View Full Version : Hiking in late March Early April

01-26-2016, 23:53
Where's the best place to hike in late March early April???? Weather is the main factor in my decision as to where we go. Want to take my older Scouts on some high adventure hiking. Any help will be appreciated.

01-27-2016, 12:04
You didn't say how long: 1-2 nights, a week, or something in-between? While you mentioned "high country," I'd avoid the 4,000'+ levels at that time of year. I guess coming from the NC coast, even 200' is "high." :cool:

Three suggestions:

1. Shenandoah National Park - trail well constructed, you'll see early wildflowers, some park facilities (but not all) are open, you have Skyline Drive on which to bail out. Even if you have a cold rain, the shelters are well-spaced to get out of the elements.

2. Maryland and Southern PA - low elevations, access to road crossings if bailout is needed.

3. Central Virginia west of I-81 between Daleville and Pearisburg. Highlights include Keffer Oak, McAfee Knob, Dragon's Tooth, Tinker Cliffs. Much ridge crossing but it's not constant up-and-down because you walk along the top of many of the ridges you ascend. I hiked this section in early April and really enjoyed it. http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=92490

01-27-2016, 12:41
Weather is finicky in late March / early April, especially along the AT which is where the weather fronts clash that time of year. You'll have no idea if the dates you pick will be warm and sunny or cold and wet, so you have to plan on being cold and wet although adjustments can be made at the last minute based on the forecast just before you leave.

Avoid all of NC, due to the elevation, risk of sever weather and the fact it will be busy with thru hikers. Given your location, it looks like the Shenandoah's would be reasonably easy to get to (remember to limit the total group size to 10 or less). Hampton, TN also looks to be reasonably easy to get to as it would be mostly interstate across the top of the NC. From Hampton, it's a reasonably easy hike to Damascus, VA.

01-27-2016, 17:09
Early Spring, by it's very nature ,can feature dramatic swings in temperature over a span of a few days to a week. These variances of temperature may differ greatly from overall seasonal norms.

Likely choices for a successful trip would be the aforementioned Shenandoah National Park ,for no other reason than it offers splendid high country scenery plus easily accessible bail-out options.
The weather can transition back and forth in higher elevation and for that reason have your troop go prepared with light baselayers essential to stay warm for chilly mornings.

Worth mentioning ; the first Wayside to open for the season (Big Meadows) usually opens late March . The other Waysides generally follow suit in a week or two.