View Full Version : Seeking suggestions for a late May 4 day section hike in the Shenandoahs

03-19-2010, 04:04
Hi Everyone,

I’m thinking about doing a 4 day hike in the Shenandoah’s with some friends of mine. One of which has done some hiking in the area and has put together a rough plan for a route. Here’s what he had to say about the trip:

“This trip is a 28 miler with possibilities for side trips if desired. I think there are decent area in which we can get water, but would need to plan when and where. Like I said before, I’ve been on some of this trip before and liked it. There are 3 water falls on it, an abandoned little village and good views. Bearfence trail is a short side-trip with an easy rock scramble with excellent views into the gaps. I think we’d have a good chance to see some bears on these trails too which would make the trip better (as long as they’re not in our camp).
The Rapidan Camp (sometimes called Hoover Camp) was built during President Hoover’s term in office and was his getaway spot (like Camp David). Its not much now, but is interesting to walk around. We’d get water here too. Its where the Rapidan river starts. The Rapidan continues until it merges with the Rappahannock River.”

It looks like we’re basically following a loop of Pocosin, Laurel Prong, and Slaughter. He sent me a trip planner page from the NPS (couldn’t find that specific link right now) that outlined a 4 day trip staying at Pocosin, Laurel Prong, Slaughter, and then coming back to the South River Picnic Area.

We plan on hiking this over Memorial Day weekend. I’m not too thrilled about the timing and would prefer a more “off peak” time to go, but we are all strapped for vacation time so unfortunately we’ll have to brave the extra tourists. We are all experienced hikers and will be prepared to stay in tents, filter our water, etc.

In general it does sound like an interesting one, but I just wanted to get some general impressions and suggestions as well.

We will be leaving from DC to go hiking. He said this was probably the most central place to go and he preferred that due to traveling time.

That being said, is there any place In the North or South District that you would recommend over the Lewis Mountain/Bear Face area?

I read another thread on here (see link below) that the trail crosses the road often. It sounds as if that’s a good thing from a view stand point actually. I’m wondering how intrusive tourists and day hikers will be though?

[url]http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=44778[/url (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=44778%5b/url)]

Are there other more remote sections with less traffic and equal or better scenery that you’d recommend if this area is heavily trafficked?

While I realize that it isn’t “my woods” when I’m out there hiking, I REALLY have a great deal of appreciation for the peacefulness and solitude that hiking offers. That kind of gets ruined when you find the perfect view or place to eat lunch and 15 min. later SUVs start rolling in and you’re contending with a bunch people yapping on a cell phone, kids more focused on texting or listening to an iPod, etc just for enough space to set down your pack and rest or make lunch! It kind of ruins the “postcard moment”. In a way I kind of feel like those places SHOULD take some effort to get to in order to be fully appreciated!

I guess as a whole my priorities for our route would be choosing one that fits our 4 day time frame, finding the best scenery to see, campsites within reasonable distances (10-12 miles preferred), and enough water sources.

03-23-2010, 10:25
Anyone have an opinion on this?

We need to apply for permits SOON, so I'd really like some advice here.

03-23-2010, 15:12
Generally, the Southern District of Shenadoah NP is "more remote" in that being farther from DC and the luxuries of Skyland and Big Meadows, it doesn't have as many tourists. The hike you cited is nice; it's in the Central District.

Looks like you want a loop hike as opposed to linear mileage on the AT. Since you have sufficient time before Memorial Day, I suggest you order the PATC's guidebook to circuit hikes in SNP (http://www.patc.us/store/PC100.htm). You'll note from the link that the current edition is barely a year old so everything's reasonably current. You can also order maps from the PATC.

Hope everything works well for you. So you're leaving from DC? Traffic is pretty awful:mad: - plan accordingly.

03-23-2010, 15:17
BTW, the PATC also has an on-line trail forum (http://www.hypernews.org/HyperNews/get/trails/PATC.html) open to anyone. You could post your message there.

03-24-2010, 09:57
Thanks for the info on the book Cooker! I just ordered it. Sounds like the kind of info I'm looking for. Yeah the drive won't be too much fun. My friends that I'm hiking with live in Fairfax, so I'll be flying in on a Thursday night and we'll drive out in the morning. I'm not sure how enthused I'll be about driving 5 or so hours then so that may effect where we go. I supppose if nothing else we could start our itinerary with a short distance hike to our first camp and make it someplace where there's a good side trip along the way.

03-24-2010, 10:18
Cool! If you pick out a loop hike in the South District, I'm sure you won't have any problems securing permits, especially if you camp in the backcountry off the AT.