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  1. #1
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    :banana Rockfish Gap to Swift Run Gap - April 17th-21st, 2020

    Lurker here with my first forum post. I'll try to make it a good one. =)

    I'm planning a gap to gap trip next April as stated in the title. I have not backpacked overnight before but have a decent amount of experience in dayhiking and camping in less hospitable places than Shenandoah National Park. I plan to have a friend along with me and I thought it'd be nice to publicize this trip in the hopes of meeting new folks.

    This gap to gap is roughly 45-1/2 miles. I need to find someone to pick us up at Swift Run and drop us off at Rockfish. I've seen several references to folks that do that on here and will start contacting them soon. Rough Itinerary as follows:

    Day 1 Rockfish Gap to Calf Mtn. Shelter 7.7m
    Day 2 Calf Mtn. Shelter to Blackrock Hut 13m
    Day 3 Blackrock Hut to Pinefield Hut 13.2m
    Day 4 Pinefield Hut to Hightop Hut 8.2m
    Day 5 Hightop Hut to Swift Run Gap 3.4m

    Questions, suggestions, etc. are welcome.

  2. #2
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    I read your post with interest. i hiked snp for my first fairly long hike a few years ago when I was in my mid 50's and had planned on the same first few days as you described due mostly to the locations of the shelters. For thruhikers and others used to backpacking multiple nights snp is super easy, but i didnt find those first few days easy at all and had to break up those first two 13m days i had planned. One of my biggest problems was blisters and I just was not used to walking on rocks and my feet got pretty tender. Obviously age matters, but I would see if I could find an alternative area to camp to break up those 2 days so you have an alternative if you feel it is needed. One of the experienced hikers on this board said not to plan on more than 10m per day for inexperienced backpackers in snp and I wished I had taken her advice.

  3. #3
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    That’s a great section and the waysides should be open by the time you’re going so you could pick up food and eat at the restaurant. The leaves aren’t yet on the trees so the views can be good. The park shouldn’t be crowded. I set out northbound from rockfish gap on tax day April 15, 2014 on a section that took me into PA. Great time of year to be out there.

  4. #4
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Id suggest parking just beyond the Swift Run Entrance Station as that area has good lighting after dark.
    This section is an easy piece of trail to cut your teeth on for a first multi-day hike. Water should not be an issue as it might be if you did this in July or August.
    I might also suggest hiking straight from Pinefield to Swift Run . This 11.6 miles can easy be done in one day. This is however just a suggestion .
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

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