Last Updated: 09/16/2014
Welcome to a web site full of information on hiking in the Mid-Atlantic Region (PA, MD, VA and WV) ... topo maps, 3-D maps, elevation profiles, GPS data, directions, trail notes, photos.... everything you need to prepare for an excursion into the wilderness. Information for 318 hikes and over 3,657 trail miles are now available. Venues such as, but not limited to, Shenandoah National Park/VA, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, VA and WV, the Monongahela National Forest in WV, state forests throughout PA, Green Ridge State Forest in MD and regional, state, county and federal parks throughout the Mid-Atlantic region are represented.
"Yet in the walks I take through nature in quest of truth and demonstration, I recognize a poetry in earth and sea and sky, ruled in their cycles of harmonious actions, deeper and more sublime than ever muse un- taught in science could inspire." William B. Rogers: First State Geologist of VA, First president of M.I.T. and namesake of Mt. Rogers, Va.
Latest Published Hikes
Three Ponds Loop, PA
09/11/14: We've just added a new link - a forum page where you can ask questions of experienced peers in the hiking community. The Forum focuses on regional hiking but also has boards for external hikes, flora and fauna, tips and gear and general discussion.
05/03/2014: "The Mid-Atlantic Hiker's Guide: Central Maryland" is now finished. It includes 45 day hikes from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to Catoctin Mountain and from the Potomac River to the Mason-Dixon Line. The one hundred and eighty-four page book uses the same format as the West Virginia book (below). Orders are being taken.
After two years of hard work my first book is finally finished - Orders are now being accepted: The Mid-Atlantic Hikers Guide: WV. I've teamed up with Scott Adams Enterprises to produce a two hundred and eighty-nine page manuscript complete with large topo maps, elevation profiles and waypoint tables, all keyed together to totally integrate the hiking experience. There are sixty-four hikes in all, ranging from a 2 mile flip-flop walk to visit the beautiful Sandstone Falls on the New River to 25+ mile, three day, strenuous forays into the wilderness areas of the Mountain State, and all other kinds of hikes in between.
M. R. Hyker's Latest Adventure(s)
07/26-27/14: Quebec Run Wild Area Overnight Backpack: Some friends and I had previously explored this area on a day hike while camping at Cooperís Rock S.F., WV. I was so taken by the beauty of the forest that I promised myself I would return to spend the night there. I had originally schedule an arduous 3 day trip on the central part of the Laurel Highlands Trail but recent issues concerning what Iíll call trail fatigue made me reconsider the venue Ė downsizing to something that I was comfortable with and perhaps even prettier. Hardcore, Short Stack and Brendon met me at the West Friendship, MD park and ride and we made the 3 hour drive uneventfully except that a fawn ran out in front of my truck just 10 minutes from the trailhead. I totally ran over the poor thing but was amazed to see it run up a hill and out of sight as I looked in the rear view mirror. We met Lisa (a rookie) and Tracy exactly at 12:00 at the west parking lot on Rt 2001 Ė Skyline Drive. I planned the hike such that we would explore the upland hardwood forest first by following the Hess Trail to its terminus at the north parking lot. The towering maple, poplar and oak with a thick understory of ferns were something to behold.
We passed through several moist coves full of Rhododendron treating us to the last of their blooms. We took a break at about 2.5 miles (the Brocker Trail) and then another at 3.5 miles at the intersection with the Rankin Trail. We dropped our packs and explored a couple of awesome campsites buried under the Hemlocks along the upper reaches of Quebec Run. The canopy was so thick it almost seemed like it was nighttime. I imagine it would be hard to wake up a sleeping camper in the morning. Up to this point we had been hiking mostly downhill. The next mile required us to climb about 500 feet but only a couple of short sections were steep. We were in no hurry so took another break at the north parking lot before continuing on the Miller Trail which descends to Mill Run, gradually at first but then plunging steeply through a majestic Hemlock forest. We turned right onto the Mill Run Trail and soon found ourselves crossing Quebec Run on a stout bridge. The site that we wanted to camp at was already occupied but another 200 yard walk through giant Hemlocks brought us to an equally nice site complete with a fire ring and shallow swimming hole. The water level was low, revealing most of the rocks in the stream but the pool was deep enough to allow a weary hiking a chance to refresh and relax.
Distance: 6.8 miles
E.G.: 500 feet
The last weather forecast called for severe thunderstorms rolling into the Bruceton Mills area around 7:00. At a quarter til we heard the rumbling coming in from the west. We hastily finished up our dinner and hung the bear bags with about fifteen minutes to spare before all hell broke lose.
Let me tell you, Iíve camped out in the rain before, even thunder storms, but Iíve never experienced such a violent storm up close and personal like this. You know how youíre supposed to start counting when you see the lightning until you hear the thunder to estimate how far away the strike was? Well, many of the strikes occurred after 1000 Ö! I never got the ďand oneĒ out. Although it seemed longer the most intense part lasted about an hour. There was a light shower afterward but another storm hit a few hours later, not quite as intense but enough to shake the ground under us. After that episode a gentle rain fell until the wee hours of the morning. It was also amazing to just lay on my mattress and listen to the previously gurgling Quebec Run turn into a raging torrent. The next morning all of the rocks in the stream were hidden under the rapidly moving chocolate water.
Another bad weather event was supposed to come sometime after 12:00 so we broke camp early, wet gear and all, eating mostly snack bars and Pop Tarts for breakfast. We were on the trail a little after 8:00. Initially the hike continued to follow the west bank of Quebec Run with a few more campsites under the majestic giants before veering away from it and climbing steeply up a badly eroded road to the junction with the Tebolt Trail. There was a little bit more climbing after we turned onto it but for the next mile we enjoyed relatively flat to downhill walking through a hardwood forest as we did the day before. At the bottom of the descent we caught a glimpse of Tebolt Run (It was also raging.) but the trail soon gained a bit of elevation to follow the stream from above. We could hear it but couldnít see it. The next mile was a roller coaster affair with short ups and downs as the trail crossed several streams that are usually considered part time but not today. We were making good time so we took a 15 minute packs off break at the Quebec Run Road crossing. As we continued the hike we were once again plunged into the world of Hemlocks and Rhododendron thickets. The trail zig-zagged as it crossed a tributary of Tebolt Run on a bridge before joining an old railroad grade. There were a few flat stretches but generally speaking we were mostly walking uphill, gradually at first but steeper near the end. We had already climbed 500 feet. Over the last 2 miles we would climb 700 more. We had to splash across the stream towards the end. The stream was running so high that part of it was flowing down the trail between the two fords, making its own shortcut. As we approached the parking lot spur the grade steepened but I pushed on to meet the rest of the crew
at the trail junction. We were out of the woods by 11:30. We changed our clothes and headed for the Little Sandy Truck Stop for brunch before heading home.
Over the last 10 years I have sampled many of the backpacking venues that the Keystone State has to offer and, as far as sheer beauty goes, this one has to be in my top 10 favorites.
Distance: 5.9 miles
E.G.: 1200 feet
Latest Outing Critiques
Name: Steve E. Hike: Roaring Creek Tract
Date: 09/13/14 Rating: 2.5
Critique: I did not heed the advice of an earlier reviewer and failed to call ahead to check the camping status. I arrived in the morning to discover the area is currently closed to camping. I had intending to stay one night, however decided to hike the loop in one day and substituted the Roaring Creek Trail for the South Branch Trail. Blazes are not the most obvious on Big Mountain Trail and there are numerous other paths leading in other directions. I went on a rainy day with low visibility and had a difficult time keeping the trail. There are some nice views of the reservoir, but make sure to call ahead!
Name: k8tlevy Hike: Old Loggers Path
Date(s): 08/30-31/14 Rating: 4
did this as a two day fast and light backpacking trip over Labor
Day Weekend - loved it, even though it rained like crazy one of
the days! Didn't see the road to Masten was out until we tried
to drive in on it Friday night. Luckily, the detour was easy to
Name: Wooly Bully, Shortstack, Christopher Robins Hike: Otter Creek Backpack (modified)
Date(s): 08/16-18/14 Rating: 4
Critique: Having a base camp in mind we changed this hike to proceed
directly to the waterfall area. We originally planned to camp at the
Otter Creek / Moore Run / Possession Camp Trail junction, but ended up
proceeding further north to find an open site. Busy day, lots of
campers. But easy to why so many come here, the falls and deep pools of
Otter Creek make for great swimming in about as scenic a place as can
be. At this point we decided to ditch the base camp and proceed with a
regular backpack. We stopped at a really nice site, where Moore Run
joins Otter Creek. We spend most of our time hanging out on the large
flat rock, real nice views upstream, downstream, and to the side with
Moore run flowing toward us. Pretty cool having dinner practically in
the middle of the creek! Chris made a great campfire, and we hung out
real late to
9:30 or so.
Name: Eric Hike: Pulpit Rock-Pinnacle Loop
Dates: 08/31/14 Rating: 4
Critique: Long rocky hike with good views as the payoff. Took much longer than anticipated due to rocky terrain. Bring plenty of water and watch for snakes... we saw two timber rattlers (a first for us in PA!) at the Pinnacle and some other hikers saw copperheads at Pulpit Rock. I would not recommend it for kids less than 8 or 9 years old unless they are accomplished hikers.
Green Ridge North Circuit
Date: 08/16/14 Rating: 3
I took this circuit
as an overnighter to test some new gear. I started near campsite 1.
I was glad to find that the blazes were recently painted, and Pine
Lick in blue, Twin Oaks in purple, unlike the description above. I
ended up doing most of the circuit the first day, and camped in
campsite 11. I was surprised to find all the small streams dry, and
15 Mile Creek was an occasional stagnant, muddy , shallow puddle. I
took 2 liters of water and took the last gulp when I reached the
car. Overall a nice walk in the woods, but maybe better for late
spring when the water might still be flowing.
Morgan Run Loop
day is it? Work it, work it...
Date: 08/16/14 Rating: 3
Critique: I took this circuit as an overnighter to test some new gear. I started near campsite 1. I was glad to find that the blazes were recently painted, and Pine Lick in blue, Twin Oaks in purple, unlike the description above. I ended up doing most of the circuit the first day, and camped in campsite 11. I was surprised to find all the small streams dry, and 15 Mile Creek was an occasional stagnant, muddy , shallow puddle. I took 2 liters of water and took the last gulp when I reached the car. Overall a nice walk in the woods, but maybe better for late spring when the water might still be flowing.
Name: Tim Hike: Morgan Run Loop
Date: 06/17/14 Rating: 5
day is it? Work it, work it...
Name: Ed S.
Pond Run-White Rocks
Rating: 4 Critique:
This was a good long hike, worthy for its good views and cascading
runs. I think the Tuscarora/Pond Run summit vista is the best vista
along the loop, though White Rocks itself also gives an expansive
view of the Shenandoah Valley, Massanuttens, and Blue Ridge. Due to
recent rain, the Pond Run section creek crossings were easy cold
fords, with other areas of the trail becoming flood channels. The
long climb up Pond Run gave me a good workout. The logging road
section of the Tuscarora was basically a stream until the Racer Camp
Hollow Trail, where the stream became a broad alluvial fan. Pink
ladyslippers were prevalent throughout the highland parts of the
hike. Waites Run was flowing very well, allowing good photographic
opportunities, and it was very good the plank crossing along the Old
Mail Trail was there, as fording there would be through thigh deep
fast flowing water.
Date: 05/18/14 Rating: 4
Critique: This was a good long hike, worthy for its good views and cascading runs. I think the Tuscarora/Pond Run summit vista is the best vista along the loop, though White Rocks itself also gives an expansive view of the Shenandoah Valley, Massanuttens, and Blue Ridge. Due to recent rain, the Pond Run section creek crossings were easy cold fords, with other areas of the trail becoming flood channels. The long climb up Pond Run gave me a good workout. The logging road section of the Tuscarora was basically a stream until the Racer Camp Hollow Trail, where the stream became a broad alluvial fan. Pink ladyslippers were prevalent throughout the highland parts of the hike. Waites Run was flowing very well, allowing good photographic opportunities, and it was very good the plank crossing along the Old Mail Trail was there, as fording there would be through thigh deep fast flowing water.