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Praha4
02-25-2014, 11:18
If you were to select a 5-6 day section hike in early April for a newbie in VA, which of these hikes would be best for a newbie who hasn't backpacked since the 70's but is in decent shape otherwise? Estimate 8-12 miles per day.

a. Grayson Highlands/Mt Rogers: Damascus to Grayson Highlands SP, plus Scales Loop trail, maybe another loop trail, approx 46 miles

b. VA-42 to US-220/Daleville: (keffer oak, Audie Murphy memorial, Dragons Tooth, McAfees Know, Tinker cliffs) approx 52 miles

c. Buena Vista (Hwy-60) to Rockfish Gap/ Wayensboro, approx 55 miles

d. Any 50-55 mile section north of Waynesboro in SNP.

Open to comments, etc. regarding relative difficulty of each section, places to stage 2 vehicles also is a factor.

tia for any advice

Lone Wolf
02-25-2014, 11:20
If you were to select a 5-6 day section hike in early April for a newbie in VA, which of these hikes would be best for a newbie who hasn't backpacked since the 70's but is in decent shape otherwise? Estimate 8-12 miles per day.

a. Grayson Highlands/Mt Rogers: Damascus to Grayson Highlands SP, plus Scales Loop trail, maybe another loop trail, approx 46 miles

b. VA-42 to US-220/Daleville: (keffer oak, Audie Murphy memorial, Dragons Tooth, McAfees Know, Tinker cliffs) approx 52 miles

c. Buena Vista (Hwy-60) to Rockfish Gap/ Wayensboro, approx 55 miles

d. Any 50-55 mile section north of Waynesboro in SNP.

Open to comments, etc. regarding relative difficulty of each section, places to stage 2 vehicles also is a factor.

tia for any advice

A. first choice and C. second choice

Crazy Larry #1
02-25-2014, 11:35
A & B

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rafe
02-25-2014, 11:35
One stretch of VA I don't need to hike again, that would be the stretch just north of Pearisburg... Kelly Knob, Sinking Creek Mtn. Boring. And haunted. Option C is nice, enjoy the view from Cedar Cliffs up near Waynesboro.

FarmerChef
02-25-2014, 11:51
B. A. D. C. in that order. If they're in decent shape and have their gear/style/procedures down then any of those are fine. If they need a little breathing room with plenty of easy bailout options then D wins hands down in my book. B. is fantastically beautiful and lots of fun though it does enjoy a few strenuous climbs, especially for a newbie and doesn't have quite as many easy bailout options as D. Can't beat McAfee's Knob, Tinker Cliffs or Dragon's Tooth. And don't discount the reservoir near Roanoke. I really enjoyed the hike around it on our way.

Shonryu
02-25-2014, 11:53
A would be first and B 2nd.

Instead of starting in Damascus start at Elk Grove and head NOBO to Atkins. I love this section because of the constant change in scenery, running into wild ponies, and being able to order a pizza from Partnership shelter :)

B is an awesome hike for some very iconic views.

If your going to do SNP incorporate Old Rag into your section. The rock scrambles and bouldering is fun :)

CalebJ
02-25-2014, 12:14
As you can tell by the answers, there are a lot of perspectives on this. The biggest reason for this is that all 4 are great choices. I'm kind of partial to A and B, but C and D are by no means poor options. If you have to, flip an coin and have a wonderful time on any of them.

fredmugs
02-25-2014, 12:23
I always say you can't go wrong anywhere in VA. I would recommend the 75 miles SOBO from Atkins to Damascus. If you're hiking SOBO and fall behind pace you can always walk the Creeper Trail to make up time.

saltysack
02-25-2014, 13:06
I did 603 back to Damascus 40 miles through Grayson/mt Rogers was amazing! Best 2.5 days on he trail so far!! Recently did roan mtn in nc as it was also great didn't compare to mt Rogers and Grayson highland....imo


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Kerosene
02-25-2014, 13:28
I'm not convinced that I'd send an (old) newbie on section A in April; you never know what kind of weather they will get up there. A month or two later and that would be my first choice, although as fredmugs suggests I'd start in Atkins and cover the 75 miles in 6 days.

I've always thought that Section B offers a lot of great views for the effort. I'd recommend that for an April section hike.

Odd Man Out
02-25-2014, 14:12
We are in similar situations (age, experience, etc...), except I am planning a 6 day VA hike in summer rather than April.

I was planning on VA635 - Stony Creek NOBO to US 220 Daleville (71 mi).
I have just one more major piece of gear to buy and then I'll be good to go.

Drybones
02-25-2014, 14:13
B. A. D. C. in that order. If they're in decent shape and have their gear/style/procedures down then any of those are fine. If they need a little breathing room with plenty of easy bailout options then D wins hands down in my book. B. is fantastically beautiful and lots of fun though it does enjoy a few strenuous climbs, especially for a newbie and doesn't have quite as many easy bailout options as D. Can't beat McAfee's Knob, Tinker Cliffs or Dragon's Tooth. And don't discount the reservoir near Roanoke. I really enjoyed the hike around it on our way.

Agree.......................

Southerner
02-25-2014, 14:56
I wouldn't recommend option C for a beginner (or re-beginner as the case may be). The person might find the climbs of Bald Knob and Three Ridges overwhelming.

Option A would normally be great -- the person could perhaps do the AT / Iron Mtn. Trail loop. And, if spring comes in full force by then, it might be the best option. But, with this winter giving mixed signals, early April could still be quite rough at elevation.

So, of the remaining options, I would think option B would be the most rewarding for your friend. Sinking Creek Mtn. is pretty cool, and then hitting Catawba's Big Three (as well as often-overlooked Hay Rock, as mentioned above) would be a great capping stone to the experience and likely leave your friend thirsty for more post-hike.

Blissful
02-25-2014, 15:35
Newbie - can't beat Shenandoah in early April!!

HikerMom58
02-25-2014, 15:37
I wouldn't recommend option C for a beginner (or re-beginner as the case may be). The person might find the climbs of Bald Knob and Three Ridges overwhelming.

Option A would normally be great -- the person could perhaps do the AT / Iron Mtn. Trail loop. And, if spring comes in full force by then, it might be the best option. But, with this winter giving mixed signals, early April could still be quite rough at elevation.

So, of the remaining options, I would think option B would be the most rewarding for your friend. Sinking Creek Mtn. is pretty cool, and then hitting Catawba's Big Three (as well as often-overlooked Hay Rock, as mentioned above) would be a great capping stone to the experience and likely leave your friend thirsty for more post-hike.


I agree! :)

Almost There
02-25-2014, 16:33
A then B...C, to me, is one of the roughest hikes in Va. If you do B set yourself up so you can hit he Homeplace...after all you're out for the total "section experience."

Deer Hunter
02-25-2014, 18:13
For a newbie, I would choose D unless solitude is a priority.

evyck da fleet
02-25-2014, 20:02
Because you said April, I'd say B. If you had said June, I would have answered A which I like better. Save A until the rhodedendrons(sp?) bloom and either change it to Elk Gardens-Atkins or take the Creeper Trail into or out of Damascus

BillyGr
02-26-2014, 14:52
Also to factor into D - since you said early April, take note that some of the services in SNP may not be open yet, in case they would think of wanting to use those.

Deer Hunter
02-26-2014, 17:15
Also to factor into D - since you said early April, take note that some of the services in SNP may not be open yet, in case they would think of wanting to use those.


Hadn't thought of that.

http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/facilities-opening-schedule.htm

nickc90
02-26-2014, 22:31
B - I've done that section, awesome mountains. Just try to get to mcafees knob early ahead of the crowds, especially on weekends.

Tron-Life
03-30-2014, 23:47
I was wondering; of all these options, which entry point is the most easily accessible by bus or train. I was planning a similar trip for the spring break holiday and was wondering if any of you have thoughts about a section hike from Roanoke (easily accessible) to Linden around the middle of April?

Tron-Life
03-31-2014, 13:23
Any thoughts about Roanoke to Damascus sobo? Is that section more interesting?

HikerMom58
03-31-2014, 14:13
Roanoke to Damascus would be a great hike! :)

You can take the bus to Roanoke. The train goes to Lynchburg VA, which is about 45 miles from Roanoke.

FarmerChef
03-31-2014, 14:58
Depending on funds, grabbing a shuttle back to a bus or train point probably wouldn't be that much money. Getting rail access to the trail without a connecting trip via bus or shuttle is really only available at two places along the trail. You can get close several places but still have enough of a distance to need a ride the rest of the way. Though bus tickets can cost less, often a shuttle to another major mode of transportation is not that much more. The ATC maintains a list of shuttle providers and shuttle information can be found in both of the major AT guides.