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Thread: Advice on SNP

  1. #1
    Springer-->Stony Brook Road VT MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Default Advice on SNP

    We are looking forward to July and SNP. As section hikers we usually plan the direction based on where we can leave the vehicle in the safest place, so we are thinking of doing SNP from top to bottom. This way we can leave our car at the Inn at Afton motel at Rockfish Gap.
    If we go South from Front Royal are we missing anything versus going North?
    Also we are planning on 10 days to do the 107 miles, too many days? too little days?
    And (know we are asking a lot here) I've heard/read that the shelters dont always match up with a 10 mile day so can we hammock about anywhere away from a road?
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  2. #2

    Arrow

    Quote Originally Posted by MedicineMan
    If we go South from Front Royal are we missing anything versus going North?
    IMO no - you won't be missing anything going one direction on the AT vs the other direction. Most of the interesting stuff in Shen. is off of the AT on the blue blazed trails anyways - ex. Mary's Rock, waterfalls, etc. but you will have some good views on the AT - Hightop for ex.

    Quote Originally Posted by MedicineMan
    Also we are planning on 10 days to do the 107 miles, too many days? too little days?
    It sounds like too many days to me but it is difficult to judge other people's hiking style. The days in July at still quite long and I would have thought that 7 or 8 days would be enough but then that is my style and not yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by MedicineMan
    And (know we are asking a lot here) I've heard/read that the shelters dont always match up with a 10 mile day so can we hammock about anywhere away from a road?
    The Shen. backcountry camping regulations are relatively specific about where you can camp but in actuallity if you camp where you are not visible from ANY road you should be OK - make sure however that you do have the free backcountry permit filled out with approximately where you will be each day - there is at least one tight a** LE ranger that will check you as you are hiking across roads or at the waysides.

  3. #3
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    You are also allowed to park your vehicle at any parking area along Skyline Drive (overlooks, trail head parking etc.) We've never had any problems with leaving our truck for several days. You'll save the $10 park entrance fee if you park outside, though I've never seen the entrance stations manned before 7:30 in the morning. We bought an annual pass last year and have yet to actually show it to any one.

    Water availability might become an issue if you stick strictly to the AT. Most water sources start about a quarter mile or so down the side trails and around July the ones closest to the ridge line are going to start drying up.

    I agree with HOI, ten days is probably more than enough time to hike the AT through Shenandoah. By far the more interesting (and difficult) trails are the 400 some odd miles of blue blazed trails. The AT is pretty easy hiking through here. I doubt you'll find much difference in the scenery regardless of which direction you travel.

    I think that the self registration station for back country permits is closer to highway access at the southern end than the north one. You can also call the park and have the permit sent by mail. Allow two weeks for it to get to you. There are SUPPOSED to be self registration forms at all of the vehicle entrances. If there are not you have to go to one of the visitor centers which do not open until 8:30.
    kncats

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    Default Permit

    I just want to emphasize that it is very important to get that free permit. On the weekends, the rangers will be checking often, and even during the week in the Summer they may check. The fine is substantial if you are without a permit and there are no warnings given. I got my permit from a box that was on the trail just north of Rockfish Gap (near where your proposed start area is).

    Last year when I was section hiking, we had a Ranger come into one of the shelter areas and he checked all our permits and gave us a big lecture about all the rules that apply to use of the SNP. Since the huts and adjacent camping area were completely full, he seemed a little upset that those that were coming in late had to find something off the trail (you are supposed to camp at the shelter camp sites when the huts are full). The ranger was very vocal and a bit harsh in my opinion, although he did seem to like through hikers. This might have been the same guy that HOI was talking about.

  5. #5
    Registered User Smee's Avatar
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    Peter_Pan and I did that exact hike last September. Parked the car at the inn and caught a shuttle to the northern end of the park. We put in at the northern most AT crossing of the Parkway. Total mileage was something like 102 mi. We took 8 or 9 days, starting slow (7-10 miles/day) and doing 13-15 by weeks end. You can camp virtually anywhere - just pull off the trail far enough to be out of sight of the trail. We usually hung our hammocks near the shelters because of the availability of water and outhouses. It's a real enjoyable trip. Water is generally plentiful - but usually off the trail a quarter mile or so. Lots of great views. You can get an occasional meal at the snack bars at the major campgrounds and use the campground shower facilities as well.

    As the others have already said, it's important to get the backcountry permit upon entering the park. Be prepared to provide your itinerary on the form (Start point, direction of hike, and a few way points).

    Enjoy!
    Regards,
    Smee
    www.jacksrbetter.com

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