View Full Version : Shenandoah North to South. Many questions.

12-23-2011, 22:43
I am a section hiker and am ready to do a 100 mile section and was thinking that SNP would be a great place to go. I am just starting to plan and think about the possible trip and have a few questions to get me started. How many days should i give myself to do the whole park north to south.( I read that the park does rise several thousand feet but it does it gradually and farily easily.) Are there any good spots to drop off food along the way so that I dont have to carry my entire trips food at once? Water sources and weather? I plan on going the last week in march. I know that I am asking a lot but know that this is one of the best sites to come for some of the info. Thank you for your time and any input or thoughts you may have.

12-23-2011, 23:22
The answers to most of your questions are best found in a guide book. You should buy one.

How long will it take you? A week to 10 days for most people, but not knowing you, who can say?

There is a fair amount of flatish trail, but there are a number of stiff climbs. Remember, the trail takes the most difficult and least desirable path along the ridge, and that ridge does have bumps. The road takes the easy path.

I don't think any of the camp stores or roadside food joints are open in March. I think you will have to carry all your food.

Weather in March will either be really nice or really bad. In any 7-10 day streach in March, you can count on both.

12-23-2011, 23:30
see my comment in your other thread: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?79408-SNP-North-to-South&p=1230236#post1230236

wrt camp stores - there is a fair chance that the Big Meadows camp store would be open in the last week of March see http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/facilities-opening-schedule.htm

12-28-2011, 17:11
you could hitch into stannardsville at hwy 33 and into luray at hwy 211 and get resupplied.

12-28-2011, 18:49
Big Meadows Wayside generally opens the last weekend in March ( 31st is Saturday ) unless bad weather closes the Skyline Drive.
The town of Elkton is also an option for a short hitch if in need of a launderette or a food store . There's also a small store at the foot of the mountain which will certainly be open in March and has a small variety of food items. Bear Market I believe is the name and is actually only about 3 miles down the mountain from Swift Run Gap.

12-29-2011, 09:38
If you really want to do SNP, I agree with Slo, you should pickup up a guide book - It will point out water sources and give you an idea of weather expectations, camping areas, areas of interest, etc.... I would also go the the NPS site and get info about SNP, including weather expectations. I have hiked there in March in snow and again in sunny 80 degrees and flowers. You will be anywhere between the two. I don't find the ups/downs bad in fact, rather gentle, others thought it was extremely hilly. YMMV... You're young - are you in shape? Obese? can you walk 10-12 miles with a few 4-500 foot hills thrown in?
As for food - You'll be out there 7-10 days.... For that period, I probably would carry my food for the entire trip. I wouldn't count on Big Meadows being open long hours, although they are scheduled for March 23rd. I've seen these places open for the season and in the first week, they stock very little new grocery food items and spend their time cleaning, re-arranging camping items from last season, performing maintenance and such. The food deliveries start coming in within the first week or so...
However, If you are set on caching food, make sure you know exactly where you put it. Count paces and use very easily identifiable landmarks. Walk around it to make sure you know it from all angles. Get a GPS coordinate if possible.
For example (True story). Getting out of an air conditioned truck after driving on an old jeep road and placing jugs of water under rocks by the "Big Joshua Tree that's 50 paces East from a jutting rock ledge", sounds very specific and easily identifiable. However, after trudging through the hot desert for 4 days, your perspective changes. There are no big Joshua trees - they all look the same, everywhere I look are rock ledges and every spot by the old road looks like the last one. I'm thirsty, tired and now feeling a bit panicky if I cannot find my water cache.. I finally found it but it took over 2 hours of searching

12-29-2011, 22:22
you could hitch into stannardsville at hwy 33 and into luray at hwy 211 and get resupplied.

Actually hitching to Ruckersville (past Standarsdville) will net you Wally World

12-29-2011, 22:25
PATC maps of the park are helpful.

ADLHA companion (http://www.aldha.org/comp_pdf.htm) for water sources, shelter areas, waysides (where you can buy your food) and resupply points off trail. You need a backcountry permit - which is obtained at the hiker kiosk as you enter the park via the AT. Check on opening dates (http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/facilities-opening-schedule.htm)for the waysides within the park. No way would I haul 7 days of food, there is no need depending on the time period you intend to go and what is open.

Figure on around 7 days

12-29-2011, 22:37
Actually hitching to Ruckersville (past Standarsdville) will net you Wally World

actually if its not Sunday you can just get down to the base of the ridge to Goose Pond Rd. intersection with Rt. 33 and then call for the Greene County Transit bus to take you over to Ruckersville or most other places in Greene County - $2.50 for the ride one way

12-30-2011, 15:40
you could hitch into stannardsville at hwy 33 and into luray at hwy 211 and get resupplied.

Elkton, on the west side of Swift Run Gap (US 33), is another place to resupply. Quick hitch down and back.

12-30-2011, 16:50
What is a good shuttle service in the park?