View Full Version : Practice Hikes in DC area

02-21-2004, 20:42
My sister lives in Alexandria, VA and is going with me this summer on the AT from the CT/NY border to MA. Anyone have any good places in the area that she can do some practice hikes? She went to one place this weekend Big Foot or something like that but the trail is only 'hard' for 2 miles.


papa john
02-21-2004, 21:52
She can drive to many parts of the trail in a few hours. Just head west on any major highway.

02-21-2004, 22:24
She can drive to many parts of the trail in a few hours. Just head west on any major highway.
Prince william forest is just south of Alex,VA about 20mins.Its a great park to hike in and has 35 miles of trail.There is a loop trial thats 15miles.Its also a really nice bike park for road bikes and there are lots of fire roads for mtbs to.If she would like someone to show her around i live 10mins from the park.

02-21-2004, 22:56
Shenandoah National Park is very accessible from Alexandria. The best parts of SNP is off the ridge away from Skyline Drive. There are some nice loop hikes (one day and multiple day) possible in SNP. That's how we did it several years ago. Get the maps and plan things out.

Moon Monster
02-21-2004, 23:26
Hey Texashiker,

I live next-door in Arlington, VA. It's true that a good chunk of the AT is driveable from Alexandria. For dayhikes with a kick (that is, some climbing), consider Old Rag, Little Devils Stairs, and Whiteoak Canyon (all in SNP, all about an hour and a half drive, and all very popular--so leave early in the morning if on a warm weekend). For overnighters or short backpacking journeys, consider The Priest or Three Ridges areas (3 hour drive), anywhere along the AT in SNP (1.5 to 2 hour drive), the "Roller Coaster" section and on to Harper Ferry (1.5 hour drive), or anywhere along the AT in Maryland (2 hour drive). For a quick 3 hour fittness check round-trip (incl. driving), consider going both directions on the rocky 2 mi. Billy Goat trail at Great Falls in MD.

Good info for most of these places is at http://www.patc.net and in your AT guides. The patc even has a great message board for local ideas, but it has been plagued by trolls lately.

There really are no bad places in Northern Virginia or MD; nothing in CT or Mass will be remarkably harder.

02-24-2004, 16:10
You might try the 2 miles to Annapolis Rock in Maryland. Park at the lot at US40. Go North on the AT for 2.2 miles and you hit Annapolis Rock. The walk South is about 4 miles (mostly flat) to Washington Monument State Park. The US40 lot is free the Park charges a small fee. Nice weekends the lot fills up fast, so it's preferable to arrive before 9am.

Kozmic Zian
02-24-2004, 16:20
Yea......DC. Moon's got it right. The Great Falls Trail is up and down and Rocky. The Rollercoaster is very good training, up and down quickly, great place to break in some new boots and try out gear for the AT....Good Hiking. KZ@

02-24-2004, 20:47
I second Rag Mountain as a good place to go... the "Rollercoaster" seems like a good bet as well, although I haven't had a chance to do it yet. Hope to do so soon.

Brushy Sage
02-24-2004, 21:09
A Maryland state park that is one of the best kept secrets: Cunningham Falls State Park, near Thurmont. Take I-270 to Frederick, stay in the left lanes and it becomes U.S. Rte 15. Go north on Rte 15 for 13 miles, and at the Catoctin Zoo, turn left into Cunningham Falls State Park. There is a $2.00 fee per car (drop money into a slot). The trail from the parking area goes steadily uphill, joins the Catoctin Trail (blue blazed), and climbs to Bob's Hill, with overviews to north and south, then continues to Cat Rock, with lots of rock outcroppings to play on, and a wide-angled view. There is lots of varied terrain, and not a lot of people for most of the way. I estimate around six miles roundtrip.