult. This is a circuit hike in the Central District of SNP. This is an ideal hike to do in cooler temperatures because of the distance and the lengthy uphill stretch that will basically cover the first 4.5 miles. We’ll start along the Staunton River Trail, which begins at the junction of the Staunton River and the Rapidan River in Madison County. The trail for the most part will parallel the Staunton River. Once we have reached a point called “The Sag,” the Staunton River Trail will end, and we will pick up the Jones Mountain Trail for the return part of the circuit. This trail predominantly follows a ridge line to Bear Church Rock, which boasts one of the most spectacular overlooks that exists within a remote region of SNP’s Central District. After passing Bear Church Rock, we’ll begin our descent back to the starting point. Directions: Take Route 29 North; turn left onto Route 230 West (this is approximately 2-3 miles south of Madison). Travel on Route 230 for about 4 miles to Wolftown, then turn right onto Route 662, traveling north. Take Route 662 for about 5.5 miles to Graves Mill. From here, follow Route 662 (which veers off to the right). Continue on Route 662 until it dead ends at the SNP boundary and a parking lot. Features: circuit hike and views

Sugar Hollow/Moorman's River, 5 miles. This will be a relatively easy, low impact hike. At about 5 miles and with a modest elevation change of only about 600 feet, we shouldn't be on the trail for more than 2 1/2 to 3 hours. We will start at Sugar Hollow and hike up the North Fork of Moorman's River and return. There are several water crossings on this hike. 


Three Ridges/Mau-Har Trail, 14 miles, strenuous. Hike begins along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Reeds Gap (elevation 2,700 feet), at about milepost 15. The hike will initially head south on the AT and up to the top of Three Ridges (elevation 3,970 feet). Following the crest of the Three Ridge summit, the AT will drop to intersect the Mau-Har Trail (elevation 1,900 feet). We’ll make our way back up to Reeds Gap by following Campbell Creek (which may or may not have water in it).

Three Ridges, 8 miles. 2100 feet climb for the day, in segments, majority on the morning. This out-and-back hike on the AT has spots to look down on the surrounding country. Lunch is usually on a rocky overlook of the Tye River Valley. Going to Three Ridges summit adds 1.6 miles and 300 feet climb to the hike. Stream crossings are minor. Directions: Go west on I-64 to rockfish Gap. Go South on Blue Ridge Parkway almost 14 miles to Reeds Gap, intersection with route 664.

Timber Ridge Trail to Wolf Ridge, 8 miles. Ascend Timber Ridge Trail, which is covered with healthy forest, and descend on scenic Wolf Ridge Trail, with a small stream crossing at the end. Directions: I-64 west to I-81 north. Take Woodrow Wilson Parkway exit and turn left onto parkway, following it to Rt. 250. Go west on Rt. 250 to Churchville, and turn right onto Rt. 42 going north. Go 5.4 miles; turn left onto Rt. 760 (Bunker Hill Road). Go 3.6 miles and turn left onto Rt. 747 (Freemason Run). At fork with Rt. 730, veer left and follow sign to Stokesville. This road will turn to gravel at North River Campground where we have started Grooms Ridge hike. Continue on gravel road for about 6 miles to the trailhead, which will be on the left-hand side of the road. Park vehicles along side of the road (Forest Service Road 101).

Torry Ridge/White Rock Falls, 6 miles.  This hike starts on the Parkway at Bald Mt. Overlook. We’ll walk up Forest Road 162, descend on Torry Ridge Trail (which has some rocky sections), then Slacks Trail to Slacks Overlook, White Rock Falls Trail and end up at White Rock Gap on Blue Ridge Parkway. Torry Ridge is a 0.5 mile hike along part of the Torry Ridge Trail, starting at Lake Sherando, climbing up the Blue Loop Trail to Lookout Rock, then taking the Torry Ridge Trail to Mount Torry Furnance.

Trail Maintenance on the AT, McCormick - Rockfish Gap. Priorities are correcting a few spots where water runs down the trail in heavy rain. If there are enough people, we will take a saw for a couple of blowdowns. For those willing to help, by carrying loppers, there are probably small branches and things heading into the trail corridor. And of course there are lots of invasive plants that could be pulled.


Trails Management Workshop, South District, Shenandoah National Park
The workshop starts at Loft Mountain Wayside, 9 a.m..Workshop topics include treadway maintenance (grading for drainage), tool maintenance (hand and power tools), trail maintenance (clearing logs, vegetation),. group management, reporting.
Overnight accommodation at J. Frank Schairer Trail Center near Eaton Hollow.

Trayfoot Mtn., 9.6 miles, 2,200’ climb. Circuit hike up Paine Run Trail, along the AT to Blackrock for a view of the Shenandoah Valley, over to Trayfoot Mtn. in the last major climb of the day, then downhill, past Buzzard Rock to the beginning. Most of the climb is in the morning. At least one stream crossing near the beginning. Directions: I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, 250 west into Waynesboro, then about 12 miles north on Route 340 to Route 778 just south of Harriston; turn right and go about 2 miles, then right (south) about a mile on 661 to parking area. South District, SNP. Features: circuit hike

Trayfoot Mt., 9.4 miles. Circuit hike starting from the Blackrock Gap parking area in the Southern District of Shenandoah National Park, between mileposts 87 and 88 of the Skyline Drive. We'll begin by climbing north on the Appalachian Trail to Blackrock Mountain with its excellent views. We'll then continue west to Trayfoot Mountain. After climbing south onto Trayfoot Mountain, the hike will descend a ridgeline to Paine Run. There are several good viewpoints along the ridgeline. The hike will finish with a slow climb along the Paine Run Trail. The total elevation change should be about 2,200 feet. Features: circuit hike and views

Turk Branch Loop/Turk Mountain, 10.4 miles, total 2400' elevation gain. The hike will begin at Jarman Gap parking area, near MP97 on the Skyline Drive. The Turk Branch Loop is an enjoyable, strenuous, scenic loop (elevation gain of 1200 ft) with a few views, some stream crossings including the Moormans River, and lots of forest. When we reach Turk Gap we will do an out-and-back 2 miles to the top of Turk Mountain and another 1200 ft gain with gorgeous views of the Shenandoah Valley. From here we will proceed on the Appalachian Trail 1.4 miles crossing the Skyline Drive stopping to enjoy the view at Sawmill Run Overlook continuing back to Jarman Gap parking area. Features: views

Turk Gap/Jones Run on the AT, 10 miles. This hike is along the AT starting at Mile Marker 94.2 in Shenandoah National Park. That is the Turk Gap parking area. We’ll hike north on the AT to Jones Run parking area, MM 84.  The trail is fairly gentle with short uphills, short downhills and nice views of Blackrock. Elevation change is about 1,200 feet with no uphill more than 700 feet at any one time.
Note: car shuttle required. Directions: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap. Go north in SNP to MM 84. Parking lot is on the east side.

Tye River to Three Ridges, 12.6 miles. This hike will start at the AT crossing of Route 56 and climb, climb, climb to the top of Three Ridges. Lunch will be at the top. The elevation change in each direction on this out-and-back hike will be ~3,000 feet but spread over the entire distance, slow but steady. Shorter hikes are possible by turning around earlier. Directions: Take US 29 south to Rt. 56, south of Lovingston. Follow 56 west about 15 to 20 miles until you reach the intersection with the AT (about 7 miles west of route 151, past Massies Mill and around 4 miles before Crabtree Falls).


Vining/Mutton Hollow tracts hike/work trip, about 5 miles. Come hike and do some easy trail maintenance on one of the PATC's hidden gems, the Vining and Mutton Hollow tracts.  Located next to the SNP, the two tracts contain about 1000 acres with over ten miles of great hiking trails and seven mountain cabins.  There will be a hike of about 5 miles to some of the highlights on the tracts: overlooks into Mutton Hollow, cemeteries, cliffs, springs, ruins and much more!

Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail,  4-7 miles.  A hike for ANYONE! Variable distance and swimming options.  We plan an easy ~7 mile walk in Amherst and Nelson Counties.  Hike can be made shorter or up to 14 miles as desired for faster hikers.  Follows the banks of the Piney River and Tye River along the path of an abandoned railway.  We'll cross five bridges including a covered bridge.  This trail is primarily crushed stone, half shade and half sun.  Lots of opportunities to swim in the rivers. Directions: From Charlottesville, take 250 West for about 20 miles.  Turn left onto State Route 151 just before Afton.  Drive State Route 151 south for about 25 miles to Piney River.  Look for parking lot and sign for Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail on left.

Walnut Creek, Albemarle Co, ~ 6.5 miles, easy.    
Walnut Creek Park voted Albemarle’s best park yet again!  We will park at the bathroom parking lot (for the ladies!!), and walk around the perimeter on Wilkins Way trail. 6.5 miles due to the location of where we will park. The trails have some slight elevation changes, so an easy hike. There are a couple stream crossings.  Bring hiking poles if you have them for stream crossings. Lunch either at the last stream or one of the picnic tables. 

Whetstone Ridge Trail, 12 miles one way, 2855 feet elevation gain, very strenuous with many views. The U.S. Forest Service managed trail runs directly along the spine of South Mountain and Whetstone Ridge with breathtaking views. We will drop cars off at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 29, Whetstone Visitors Center and Irish Creek Rd off of US Route 11.

White Oak Canyon, 6 miles. Out-and-back from lower parking lot to overlook of upper falls and return. One of the most popular hikes in the park because of the waterfalls, and swimming holes. This hike has more climb than usual for the distance, and hence the great sights. Directions: Take 29 north to Madison, 231 to Banco, left on 670 to Syria, turn onto SR 643 and follow Route 600 to the left. Individual entrance fee per person ($5) or current park pass is required.

Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run, 8-9 miles, strenuous. Circuit hike which goes through two of the deepest and steepest ravines in SNP, with considerable elevation change from top to bottom (2,100 - 2,300 ft up). Both canyons have views of waterfalls, cascades, and high cliffs. There is a great swimming hole after lunch along Cedar Run - with a built-in slide. White Oak Canyon is considered one of the scenic gems of the park, while Cedar Run has less flow with beautiful trees along the many small pools of the stream. This hike will either be 7.7 miles with a 2,270-foot elevation change or 9.1 miles with a 2,560-foot elevation change. Hike has waterfalls, hemlocks, stream crossings and the fabulous Cedar Run natural rock slide (so make sure your insurance is paid up and don’t wear fine apparel). Directions: Take 29 north to Madison, 231 to Banco, left on 670 to Syria, turn onto SR 643 and follow Route 600 to the left.  Individual entrance fee per person ($5) or current park pass is required. 
Features: circuit hike, waterfalls and swimming

Whiteoak Canyon loop, 7 miles. This hike is in the Central Section of SNP, with parking at Hawksbill Gap, milepost 45.6. We’ll take the Big Meadows horse trail then Whiteoak Road down to the uppermost falls, where we’ll have lunch. We’ll then ascend the Whiteoak Canyon Trail, cross Skyline Drive and take the AT south back to Hawksbill. Features: circuit hike


White Rock Falls, 5-6 miles.  A hike to White Rock Falls, which has a pool at the base although water flow is expected to be low. Starting from Slacks Overlook, we will take the Slacks Trail to White Rock Gap Trail, cross the Parkway and descend (possible stream crossing) before climbing to the falls area. After lunch, we will ascend back to the parkway. Climbing distance ( about 1000 feet) normal for this length hike. Directions: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, then go south on Blue Ridge Parkway almost 20 miles to Slacks Overlook (44 miles each way).

White Rock Falls/Sherando Lake Loop, 9.1 miles, 1700 ft. elevation.  We will start the hike at White Rock Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway climbing up to beautiful views of the White Rock Creek gorge.  We will then follow the Slacks Trail to the Torry Ridge Trail with views of Bald and Kelly Mountains.  We'll then climb back up to the BRP. 

White Rock Gap, 5.5 miles. A short hike option along White Rock Gap Trail to the Blue Ridge Parkway and back. We’ll park at Lake Sherando. 

Wintergreen hiking trails, 6 to 7 miles.
  We will begin on the Old Appalachian Trail which runs along the western ridge with views of Sherando Lake and the Shenandoah Valley then connecting with Upper Shamokin Falls Trail, Loggers Alley Trail, Chestnut Springs Trail, and returning on the Old Appalachian Trail.  We will stop for lunch along Shamokin Falls.  Options after the hike include enjoying the views at Blue Ridge Overlook or Founders Vision Overlook.


Wintergreen Trails , 5+ miles with option to add 3 more miles.  Great views, waterfall and stream, and some rocky areas. Fairly short, but moderate to strenuous in sections- 1000+ft elevation gain. Shuttle involved.  We will drop off cars at Blue Ridge Overlook and then start hike at lower elevation with the Loggers Alley and Chestnut Springs Trail, stopping at upper Shamokin Falls, and continuing our ascent on the Upper Shamokin Gorge Trail and Old Appalachian Trail.  We will have lunch at the amazing Blue Ridge Overlook.  Those wanting more hiking can continue on an out and back spur to Founders Vision Overlook with another great view. Meet at AHS at 9 am or Wintergreen entrance at 9:45 or so. 

Wintergreen area - AT loop on abandoned, old and current portions of the Appalachian Trail, Hike, 8.3 miles, 1600 elevation gain.  Compare our AT to our parents' AT. Well begin at Three Ridges Overlook (Blue Ridge Parkway MP 13) and hike northbound on an abandoned stretch of the AT climbing up to Wintergreen. There well meet up with the maintained portion of the Old AT and continue northward. This portion of the hike used to be the Appalachian Trail before Wintergreen was developed in the early 1970s. When we intersect the current AT beyond Wintergreen we’ll turn south on the trail that replaced our northbound route and head back to our starting point.


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Staunton River and Graves Mill Trails SNP, ~11 miles, ~2000 feet.  This hike will include Shenandoah's Staunton River Trail and Graves Mill Trail, along with some little used fire roads to make a loop hike in the eastern portion of the park, away from the crowds along the Skyline Drive. Along the way, we will search for signs of the devastating flood in June 1995 that altered these trails forever.

Mint Springs Park Trails, 5.2 miles, moderate.  We will hike a series of the trails connecting around the park including the Fire Trail, Big Survey Trail, Hollow Trail, Little Yellow Trail, Mountain Orchard Trail, Upper Lake Trail, Lake Trail and end at the Upper Lake to enjoy our lunch.  Please meet at AHS at 9 am or call hike leader, Marit Anderson, to meet at Mint Springs - 434-987-0266.
DIRECTIONS: Take Route 250 West; Turn right onto Route 240; Turn left onto Route 788 (Rail Road Avenue); Turn right onto Route 684 (Mint Springs Road); Turn left into Park.


Turk Branch, Turk Mountain and Moorman’s River Loop, 10.4 miles, 2400', strenuous.  If we are very lucky on our timing we will likely see a member of the lily family of flowers that usually blooms in late May and early June, the Eastern Turkeybeard.  The Eastern Turkeybeard is considered endangered and rare in most southeastern states.  The hike will begin at Jarman Gap parking area, just .3 mi. past MP97 on the Skyline Drive. The Turk Branch Loop is an enjoyable, strenuous, scenic loop (elevation gain of 1200 ft) with a few views, some stream crossings including the Moormans River, and lots of forest. When we reach Turk Gap we will do an out-and-back 2 miles to the top of Turk Mountain and another 1200 ft gain with gorgeous views of the Shenandoah Valley. From here we will proceed on the Appalachian Trail 1.4 miles crossing the Skyline Drive stopping to enjoy the view at Sawmill Run Overlook continuing back to Jarman Gap parking area. This is hike #29 in the PATC’s 2009 ‘circuit hikes’ book.

Rip Rap Hollow, 7.2 miles out and back. Hike will be starting at MP 90, Rip Rap parking area.  Follow the AT north to junction with the Rip Rap Trail, turn and follow blue blazed trail toward Calvary Rocks and on to Chimney Rocks with great views into the valley.  Continue on as trail parallels Meadow Run, crossing several times.  We will have lunch along the run at a large pool suitable for swimming depending upon the weather.  After lunch we will reverse our direction and return to Rip Rap parking.  We may be able to have an option to complete the entire 9.5 mile loop if we have a second hike leader available.

Petite's Gap to James River Foot Bridge on the AT, 10 miles, moderate to strenuous, shuttle hike or Petite's Gap Loop, 3 or 5.5 miles, moderate.  This is a beautiful section of the AT going through the James Face Wilderness Area.  Wildflowers will be abundant at the end of April.  We will start at Petite's Gap, avoiding the steep climb from the James River, but there will be a 2000+ feet descent at the end of the hike.  For the Petite's Gap Loop hike we will travel Petite's Gap Road for 1/2 mile to Sulphur Ridge Trail which is the old AT.  We meet up with the AT and hike a short distance to Marble Spring Shelter.  From here the group can decide to do the 5.5 mile hike on the Sulphur Springs Trail back down to Petite's Gap Road or the 3 mile hike by following the AT south over Highcock Knob back to Petite's Gap.

Wildflower Hike on MauHar Trail, 7.5 mile, moderate.  This hike is in Three Ridges Wilderness, mostly downhill.  Enjoy trilliums, waterfalls and rugged beauty, from Love Gap to Tye River.  Long shuttle.

South River Falls Loop wildflower hike, 5 miles.  Hike with an elevation change of about 1,300’ leads us along the South River to an impressive waterfall that plunges deep into a canyon. When the park has experienced lots of rain, this waterfall hike is one of the nicest Shenandoah has to offer.

Jones Cabin, up to 8 miles out and back. Join The Piedmont Environmental Council for a trip back in time to learn about the mountain culture of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. On the land of Graves Chapel, which was organized in 1885, this event will include tours of the Chapel building, family photo displays, memorabilia, oral histories, and a historical overview of the Graves Mill area. There will be a hike led by the Charlottesville Chapter of the PATC. Meet at Albemarle High School at 9. Web site:
http://pecva.org/events/madison-s-mountain-heritage-an-open-house-at-the-graves-chapel

Rip Rap/Wildcat loop, ~ 9.5 miles, strenuous. Riprap Hollow is one of the best circuit hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park. The views from Chimney Rock and along the ridge of Rocks Mountain offer great vistas to the west and north. The spring fed stream in Cold Spring and Riprap Hollow is very scenic and has a 50ft wide swimming hole fed by yet another mountain spring. We are going to park at the Wildcat Parking lot on Skyline drive MP 92 and walk down. We will have lunch along the water as we ascend Rip Rap trail or at one of the rock outcropping depending on the timing. 

Tick Hike - The Sequel, South River area SNP, Hike Leaders Iva Gillet and Bill Holman, 10 mile circuit hike, moderate, 1800 feet elevation or 5 mile point to point, easy, 800 feet elevation. It's that time of year when the bane of hikers returns to discourage one from enjoying the great outdoors during spring, TICKS! Don't let this little monster prevent you from going hiking by learning some simple tricks to reduce your exposure to them.  There will be handouts on how to deal with ticks and be sure to bring a spray bottle to be filled with the best tick repellent available for free. You will have two hike distance choices today, both in the SNP between Pocosin Cabin and South River Falls hiking past the former mountain homes and adjoining cemeteries. The five mile point to point hike will begin at the Pocosin Fire Road, pass the Pocosin cabin, Upper Pocosin Mission ruins, to the Meadows/Taylor cemetery. We will continue through the Rapidan Wildlife Management area on our way to the South River Falls picnic area on the South River Fire Road and AT.  The ten mile circuit hikers will begin at the South River Falls picnic area, take the AT and South River Fire Road through the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area to the cemetery, then to the Pocosin Cabin. We will return on the AT passing over Bald Face Mountain.  Directions: The trailhead can be reached by following Route 33 to Swift Run Gap. At the SNP entrance station, turn left (north) and follow Skyline Drive about 2.5 miles to the South River Falls picnic area on the right. The trail begins on the backside of the picnic area. 

Apple Orchard Falls circuit, 7 miles 1680 feet elevation.  This hike is one of the best circuit hikes I know.  The highlight of the trail is the 200 foot Apple Orchard Falls.  The return is on the lovely Cornelius Creek Trail, with 2.2 miles of cascading water.  There will be two stream crossings, so bring your water shoes.  A description of the hike can be found here:  http://www.hikingupward.com/JNF/AppleOrchardFalls/

Entry Run/Pocosin Mountain, ~ 7 miles. A mixed trail/bushwhack near several PATC cabins.  A short hike on a private trail leads to Entry Run Trail and all the other trails on Entry Run tract.  We pass by Johns Rest and Rosser Lamb cabins where nearby is the Lamb family cemetery.  Next we hike into SNP to explore ruins of the Upper Pocosin Mission (circa 1914) where we stop for lunch.  At this point the group can bushwhack around the mountain back to the cemetery or backtrack back to the starting point.

Geology Hike: Old Rag Fire Road/Indian Run Trail/Corbin Cabin in SNP, ~6 miles, 1400 ft - moderate. Learn the geologic history of the Shenandoah National Park area by seeing 4 different igneous or metamorphic formations, cascading streams and fabulous views of Old Rag. Our hike will start at the Skyland North Entrance Parking Lot, hike north on the AT, take a detour to the top of Stony Man, then go north to Corbin Cabin Parking and then descend the Corbin Cabin Cutoff Trail to Corbin Cabin. We'll explore a bit there around the cabin and along Hughes River as a rest break, then return up Nicholson Hollow Trail to the cars at Corbin Parking and/or Stony Man Overlook. Option to extend hike by 3 miles back south on the AT to Skyland for a loop vs. shuttle. Meet at AHS at 9 AM or Swift Run Entrance at 10:00.

St. Mary's Wilderness: Cellar Mountain/Cold Spring Trail Loop, 7.1 miles - strenuous. This is a wilderness loop over two trails that are now somewhat overgrown.  Bring hand clippers to this hike, and we'll leave the trails in better shape!  Start at the parking area for the Cellar Mountain Trail and climb steeply to near the summit of Cellar Mountain, with views into the St. Mary's Wilderness.  The Cellar Mountain Trail climbs from about 2000 feet to 3500 feet over the first two miles of the hike.  This trail ends at FR 162A, a high clearance forest road just outside of the wilderness, where it meets the Cold Spring Trail.  The Cold Spring Trail drops steeply at first, then more gradually into a lush and wet canyon.  The trail ends at a local landowner's property line, so the hike will bushwack within the wilderness boundary to a road, which we will walk 1.3 miles back to our cars.   Hike distance: 7.1 miles. Total ascent: 1500 feet.  Roanoke hikers can meet at the Daleville Park-and-Ride at 8 to carpool, then meet the Charlottesville-based hike leader at the parking area on FR 42 (Coal Road) about a mile north of the St. Mary's Falls Trail parking, a little after 9:00 AM.

Shenandoah Mountain/Camp Todd-Hiner Spring/Hardscrabble Knob-FR 95, 7.5 or 8.5 miles. 1900 foot gain.  If we go to the summit of Hardscrabble to see the old fire tower the hike will be 8.5 miles.  1600 ft. elevation gain or 1900 ft if you go to the top of Hardscrabble.   Short shuttle.  

Rose River Falls/Dark Hollow Falls/Lewis Falls, 9.3 miles, strenuous. A similar but shorter 5 to 7 miles hike will be offered. The Three Falls hike is a circuit that passes Rose River Falls, Dark Hollow Falls, and Lewis Spring Falls. These are three of the most beautiful falls in the SNP.This is one of my favorite hikes, and with all the water we have had the waterfalls should be spectacular. We may be too early to see many flowers, but this is a beautiful hike!! Promise you that! We can stop for ice cream/snacks at the wayside after the hike.  Note: Sorry, but no dogs are allowed on Dark Hollow Falls. Directions: Take Route 29N to Route 33 and 33 west to Skyline Drive, then head north to Big Meadows lodge, mile 51.5. About 43.5 miles, 1.25 hours travel time. Park at the Big Meadows wayside, follow the signs 0.9 miles for the picnic area and amphitheater. Park next to the amphitheater and trailhead. 38.53070, -78.43966

Lookout Mountain from Wild Oak Parking to North River Campground, 7.5 miles, 1,100' elevation gain - moderate. Views of North River Gorge and Shenandoah Mountain.  Requires shuttle. Meet at AHS at 9 AM or Wild Oak Parking at 10 AM. slynncameron@gmail.com,  (540) 234-6273.

South River Picnic Area from Swift Run Gap, 7 mile loop, 1500 feet elevation gain.  We’ll hike north on the AT and Saddleback Trail to the South River Picnic Area for lunch, then return on the AT. Winter is still with us so wear & bring appropriate clothing and gear including traction devices and poles.
 
Three-Ridges out-and-back on the AT, ~10 miles with ~2,300' elevation, strenuous.  We will start at Reeds Gap hiking south on the AT with the turnaround point to be determined based on the trail condition Saturday morning.  Meet at AHS at 9:00.

White Rock Tower Trail, 8-9 miles, ascent 2,870 feet - strenuous.  This trail starts on a road that accessed a former fire tower and now forms a boundary for the Rich Hole Wilderness, just off Interstate 64 west of Lexington.  The road climbs steeply at times before reaching a ridge top with views west of the Cowpasture Valley and Griffith Knob in the Rough Mountain Wilderness.  The trail follows the ridge for a while, ending at a point where the group can decide to follow the trail back to the parking lot or bushwhack a loop back to parking.  Roanoke hikers meet at Daleville Park-and-Ride at 8:00, and meet Charlottesville-based hike leader at trailhead at 9:00.  Details to follow for those signing up through meetup.com. 

Iva's Annual Soup Hike, Flattop Mountain, ~5 miles, 1500 foot climb.  Don't abandon your fitness goals - even if it may be one of the coldest days of the year so far. No need to stay inside! Let's go for a walk on some wide gravel roads near Flattop Mountain. Come burn some calories and then let's have lunch together. We will walk for a few hours and then head back to the warmth of the wood stove. Iva has homemade Chicken Chili, Beef Stew and vegetarian Vegetable soup for all to enjoy. Bring beverage preference.

Mary's Rock and the Pinnacle on the Appalachian Trail, 8 miles, 2000 feet elevation. Warm up your winter with some good climbs and experience views unsurpassed anywhere in Shenandoah National Park from Mary's Rock and the Pinnacle. 


Mary's Rock and the Pinnacle on the Appalachian Trail, 8 miles, 2000 feet elevation. Warm up your winter with some good climbs and experience views unsurpassed anywhere in Shenandoah National Park from Mary's Rock and the Pinnacle. 

James River Face Wilderness Loop Hike, 7.7 miles, ascent 1300 feet - moderate. This is one of the easier ascents to the James River Face Wilderness Area's highest points.  The hike starts on the Petite's Gap Road trailhead and ascends gradually using the Sulphur Spring Trail, passing arguably the best viewpoint in the entire wilderness before reaching the Appalachian Trail near the end of the Piney Ridge Trail.  The hike turns southbound on the Appalachian Trail, passing the site of the old Marble Springs Shelter, a shelter site on the A.T. dating back to 1933 before it was taken apart and rebuilt on Cove Mountain.  Just further south, we will turn off of the A.T. onto an unmarked trail that is the original A.T. alignment in this area, personally scouted by trail pioneer Myron Avery.  We hike back to the Petite's Gap Road and follow the road back 2 miles to our vehicles.    Roanoke hikers meet at Daleville Park-and-Ride at 8:30, and meet Charlottesville-based hike leader at trailhead at 9:30.  Date may be subject to change, to take advantage of optimal winter weather conditions.  Limited to 10 hikers due to wilderness regulations, though we could split into two groups if there is sufficient interest. 

Furnace Mountain from Blackrock Summit Parking, 7 miles.  We will start at Blackrock Summit parking, MP 85 and head down the AT to intersection of Austin Mountain Trail, then descend to the the Furnace Mountain trail.  Up to the summit for lunch and retrace our steps back to the parking area.

White Rocks Falls, 5.5 mile loop-1000 foot climb. We will welcome a new year of hikes with a short loop to White Rocks Falls to marvel at how the recent rains have refilled our waterfalls. We will start from the Slacks Overlook, hike a few miles before crossing the drive and descending to cross the White Rock Creek. Then a steep ascent to the base of the falls for lunch. This hike includes panoramic views and rushing water. Bring poles if you have them. Directions: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, then go south on Blue Ridge Parkway almost 20 miles to Slacks Overlook.

 July 30, Rapidan Camp from Milam Gap, MP 53, 7.6 miles, 1400' gain.  We will hike down the Mill Prong trail to Rapidan (aka Hoover) Camp wich includes  several easy stream crossings.  After time enough to explore the camp, we will head up Laurel Prong towards Cat Knob trail intersection where we will have lunch.  After  lunch we will follow the trail over the Appalachian Trail to hike north back to Milam Gap.  Meet at AHS at 9 AM.

North and South Sisters - Southern Shenandoah Mountain,  ~6 miles, about 1200' gain, moderate. This will be an out-and-back hike starting at the intersection of of the trail on Scotch Draft Rd SR 627. This is a beautiful remote hike past the biologically rich shale barrens of the two Sisters. We will do a little brush cutting on overgrown parts of the trail so bring loppers or clippers. Meet at TasteeFreez in Churchville at 9:00 AM, AHS at 8 AM or at the Rockfish Gap King's Popcorn stand at 8:30 to form carpools.

St. Mary's Wilderness Falls, 4 miles. This waterfall is worth the trek! Come for an adventurous trip to one of the most lovely waterfalls in our region. We will cross through the river 10 times, so wear shoes that can get wet. The trail is rugged, but fairly flat. Situated in a wilderness area, we will need to travel in groups of 10 or less. Wear clothing that can get wet if you want to jump into the deep pool to cool off.  Directions: From Cville, take I-64 west to exit 94 (Rt. 340). Take a left on 340 through Stuarts Draft. This road ends at Rt. 11. Go south on 11, left on 667, and left on 608. Go ½ mile. At Mt. Joy Presbyterian Church, make a right on Forest Development Road 41. Follow FDR 41 until it ends at the parking area.  You may want to bring a towel, sandals/ shoes for water crossings, and/or dry clothes for post hike refreshments. We will meet at AHS at 9 AM.

Rocky Mount/Gap Run Loop, 8 miles, 2000 ft ascent.  Unique hike with special permission to enjoy a more moderate version of the Rocky Mount/Gap Run hike, starting from Heartflame Garden with car pool to private property on Rt 628.  Rocky Mount is normally a 10+ mile 2800 ft ascent circuit hike in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park.  The rewards are great panoramic views at the Rocky Mount summit and a chance to review recent fire damage.  There are also several stream crossings. After the hike you are invited to enjoy the beauty of Heartflame Garden, the day lilies are at their peak.  Wine and other refreshments will be available. (650 Sandy Bottom Road, www.heartflamegarden.com ) Directions: Route 33 west past Swift Run Gap. left on Beldor Road , left on Sandy Bottom to 2nd driveway on right down to Heartflame Garden @ 650 Sandy Bottom Rd.
Bearwallow Trail in Laurel Fork, 5 miles roundtrip, easy.  This is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse areas in Virginia, with its spruce trees, beaver dams and ferns.  We can stop for dinner at Monterey on the way home.  Meet at Churchville TasteeFreez at 8:30 a.m..

Jones Run Trail/Doyles River Falls, 7 miles.  Starting from the parking lot just south of MP84 on Skyline Drive, we’ll head north on the Jones Run Trail descending about 1,000 feet from Skyline Drive to the junction with the Doyles River Trail. There we will ascend to the falls area for lunch. About 1/2 mile north of the Falls, we’ll turn south onto Browns Gap Road until it intersects the AT at Browns Gap, following the AT south back to the parking area. Directions: Entering park from south end at Afton Mtn.: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, north about 21 miles on Skyline Drive. Entering park at Swift Run Gap: Take 29 North to 33 West; check in at the Swift Run Gap entrance. Go south on Skyline drive for 17 miles to mile 83. Meet at 9:30 at Rockfish Gap.

Elliot Knob, 9.5 miles, moderate. The highest point in the GWNF and one of the highest peaks in Virginia.  With a short shuttle.  Meet at the Churchville Tastee-Freez at 9:00.  Hike from Route 688 (Dry Branch Gap) to the Knob and descend via Falls Hollow Trail.  Expect a few creek crossings.  There is at least one waterfall on this hike. This is one of our "pipeline hikes".  From Elliott Knob Fire Tower you will be able to see where the alternate Atlantic Coast Pipeline route would go through the Deerfield Valley. 

White Rock Gap/Torry Ridge Trail/Sherando Lake Loop, ~7.5 miles, fairly strenuous.  We will begin the hike on Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 18.5 (White Rock Gap parking area) descending on the White Rock Gap Trail, intersecting on the Slacks Trail, and making our way down to the Sherando Lake Recreation Area on the Torry Ridge Trail. Taking the Dam and Lakeside Trails we will proceed to the beach area for lunch and a swim.  There are restrooms if folks want to change into and out of swimsuits.  After the break we will hike through the park by the upper lake and dam, proceeding back up to the parkway on the White Rock Gap Trail.  Option after the hike to get refreshments either at Devils Backbone Brewery or Wild Wolf Brewery in Nellysford. Meet at AHS at 9:00 am for carpools or at White Rock Gap parking area at 10:00 am.  Please call Marit Anderson (434-987-0266) to confirm meeting at White Rock Gap.

Kaylor Knob, 5.5 miles. This hike has a good swimming hole. Light trail maintenance, so bring loppers or clippers. Meet at Elkton Food Lion parking lot, Route 33 at 9:30. Call or email to confirm attendance: sethmj@jmu.edu or (540) 438-1301.

Seneca Creek Trail - Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, WVa, 8 to 10 miles out and back, moderate. This trail follows Seneca Creek, a fast-flowing, spring-fed mountain stream whose clean, crystal water can be heard and seen nearly everywhere along the trail. From the trailhead, you'll immediately pass through meadows and spruce groves. A few miles in, you will encounter hardwoods. Multiple creek crossings dot this trail, and there are no footbridges, so come prepared to get your feet wet and bring water shoes. Please be sure to wear long pants and shirt as there may be briars along the trail. Meet at Spruce Knob Lake Campground at 10 am. 
Spruce Knob Lake Campground website: www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mnf/null/recarea/?recid=7005&actid=33

Lower Nicholson Hollow to Corbin Cabin, Hike, 9 miles, 1400 feet ascent. Out-and-back moderate hike along the lower Nicholson Hollow Trail next to the beautiful Hughes River up to Corbin Cabin for lunch. We will enjoy a visit inside historic Corbin Cabin built in 1909 using chestnut logs. Stream crossing are projected to be easy with no wading expected based on recent pre-hike. Directions: Take 29 north to Madison, then 231 through Banco and Etlan to Route 602 and follow 707 through Nethers. Park in the lower Old Rag Weakley Hollow parking lot.

Rocky Mtn/Brown Mtn, 10.1 mile loop with 2100' elevation, strenuous.  Hike #21 in the PATC SNP Circuit Hikes book. This scenic but longish circuit brims with multiple highland overlooks and intimate stream-side scenery, all on a national-park scale. We'll start on the Brown Mountain Trail, passing over Rocky Mountain to meet the Shenandoah National Park's largest watercourse, Big Run, and then follow Big Run back into the high country.  Brown Mountain Trail emerges at a giant quartz outcrop at mile 1.6, where the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Brown Mountain stand across the gulf of the Rocky Mountain Run. Then switchback among pine and mountain laurel down the face of Brown Mountain while absorbing views of Rocky Mountain, Rockytop, Big Run, Massanutten Peak, and the Shenandoah Valley. Around mile 5 the white noise of Big Run, a classic Appalachian stream, will resonate from below. We'll pick up the Big Run Portal Trail, rock-hopping Big Run numerous times. We'll join Rocky Mountain Run Trail, stepping over the Rocky Mountain Run twice more as the trail steepens before returning to the Brown Mountain Trail. Then backtrack a half-mile to Skyline Drive and the parking area. Oh and did I mention you'll get to see 500 million year old fossil worm holes on the Brown Mountain rocks!  I would suggest that you bring hiking poles and extra socks as there will be numerous stream crossings.


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PATC Charlottesville Chapter Holiday Potluck and White Elephant Gift Exchange, Dunlodge Cabin
 
Dunlodge - 390 Kearney Lane, Charlottesville
Please bring a dish/drinks to share (and BYOB)

If you want to play in  the White Elephant gift exchange, please bring a gift wrapped in a box no smaller than a shoebox.
The gift should not cost more than $15, but it need not be new (here's your chance to re-gift!).
 
All are welcome- bring family and friends

Come experience the Dunlodge Beer Garden! 

  NO RSVP REQUIRED
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Limited parking at Dunlodge, parking at Zehmer Hall, Midmont Lane adjacent to the house.

Directions: From Ivy Road (Rt 250)  Turn onto ALDERMAN ROAD for 0.3 miles.  Turn right onto MIDMONT LANE before Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church at sign for Zehmer Hall. Park at Zehmer Hall at the far end of the lot.  Walk onto gravel road.  A wooden gate with PATC is on the LEFT just after the right turn.  Welcome to Dunlodge! 

Austin Mt., 8.2 miles. This hike is in the Southern District, SNP. The trail is steep and rocky in the beginning, followed by less challenging ascent along ridges, then down the Madison Fire Road.  Trekking poles are advised for the rocky areas. Directions: Take I-64 west to Rockfish Gap, 250 west to Waynesboro, then go north on 340. At Grottoes, turn right on 663 and travel to the end of the pavement.​

Rocky Mount, 6.8 miles, 1800 feet. Hike begins at Skyline Drive MP 76.1  We will hike the Rocky Mount Trail to Rocky Mount and back.

Little Devils Stairs Figure 8, 10 miles, elevation ranges from 1200 to 3400 feet, strenuous. Loop hike in the Northern District of Shenandoah National Park.  Ascend Little Devils Stairs from outside the park near Sperryville, then climb the Sugarloaf Trail to the Appalachian Trail.  Head north on the A.T. to the Keyser Run Fire Road, which we will descend back to the trailhead. 

Rapidan Camp, (Reverse PATC Circuit Hike #17), 7.7 miles 1200 feet ascent, moderate. After Thanksgiving hike to help burn off extra calories. Starting at Milam Gap, we head south on the AT and connect to the Laurel Prong Trail. We will descend to Rapidan Camp, which was built for President Hoover, as a get away from Washington, for lunch and local exploring. Then we will climb the Mill Prong trail back to Milam Gap to complete the circuit. Three stream crossings are expected to be easy. Bring lunch, water, and trekking poles. Those interested may stop on the way back and enjoy refreshments at a new restaurant in Ruckersville. Directions: Take Rte 29 north and then Rte 33 west to Swift Run Gap, then head north on Syline drive about 10 miles to Milam Gap parking on the left MP 52.6.

Vining Tract Work Trip and Hike. Join us for trail maintenance work and hike at the Vining Tract in Greene County. We will cut vegetation, grade trail where needed, paint blazes and more on Mattie's Run Loop.  After we will hike around the Vining Tract and cabins - mileage depends on how much energy we have left after trail work. Option is to camp the night before at the Vining Tract - Butternut Cabin and surrounding area.  Remember to wear work clothes, work gloves, and bring water and food.

Stony Man-AT-Corbin Cabin in SNP,  7 miles, moderate with shuttle, 2,000 ft. elev drop, then gain 1,200 ft.  Learn the geologic history of SNP; see several geologic formations, cascading streams and more.  Begin at Skyland North, hike north on AT with a side trip to Stony Man summit, then north to Nicholson Hollow Trail, descend to Corbin Cabin and return to Skyline Drive via Corbin Cabin Cutoff Trail.  Good views of Old Rag.

Riprap Hollow/Wildcat Ridge Circuit Hike, 9.5 miles, 2225 feet elevation.  Beautiful clear pools, waterfalls and outstanding views from Wildcat Ridge make this an outstanding circuit hike in Shenandoah National Park.  Come prepared for stream crossings.

The Priest, 8.5 miles – 3,100 feet elevation gain, strenuous. The Priest is located in The Priest Wilderness south-west of Charlottesville. The Appalachian Trail runs through the wilderness and it is by way of the AT that one can reach the 4,063 ft. summit of The Priest. The trailhead is located in a valley by the Tye River at about 1,000 ft. in elevation, possibly making this the highest elevation gain of any hike in Virginia at around 3,100 feet.  The 4 mile trail leading to the summit is well maintained with only a few short rocky stretches. Other than that the trail is generally smooth with a constant gradual climb and no real steep sections until the last quarter mile. Plenty of switchbacks and a couple stream crossings make this hike up the mountain an interesting one. The summit is covered with trees. However, there is a very nice spot just past the summit that provides excellent views of the Shenandoah Valley which is where we will have lunch. I suggest that you bring hiking poles to assist with the stream crossings and the long downhill return trip to save your knees. The trailhead and parking area is located on Rt. 56 where the AT crosses the road.  You can reach the trail head several ways but the two ways I have found the easiest are to either take 29 South then just past Lovingston turn right onto 56.  Or take 151 off 64 West driving through Nellys Ford and turn onto 56 from 151.  Both take about the same amount of time (~1 hr. 20 min.) although the 29 to 56 route has fewer curves and a constant speed.  Be careful not to run past the trailhead on Rt. 56 as the sign is easily missed.

Big Devil Gorge, An Adventure Hike. Starting from Gravel Springs Gap in SNP (~mp17.5) we'll hike north on the Bluff Trail to the Big Devil Stairs Trail where we'll descend along the rim of the gorge with spectacular views (watch the edge!) to the park boundary. We'll then attempt to return to the Bluff Trail climbing 1100 feet up the long ago abandoned trail through the bottom of the gorge.What we'll find will be a surprise. Be prepared for water, rock scrambling,downed trees, unknown flora and fauna. This will be a strenuous, slippery hike, most likely so trekking poles recommended.  Water shoes may also be helpful.  Bring lunch and water, we may stop on the way back at a restaurant in Sperryville or Madison.

Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run Trail, 11 miles with 1700 feet ascent, moderately strenuous. Adventure trek in Northern Section of Shenandoah National Park. We will begin at milepost 28.5  Beahms Gap Overlook, and connect with the AT north to the Neighbor Mtn trail. We will hike along the Neighbor Mtn Ridge for several miles followed by steep descent to Jeremy’s Run.  The 5 mile climb up Jeremy's Run Trail is gentle but includes 14 stream crossings ending at Elkwallow Wayside. Wear appropriate footwear for hiking and stream crossings. Trekking poles are also  recommended. Directions:  29N, thru Madison to the Thornton Gap entrance to ~Beahms Gap Overlook MP 28.5.

Potluck at Dunlodge Join us for a PATC Fall Open House Potluck with fellow outdoor enthusiasts

* Come learn more about the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Charlottesville Chapter
* Socialize with trail maintainers, hike leaders and fellow hikers
* Visit a modern PATC cabin
* Bring a potluck item to share for dinner*


                                       NO RSVP required

*Questions? Feel free to contact Iva Gillet at: ivakayak@gmail.com

*Limited parking at Dunlodge, lots of parking at Zehmer Hall, Midmont Lane adjacent to the house.

Address:
390 Kearney Lane, Charlottesville
Directions: From Ivy Road (Rt. 250) - Turn onto ALDERMAN ROAD for 0.3 miles.  Turn right onto MIDMONT LANE before Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church at sign for Zehmer Hall.  Zehmer Hall parking around right turn and park at far end of lot (right side of Zehmer Hall).  Walk onto St. Anne's Road (gravel road) to a wooden gate on the LEFT with a PATC sign.  Welcome to Dunlodge!
http://www.patc.net/PATC/Cabins/Individual_Cabins/Dunlodge.aspx

Spy Rock Moonlight Hike, 3.5 miles - 1000 feet elevation or 7.5  miles - 2000 feet. To celebrate the full moon, we will offer 2 options to hike to Spy Rock. A longer hike will be up to Spy Rock, first traveling south along the old  AT, then back north on the current AT starting from the Montebello Trout Hatchery. A shorter hike of 3.5 mile up and back from the Montebello Trout Hatchery to Spy Rock. 

Dickey Ridge Trail, 9.2 miles.  Shuttle hike on the northernmost trail in Shenandoah National Park.  Starting at Lands Run Gap at MP 9 on the Skyline Drive, the trail has two moderate climbs before descending 1500 feet over 5 miles to a parking area at the northern edge of the Skyline Drive where it meets U.S. 340 at Front Royal. 

Moormans River (Blackrock Gap to Jarman Gap), 10 miles, 1000 feet ascent.  Shuttle hike the complete Moormans River North to South starting at Blackrock Gap and ending at Jarman Gap. Hike is rated strenuous based on total hike distance and up to 20 stream crossings. Hiking poles and non gore-tex trail running  shoes or water hiking shoes are recommended. Plan to get your feet wet.  We may need to “ford” the river in a few places, depending on water level. This hike has a rather modest ascent and generally good trail condition (not rocky for most of hike).

North and South Sisters - Southern Shenandoah Mountain, approximately 6 miles.  This will be and out-and-back hike starting at the intersection of of the trail on Scotch Draft Rd SR 627. This is a beautiful remote hike past the biologically rich shale barrens of the two Sisters.

Apple Orchard Falls circuit hike, 5.6 miles, 1680 elevation gain.  One of the most beautiful circuit hikes in our area, it includes the lovely Apple Orchard Falls and lots of swimming holes along the Cornelius Creek Trail.  Bring water shoes as there will be two stream crossings.  A description of the hike and where to find the trail head is included in this http://www.hikingupward.com/JNF/AppleOrchardFalls/

Blackrock Gap to Blackrock, Trayfoot Mountain and Paine Run, about 10 miles, over 2000 feet elevation gain.  In August 1986, Rita Wyatt-Beard held a meeting to which local members of PATC were invited. Instead of an empty room, there were enough people for her to declare the formation of the Charlottesville Chapter of PATC. In September, vice-president Howard Parsons led the chapter's first hike, a circuit from Blackrock Gap to Blackrock, Trayfoot Mountain and Paine Run.  She would be pleased to know that her stated plan of an outing every Saturday has continued. In accordance with tradition, the last leg of the hike will be up Paine Run, which may require wading if there is a lot of rain. South District, SNP. From Rockfish Gap, go about 0.5 miles beyond milepost 88 on Skyline Drive.

Emerald Pond in Massanutten,  11 miles (a shorter option is possible).  The highlight is a great pond to swim in.

Old Stoney Creek Trail and Rockfish Valley Trail,  6+ miles. Old Stoney Creek/Lower Shamokin Falls Trail. We will begin at Wintergreen Resort's Lower Shamokin Falls trail on Old Stoney Creek Road ascending Old Stoney Creek to the lower falls and possibly middle falls.  The trail will vary from a fire road to a steep ascent at the end.  Trekking poles advised due to numerous stream crossings.  Beautiful 4 mile out and back hike.  Then we will drive to the Rockfish Valley Trailhead, either on Rt 151 or at Glenthorne Loop and do a flat out and back trail along the Rockfish River and/or Reid's Creek.  1-3 miles depending on starting point. 

Big Run Loop, 7 miles, 1600 feet of elevation gain, moderate.  Starting from Browns gap, following the AT north to Doyles River parking.  Cross Skyline Drive and head down the Big Run Loop trail all the way around until it intersects with the Rocky Top and Madison Run Spur trails.  Then follow the spur trail to Madison Run Road and on through to Browns Gap.

Appalachian Trail from Punchbowl to Fullers Rocks, then Rocky Row Trail to James River, 10 miles, elevation ranges from 1500 to 2500 feet, moderate.  Check out a beautiful section of the Appalachian Trail, ascending from the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 51.7 (elevation 2150 feet) to Bluff Mountain (elevation 3400 feet) over the first 2 miles of the hike, then slowly descend to 1200 feet via the A.T. and the Rocky Row Trail. Views from Fullers Rocks are doubtless among the top dozen A.T. views in Virginia. 

Dobie Mountain,  6.8 miles, 1500 feet elevation gain. A hike to the Glass Hollow Overlook and the beautiful Paul Wolfe Shelter.  This hike includes the Allbright Loop Trail and the Appalachian Trail. 


Ragged Mt. Trails, 6-8 miles. The Ragged Mountain Natural Area near Charlottesville, Virginia, is a beautiful 980-acre forest of mature oak, hickory, poplar, pine, and maple trees with a lake that serves as part of the community water supply, and more than four miles of shoreline. Seven miles of trail lead through majestic forest, along rugged terrain, and through areas rich with wildlife and offer a unique opportunity for wilderness hiking within minutes of town​. 

Chimney Hollow Trail, 6.8 miles out and back, moderate. This hike combines walking through a very pretty ravine with only a few minor stream crossings and climbs to beautiful views.  We will hike to the intersection of Crawford Knob Trail and return. The trail head for this hike is on Rt. 250 west of Staunton.


Spotswood Trail/Big Bend Fire Road, Shenandoah National Park, 5-6 miles, moderate.  It is bushwhacking season! This is a “controlled bushwhack” on abandoned roads in the National Park. The group will explore parts of the National Park that have gone virtually unnoticed for 80-100 years, including an old fire road, an abandoned car, old home and school sites, and the original route to Swift Run Gap from Standardsville - built in the mid-1800’s and superseded in the 1920’s – not on maps for at least the past 50 years but still in beautiful shape. Expect some overgrown sections, so we will be bringing light trail maintenance tools.


Old Rag Saddle Trail retrace, moderately strenuous 6.0 mile hike with 1900 feet ascent. A moderate hike up Old Rag in Central Section of Shenandoah National Park. We will start the hike at the Berry Hollow Old Rag parking lot and hike up the fire road to the Old Rag Saddle Trial and follow this trail to the Old Rag Summit. This avoids the more difficult rock scramble by not using the Old Rag Peak Trail. We will have lunch at the Old Rag Summit and then retrace back to parking lot at Berry Hollow. Overall this “moderately strenuous” hike is 6.0 miles long with 1900 feet of ascent. Directions: take Rte 29 north to Madison; then Rte 231 north ; at Banco bear left on Rte 670; at Syria right on Rte 643; then left on Rte 600; to the end of road at Berry Hollow parking.

Jarman Gap to McCormick Gap AT  in SNP from a different approach, 6-8 miles, moderate. We will come up to trail head from a different approach off Jarman's Gap Rd - Rt. 611 near Crozet. We will hike on the AT south out and back either going to tower complex on Bear Den Mountain (6 miles) or to McCormick Gap (8 miles).

Whiteoak Canyon Trail retrace, 6.2 mile hike with 1700 feet ascent, moderately strenuous. A moderate hike up Whiteoak Canyon in Central Section of Shenandoah National Park. We will hike up the Whiteoak Canyon trail to the upper falls and retrace back to parking lot. Overall this hike is 6.2 miles long with 1700 feet of ascent, 900 feet is steep and upper half of trail is very rocky. Trekking poles are recommended and micro-spikes may be needed. Directions: take Rte 29 north to Madison; then Rte 231 north; at Banco bear left on Rte 670; at Syria right on Rte 643; then left on Rte 600 and continue to White Oak Canyon parking lot.  

Iva's Annual Soup Hike - SNP near Hightop Mountain, 3 to 4 miles, easy.  Get out of the house for a short hike followed by a soup lunch with active friends at Iva's farm. Meet at AHS at 9 AM or Briarleigh Farm at 9:30 AM to form carpools. Phone number at farm: 985-9854 (cell doesn't work).

AT from Reids Gap to Dripping Rock Parking, about 5-6 miles, easy/moderate.   If the Parkway is closed, hike will be 3 miles in and back out.

Cat Knob - The SAG, Rapidan Camp, 7.5 mile hike with 1500 feet ascent, moderately strenuous. A combination of great winter ridge views and possible frozen waterfall hike in the Central Section of Shenandoah National Park. We will meet at Milam Gap and setup a shuttle to Bootens Gap, then head north on the AT and connect to the Laurel Prong Trail. We will climb to the top of Cat Knob and connect with the Jones Mtn trail. We will then climb the SAG and descend to Rapidan Camp, which was built for President Hoover, as a get away from Washington. Then we will climb the Mill Prong trail back to Milam Gap to complete the hike. Four stream crossings which are expected to be easy. Directions: Take Rte 29 north and then Rte 33 west to Swift Run Gap, then head north on Skyline drive about 10 miles to Milam Gap parking on the left MP 52.6.

Douthat State Park trails, 8-10 miles, elevation ranges from 1500 to 2500 feet, moderate.  Explore trails in Virginia’s best state park!  Exact routes to be determined, but we will get some 5 star views.


Chimney Hollow, Crawford Mountain Trails Shuttle, 6.1 miles, moderately difficult. This is a lovely hike with a couple of stream crossings then climbing to nice views of Hankey Mountain.   The hike is west of Churchville on Rt. 250 a few miles before Mountain House and Ramsey's Draft Wilderness Area. 


Lower Mt Marshall - Jordan River trail retrace, moderately easy 6.5 mile hike with 1200 feet ascent. This is a moderately easy 6.5 mile retrace hike located in the Northern District of the Shenandoah National Park. We will start at the PATC Horwitz Cabin at the end of Rte 625 near Little Washington. We will hike north lower Mt Marshall trail and connect to the Jordan River trail. We will hike to the end of the Jordan River trail and retrace back to the Horwitz Cabin. Directions: From Albemarle Square, head north on Rte 29 to Madison, then left on Rte 231 to left on Rte 522.  In Sperryville turn right on Rte 211/522 and continue north to Washington VA. Turn left on Rte 628, then left on Rte 622 and then right on Rte 625 to parking area at end of road.

Big Portal/Brown Mountain Loop, 10.4 miles, 2500 foot ascent.  Explore some of the areas burned in last year's Shenandoah National Park fire and hike in some of the Park's most remote areas.  Starting from the Skyline Drive, we will loop down to Big Run before climbing Brown Mountain. Map: Link. Photos from shortly after the fire, which I would try to recreate:  Link. 

Elliott Knob from a different point of view, 11.5 miles, elevation ranges from 1650 to 4450 feet, strenuous.  Explore some trails never before hiked by a PATC group before scaling Elliott Knob - the highest point in the George Washington NF with awesome views! Special permission obtained to hike on private lands.  If you want a hike you've never done before, this hike is for you! We will use a car shuttle to cut down on the mileage from the original route, but there is still a lot of climbing on this hike and the final kick to the Knob summit is always tough.

Appalachian Trail, Reid's Gap to Hanging Rock out and back, 7.4 miles, 1040 feet elevation. This is a beautiful hike with one of the best views on the AT from Hanging Rock.  We'll stop at Maupin Field Shelter on the way.


March 25, Piney Ridge, Piney Branch Loop, Hike leader Gabriel Garretson, moderate 7.8 mile hike with 1700 feet ascent. Charlottesville PATC will do a moderate loop hike down the Piney Ridge trail and up the Piney Branch trail in the Northern Section of the Shenandoah National Park. We will hike a portion of the AT and also visit the PATC Range View Cabin. There are 3 steam crossings on this hike that are expected to be moderate, but an extra pair of socks are suggested. Most of the Piney Ridge trail is great walking on smooth dirt surface covered with pine needles. Trekking poles are recommended. Bring your lunch and camera and enjoy a great early hike. Please form carpools at Albemarle Square parking lot between Fresh Market and Sun Trust Bank near intersection of Rte 29 and Rio Road at 9:00 am. (not AHS). I will join the group at the MP 22.1 parking lot (just north of Mathews Arm Campground entry) about 10:15am. Well trained pets on leash are allowed. Link to PATC meetup site:  https://www.meetup.com/PATCEvents/events/238056691/  Carpool Directions: take Rte 29 north to Madison; then Rte 231 north ; then left on Rte 522 to Sperryville, left on Rte 211 to Thornton Gap SNP entrance; then left on Skyline Drive to parking lot at MP22.1 across from Mathews Arm Campground entrance.


April 5, Wednesday, Joint hike with Old Dominion ATC to Fortune's Cove, Hike leaders Barbara Martin and Howard Davis, 5.5 miles, 1500 feet elevation. We will be hiking in the Nature Conservancy’s 29,000 acre Fortune’s Cove Preserve which is located south of Charlottesville near Lovingston, VA. The Preserve’s trail provides a challenging hike with stunning mountain vistas.  Meet at 9 am at King's Popcorn Stand at Rockfish Gap or at 9:45 am at the trail head.  http://www.hikingupward.com/ovh/fortunescove/


April 8, Rip Rap combination hike and work trip, Hike Leader Lindsay Brown, about 9 miles, moderate. We will start at Rip Rap parking area, MP 90 and take lopping shears, hand clippers, etc to cut back some vegetation on approximately one mile of the AT south of the parking area.  This should take 1-2 hours depending on the number of hikers.  We will then hike back to the parking area, drop off tools and head out on the AT north to the Rip Rap trail.  We will hike past Calvary Rocks and Chimney Rocks and stop for a late lunch near the large pool on Meadow Run.  After lunch we will hike back to the start point.  Total distance for this out and back adventure about 9 miles including the lopping and hiking.  So put off your tax preparation for one more week and join us.  Please bring tools for cutting vegetation, loppers or hand clippers and work gloves. Meet at AHS at 9am.

Hightop Mtn/Vining Tract bushwhack, Co-Hike Leaders Mark Walkup, Iva Gillet and Bill Holman, under 4 miles, almost all down hill.  Come join a hike with a great view, a recently rediscovered cemetery and old home site plus the cabins in the Vining Tract.  We will start the hike at Hightop Mtn parking lot in SNP and follow the AT uphill toward High Top for 1/2 mile.  From there we start our bushwhack down the southeast ridge of Hightop Mtn toward the PATC’s Vining Tract. Along the way we stop at a cliff that offers a delightful view to the east, a cemetery, and an old home site before connecting to the trail system in the Vining Tract.  Side trips can be made for those who would like to see some of the rental cabins in the Vining Tract.  We end in the Vining Tract parking lot at the end of Goose Pond Road.  A shuttle will be setup for this point to point hike.  Since this is a bushwhack please wear clothes you don’t mind getting torn up and tick protection. 

Pete's Cave, North Mountain Trail, Hike Leader Barbara Martin, 7 miles, moderate. Beautiful views with unique and beautiful rock formations on this very interesting hike in Rockbridge County.  Pot luck after the hike at Andre Meyer's home, 15 minutes from trail head.  Meet at 9 am at King's Popcorn, Rockfish Gap.  The trail head is about 1 hour from Rockfish Gap.






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