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View Full Version : New Hike from Front Royal to Harper's Ferry



Billho
02-04-2013, 02:43
Planning on hiking from Front Royal to Harper's Ferry Feb, 22 ending on on Feb, 25th. Prefer to stay in my own tent but should I plan on shelters? It seems to be about 45 miles. I have averaged about 13 miles previously on the AT including back country hikes. Is this trip possible or should I plan something smaller?

Thanks for any help,
Billho (Newbie)

Mrs Baggins
02-04-2013, 06:19
It is the roller coaster thru there but if you're in good shape you should be fine. Beautiful vista point between Snickers Gap and Blackburn (can't think of the name of it - Raven Rock? something like that). Even with a tent you don't want to miss the David Lesser shelter - 5 stars :) Good tent pads below the shelter. Excellent covered fire pit/picnic table/big wooden swing area by the shelter. Gets very rocky after the Lesser shelter to Keys Gap. From Keys Gap to HF it's mostly downhill - a very easy hike. Enjoy!

Billho
02-04-2013, 11:46
Thanks for the info. Hopefully the weather won't be bad but it's hard to tell these days.

yushan
02-04-2013, 15:28
If you start at US 522 near Front Royal, the mileage to Harpers Ferry is more like 53 miles. Just something to keep in mind while you plan your trip.

Kerosene
02-05-2013, 12:24
13 mpd is very doable if you're in halfway decent shape and not lugging too much weight.

In my first year returning to backpacking after a 12-year hiatus I did 11 (rounded) miles the first half-day, then 14, then 10 to stop at Bears Den Hostel, then 11 and 10 the last half-day. Easy walking, but of course I had cool October weather through The Rollercoaster which helped. I felt that I could have done more miles in any one day, but I didn't want to shorten my vacation!

jlo
02-05-2013, 12:46
The shelters in this section were my favorite through VA. Some are a little far apart, but doable if you give yourself time. But they were great shelters.

johnnybgood
02-05-2013, 18:12
The shelters in this section were my favorite through VA. But they were great shelters.

I concur except for Dicks Dome Shelter. There are however tent sites across the stream from the shelter and better tent sites about 1 mile north off the AT.

Blissful
02-05-2013, 21:46
13 miles fresh out of the house on the rollercoaster in this area is tough. IMO Plus don't underestimate the rocky areas later.

johnnybgood
02-05-2013, 22:44
Just a heads up regarding the parking situation at Rt.522 . Vandalism has been a fairly recent problem there and unless someone is dropping you off at the trailhead to start your hike I wouldn't leave a vehicle there for 4 days.
There is safe parking in Harper's Ferry at the Park Service lot which is locked and secured after hours. Leave your car there and get shuttled to your start at Rt.522.

On a side note : Bears Den Center at Bluemont,(20 miles south of Harper's Ferry)also has the hiker special for $27.50 that includes a bunk , Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Pizza and laundry services. Showers are also available. Also in this section ; Blackburn Trail Center has a hiker cabin with a fire place ...in case bad weather puts you in a pickle.

Mrs Baggins
02-06-2013, 06:23
Just a heads up regarding the parking situation at Rt.522 . Vandalism has been a fairly recent problem there and unless someone is dropping you off at the trailhead to start your hike I wouldn't leave a vehicle there for 4 days.
There is safe parking in Harper's Ferry at the Park Service lot which is locked and secured after hours. Leave your car there and get shuttled to your start at Rt.522.

On a side note : Bears Den Center at Bluemont,(20 miles south of Harper's Ferry)also has the hiker special for $27.50 that includes a bunk , Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Pizza and laundry services. Showers are also available. Also in this section ; Blackburn Trail Center has a hiker cabin with a fire place ...in case bad weather puts you in a pickle.

Be warned about Blackburn...unless you really really need water at that point, or you really are going to stay there for the night, or you really really just want to see it....it's a steep hike down and a steep hike back out. You're still about 3 miles from the Lesser shelter. Went thru there last May and one of the ladies I was backpacking with (we'd started at Snickers Gap) wanted to go down there to check it out. I'd done that hike down and back once before so the rest of us waited for her. I did tell her to leave her pack with us but she insisted she'd leave it on. When she was finally on her way back out she yelled out, very loud and very long, her one word opinion of it... "F * * *!" That about says it. :)

We had a car vandalized Keys Gap this past summer. We usually leave the lowliest of our vehicles there and the better one at HF Visitors Center. This time we did it the other way around and came back to find a big nail rammed into the sidewall of a rear tire.

JAK
02-06-2013, 08:02
Just a heads up regarding the parking situation at Rt.522 . Vandalism has been a fairly recent problem there and unless someone is dropping you off at the trailhead to start your hike I wouldn't leave a vehicle there for 4 days.
There is safe parking in Harper's Ferry at the Park Service lot which is locked and secured after hours. Leave your car there and get shuttled to your start at Rt.522.

On a side note : Bears Den Center at Bluemont,(20 miles south of Harper's Ferry)also has the hiker special for $27.50 that includes a bunk , Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Pizza and laundry services. Showers are also available. Also in this section ; Blackburn Trail Center has a hiker cabin with a fire place ...in case bad weather puts you in a pickle.Thanks for the heads up. Looking to do some hiking and paddling in the area March Break.

Coosa
02-06-2013, 16:11
Always check with the ATC about Trail Conditions and reports of Vandalism

http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/trail-updates ...... call them too.

Coosa