View Full Version : Social Scene in Virginia

04-26-2015, 18:08
I'd give anything to do a thru hike, but I can only swing a section hike because of work. I'm planning to do a section hike in Virginia in September. Is the social scene still active around then or will I be too late?

04-26-2015, 19:46
Don't think there will be much of s social scene anywhere on the AT in sept....sounds like a perfect time to be there. The reason I enjoy hiking is the solitude...that's just me...I did the short but beautiful 40 mile section sobo back to Damascus. I'd try to include it if fits your schedule plan lil later to catch the leaves....enjoy

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04-26-2015, 20:04
You may hit the SoBo microbubble, but the social scene then will be in Maine.

04-27-2015, 19:27
it will be the perfect social scene for hiking


04-27-2015, 20:19
There will be other folks on the trail, and at the shelters. You can have something of a social experience if you want one, but it won't be the intense version that comes with the thru-hikers. (That's hard anyway for section hikers, since the thrus have been together for weeks or months and you're new and not part of the group.)

You can also avoid crowds if you like.

JumpMaster Blaster
04-27-2015, 20:34
At the risk of sounding like the crusty naysayers, I'll say that September will be a great time to hike- in solitude. In June and July I saw a good bit of section, weekend, and day hikers, but in mid September last year, I went a whole 36 hours without seeing a soul. I loved it- felt like I had the trail to myself.

Like others said, if you want the social scene, go north. Or hang out in a trail town.

04-27-2015, 22:06
Not sure if you want to hike or if you want to meet people. The odd thing is that if something is important you need to do it yourself. I know it sounds like a play on words, but think about it.

05-03-2015, 17:57
I'm definitely doing it for myself. The trail has been calling me since 2006, so I'm excited to finally get there. I want mostly solitude, but wouldn't mind meeting some nice people along the way. Just seeing whos out there at that time I guess.

05-04-2015, 16:00
I lived 1/2 mile from the AT in northern VA for a long time and used to hike a lot in the fall. I seldom saw any thru hikers. I expect that most of the SOBO's were south of me by Sept/Oct so if you really want to run into them I would plan your VA hike for mid or southern VA and maybe some of the folks who live in Damascus can help with timing that.

One thing to keep in mind if you are planning on a fall hike and get the timing right you can be hiking when the fall weather causes the trees to change color. Since you are from Utah it is possible that you have never seen what it is like when a hardwood forest does that. Amazingly beautiful. Timing is dependent on the date, weather and altitude so it is somewhat of a guess. But you could also adjust your plans to hit that change wherever it was happening also. SNP and the Blue Ridge Parkway are special for that.

05-05-2015, 01:28
Thanks for the suggestions! I lived in Charlottesville for a little bit, but I didn't do more than day hikes. None of those hikes on the AT, but close. I looked at the fall color map and the state said that the colors usually peak around October 10th, so I was going to start on the 3rd or 4th of October. Wyo, did you ever hike through Shenandoah? If so, what was your favorite part to hike...the southern half of the park or the northern half of the park?

05-05-2015, 02:26
what was your favorite part to hike...the southern half of the park or the northern half of the park?

I liked the areas of the trail near campgrounds like Big Meadows, Loft Mtn, Lewis Mtn, Skyland and also near the waterfalls. I could choose solitude or the company of some really nice folks, and also a good meal.

05-05-2015, 09:26
Sounds like the "social scene" you're looking for has little to do with thru-hikers. Depending on where you go, I doubt you'll find the trail empty in September/October. As others have stated, that's a superb time to be on the trail, so guess who you'll find? People like us!

My husband and I hike mostly in spring and fall, and it's rare that we don't find plenty of company, especially on weekends. :)

05-05-2015, 09:58
WHERE you go matters just as much as WHEN you go. Early fall is a popular time for section hikers and day hikers (the latter especially on weekends).

Last fall I did a section from Hampton, TN through Grayson Highlands in VA. I saw 3 people in 4 days between Hampton and Damascus, then over 100 (mostly day hikers, including some large groups) on Saturday going through Grayson Highlands.