View Full Version : SNP thru-hike planning

02-24-2017, 13:52
I'm in the early planning phase for a Shenandoah National Park thru hike later this year. OK, technically it is an AT Section Hike, but I think a SNP Thru Hike sounds cooler :). I haven't settled on the actual date yet but I intend to do it some other time than May-July when the bulk of AT thru hikers are passing through knowing shelters will be full. Loosely following the Park Service's "AT through Shenandoah NP" guide I've crafted the following schedule:





Starting at Rockfish Gap entrance mid-day

Calf Mountain Shelter
7 miles

Blackrock Hut
13 miles

Pinefield Hut
13.2 miles
Loft Mountain

Bearface Mountain Hut
20.6 miles

Rock Spring Hut
11.5 miles
Big Meadows

Pass Mountain Hut
15.3 miles

Gravel Springs Hut
13.1 miles

Jim & Molly Denton Shelter
18.6 miles

Pickup at Tucker's Lane parking lot
3 miles

115.3 miles

My questions to those familiar with this section (or those who have accomplished a SNP thru hike):
Is it reasonable to trek the ~21 miles between Pinefield Hut and Bearface Mountain Hut in one day? (Keeping in mind that while I'm not a couch potato, I'm also not as young as I once was.) If not, do you recall if there are areas prior to reaching Bearface Mountain Hut that is conducive to backwoods stealth camping? Any other words of wisdom?

02-24-2017, 14:26
I did Bearfence to Loft Mt campground in one day (27 miles!) but I had started the trip in Harpers Ferry, so had my trail legs by then. I didn't stop at Pinefield due to the unreliable spring and was out of fuel to cook with, so I had to get to Loft. (where I found the camp store closed for renovations, so had to walk a mile over to the wayside, which didn't have canister fuel, but they did have hot food so that worked out).

The 20 miles between Pinefield and Bearfence is a little rough with Hightop being the worst of it. You might want to do your big mile day in the middle of the park were there is less up and down.

02-24-2017, 15:28
Planning same trip. Interested in other's observations.

02-24-2017, 21:41
Id say if its "reasonable" for you, you would know it.

That dont mean its not possible

Id gamble if you start 4 am, youll probably make it by dark. There will be breaks and off trail mile or so.

Wont be easy most likely, but not impossible.

02-24-2017, 22:28
Very reasonable. I did this hiking from Pinefield to Calf Mountain when I was 50 and in pretty good shape.

02-25-2017, 00:29
I did SNP 6 years ago at the age of 45 - before my weight loss, so I was considered obese. In my ignorance, I also carried food for 10 days... While I never did a 27 mile day, I did do several 15 mile days.

Since then, I have hike much more challenging terrain - although I am no longer obese and do not carry an overloaded pack...

Is it possible? yes... However, you should have an alternative plan. If you do not have hiking legs, it is improbable. As a section hiker, I have completed over 750 miles on the A.T. during 8 hikes in the last 8 years. I have only hiked over 20 miles in a day about 3 or 4 times out of those 8 hikes in 8 years... even though I average 100 miles in a 7 day hiking trip.

Do what works best for you!

02-25-2017, 12:51
I recall doing it that way.
Left 5 am, was at next shelter at 8, took hr break ate breakfast and got water.

Took hr break for lunch at a rest area , got water, used restroom there

Got to bearfence about 5 30 pm

jj dont play
02-25-2017, 22:28
On my thru hike I did Black Rock to Bearfence. Leaving at 7:15am and even adding 1/2 mile to wayside, breakfast, 1/2 back to trail. Hit shelter at 8:00pm
Now that's thru hiker shape but I remember it being pretty pleasant and smooth, I believe that was the day I also saw 7 bears in one day, as well as a ton of deer! You will be able to handle that 20.5, no doubt. Just start early and enjoy. Shenandoah was one of my favorite parts of the AT, hope to "thru hike Shenandoah" again one day.

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