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  1. #1

    Default 5 days backpacking in Shenadoah: what would you recommend?

    I am planning a short backpacking trip to Shenandoah in mid-October, and looking for input.

    Parameters:

    1. I'm backpacking. I have 4 nights and 5 days (M-F).
    2. I'd like to get some AT miles in. But, I'm open to other trails and loops as well because..
    3. ... the goal is to have fun.
    4. ....and the goal is quality, not quantity.
    5. I'm experienced, and reasonably fit.

    So, if you had 5 days to hike in Shenandoah, what would you do?
    (trailname: Paul-from-Scotland)

  2. #2
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    Don't know if you're driving from Scotland and heading right out. 5 days is not quite enough to enjoyably complete the entire Rockfish Gap to Front Royal segment. I'd suggest arriving for your start at the Big Meadows lodge area and working north to Front Royal. Big Meadows has campground and lodge and a camp store where you can supply with some basic foods and fuel. They had canisters of gas my last visit. Not sure about liquid fuels. Anyhow, there are extensive trail loops around B M to stretch out after a possible 16 hour flight. Rose River trail and a few others are quite picturesque. Moving north, in less then a day you'd arrive at Skyland. Again lodge rooms, cabins, campstrore but no camp ground. Shelters near by though. You'd finish up at front Royal, VA. The most proximal airport is Dulles. Many here could help some more but it would be helpful if your means of transportation were known and what your arrival and departure locations for the trip were.
    Cheers
    Jim
    Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other.
    óM. C. Richards

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    That would be "arriving" from Scotland.
    Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other.
    óM. C. Richards

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    White Oak Canyon is worth checking out


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    I'd spend a decent bit roadwalking the parkway... seriously.
    Some of the best views in the park are reserved for motorists, it's almost comical how the trail weaves into the trees to obscure the views just to avoid the parkway itself. Often making a somewhat twisty PUD to do it too. Depending on your pace if you weave onto the parkway at the proper places you can make the 100 miles in 5 days as the walking is easy... otherwise I'd just cut the park in half and take your time.

    If the leaves have dropped though- you'll get good views on the trail itself.
    Make sure you double check on the services and waysides as you're in "off-season" hours and some things will be closed or limited.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefiepoo View Post
    I'd suggest arriving for your start at the Big Meadows lodge area and working north to Front Royal.

    This is really great - many thanks Jim. I'm staying in Richmond the night before, and have transportation to and from the park. I was thinking of stopping at REI to pick up fuel and some meals.
    (trailname: Paul-from-Scotland)

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    On my AT section last year I covered the AT through the park in five days but I wasn't dealing with jet lag. I would say that 20 miles days on the AT through the park is possible for someone who is starting in very good shape. However, there are many, many trails within SNP that are worth exploring, many of which are more scenic than the AT. Some have already been mentioned. My favorites include: Rose River, Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run, the Old Rag area (not just the crowded old rag trail but the overall trail system in the area), Mary's Rock vicinity, Jeremy's Run, North/South Marshalls/Gravel Springs (this is on the AT), and the Hull School/Thornton River/Fork Mountain/Piney Ridge trail system east of Skyline Drive in the north district.

    SNP has a great library of trip suggestions here: http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisi...trip_plans.htm

    I had big plans for some hiking in the southern Appalachians this fall but it looks like I'm going to stay local so I'll be in the park when I can in October. IMO the best time of year to be in SNP!

  8. #8
    Registered User frontovik193's Avatar
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    I just finished a couple day hike that ended near black rock mt.. it is about a day and a half walk from rockfish gap (depending on speed). The trail winds around the summit with some fun rock scrambles and rewarding views. There is a blue blaze that takes you to some more good views and connects back to the AT. Have fun!

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

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    Great park!!!

    The views are great! In addition to the wildlife (many bear sightings), my kids enjoyed cheesburgers at Big Meadows, breakfast at Skyline, and Blackberry Shakes at Elk Wallow.

    These were our only "purchases" in the park, so they were a major treat while we packed and ate only backpacker food....
    If I had to do it in 5-7 days, I would plan around hitting at least one of these places!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    However, there are many, many trails within SNP that are worth exploring, many of which are more scenic than the AT. My favorites include: Rose River, Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run, the Old Rag area (not just the crowded old rag trail but the overall trail system in the area), Mary's Rock vicinity, Jeremy's Run, North/South Marshalls/Gravel Springs (this is on the AT), and the Hull School/Thornton River/Fork Mountain/Piney Ridge trail system east of Skyline Drive in the north district.
    This is terrific Coffee - many thanks. And thanks to the subsequent posters. With these recommendations I need to study the maps a bit and put together a nice hike...
    (trailname: Paul-from-Scotland)

  11. #11
    Registered User Ktaadn's Avatar
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    I suggest working in Old Rag as well.

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    Just thought that the mid October dates are definitely in the "leaf peeper" season. If you intend to utilize any lodge / cabin or campground, make reservations NOW. The Skyline drive is prime leaf color spotting territory. Also, you will need a permit to camp. You do not have to stay in a shelter but the park seems to want to know who is where. On my permit application, I defined a shelter or campground for each night. The completed permit had a range of locations that it would likely be at. You just need to observe setback rules for distance from roads, off of the trail and water sources. Go here for more details. While a permit is necessary,they are not restricted to a limitation.

    http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/campbc_permit.htm
    Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other.
    óM. C. Richards

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    SNP permits are no big deal. They can be obtained at self-issue registration kiosks at all park entrance stations as well as a few other places (visitor's centers and some waysides, I believe). No quotas. I've never been asked to show a permit either.

  14. #14
    Registered User Studlintsean's Avatar
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    Disclaimer: I do not know Distances for this Hike but it could be pieced together with a Map

    I think you can link together these highlights using various trails:

    Start at Old Rag Parking area, hike Ridge Trail to Old Rag Summit, Continue on Berry Hollow Fire Road to White Oak Canyon Parking, take White Oak Canyon Trail to Lower and Upper white Oak Canyon Falls, Continue to Skyline Drive Day 1

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...-you-recommend

    From Skyline Drive / Hawksbill Gap Parking (continued from above) (you can either Walk Skyline or Hitch), take the AT to the Salamander Trail to the Hawksbill Summit, Hike back to AT, take AT to Skyland for Lunch (or Breakfast) Day 2

    http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisi...n_area_web.pdf

    From Skyland-Continue on AT to Stony Man, Take Stony man Trail, back to AT, Take side trail to little Stony Man, Side trail to Mary's Rock (This is 9 miles), to Pass Mountain Hut (another ~3) Day 3

    http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisi...n_area_web.pdf

    From Pass Mountain Hut hike to Elk Wallow on AT (~7.5 miles), grab lunch, then back track to the Jeremy's Run Loop (http://www.hikingupward.com/SNP/JeremysRun/), Depeding on time continue north on AT to Gravel Spring Hut/ parking Lot (5 miles past Elk Wallow) or Front Royal (19 miles from Elk Wallow)Day 4 and Day 5Get Picked up at Elk Wallow, Gravel Springs Parking or Front Royal.

    This would allow 3 of the best views (Old Rag, Hawksbill, and Mary's Rock), One of the best falls (White Oak Canyon), some AT, and food at 2 waysides (Skyland and Elkwallow), and Jeremy's Run (I havent done yet but on my list and I hear it is one of the best loops in the park)

  15. #15
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    Old Rag October 2015.jpg

    Old Rag Sunrise Saturday Oct 23. Where did you end up hiking?

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