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                              Last Updated: 04/15/2014


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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 308 hikes and over 3,565 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.


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"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

GWNF-Fridley Gap Circuit, VA

Michaux SF-Glatfelter Area, PA

Bird Knob Circuit, VA



Bulletin Board



02/03/2013: The second in the series of books I am writing - The Mid-Atlantic Hiker's Guide - Central Maryland - is now in the print shop. 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) and will be on sale in about three weeks. Orders are now 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)


04-13-14 – Browns Hollow-Massanutten-South Loop (AKA The Lost Trail Hike): As reported a couple of episodes ago we had tried to expand upon the Bird Knob hike by hooking up with the Browns Hollow Trail. After descending what we thought was way to far from the top of Big Mountain we reluctantly retreated causing us to add a substantial amount of mileage and elevation gain to the hike. We were pretty beat by the end of the day but promised to return to find “The Lost Trail”. 

I was joined by Sixteen Penny, Single Malt, Chris and Bill. All but Single Malt were involved in the original exploration. This time I had the latest edition of PATC map H and its companion guide book as well as the appropriate waypoints loaded into my GPS. We would seek out the Browns Hollow Trail from its northern terminus. From the old visitor center we descended on the Nature Trail and then the Massanutten-South Trail. As we passed through the picnic area the Massanutten Trail turned to the left towards its terminus on U.S. 211. and, lo and behold, the pink blazed Browns Hollow Trail turned right onto an old logging road. Piece of cake!

The road descended to the Run bearing the same name. Through the trees I could see the twin peaks at the end of Short Horse Mountain. According to the map we were going to make a long and gradual switchback up to their bases but the trail isn’t laid out that way at all. Instead it proceeds straight up the hollow to a saddle between Big and Short Horse Mountains, first above the west bank of the stream and then the east side. The entire ascent was on a logging road except for a section of about 0.5 miles that was recently cut out by machine. I was quite happy with the amount of waterworks we saw. There were numerous mini-falls and chutes and one thin waterfall descending from Big Mountain that was somewhere between twenty and thirty feet tall. It was hard to see its top. In 4.7 miles we we sitting at Roaring Run Gap enjoying our lunch.   

We continue on and in minutes come upon the purple blazes of the Roaring Run Trail which we had used in our aborted attempt. We turned right onto it and in minutes found ourselves at our previous stopping point. We paced ourselves and made the steep climb to the crest of Big Mountain where we took in the view of Shenandoah National Park through the trees. The last 4.7 miles was a repeat of what we completed last week: a long 0.8 mile uphill walk on gravel mountain road followed by a pleasant1.2 mie pine-lined fire road walk, a somewhat rocky ridge 0.9 mile walk to a wonderful vista topped off with a 1.5 mile descent through numerous rock gardens to our starting point. The descent wasn’t near as bad as it was last week. I enjoyed this hike so much I’m making room for it in my upcoming book.

Read More Adventures Here!



Latest Outing Critiques

Name: Chris R.                                                                                                              Hike: Old Loggers Path

Date(s): 04/12 to 13/14                                                                                                      Rating: 3


Critique: THE BRIDGE AT MASTEN HAS NOW BEEN REPAIRED. I wanted to inform hikers that the bridge is rebuilt. Pleasant stream road is still closed to traffic from around Masten for about 3 miles west to about Short run. According to the ranger at Hillsgrove, it is open for hikers to make a loop out of the southern or northern loop, but is undrivable. The road is now in the process of being repaired as well. Attached is a picture of the bridge if needed. Heading counterclockwise from Masten, there is a nice break spot at a campsite off to the right of the trail about a mile or so before the intersection of Rock Run and Yellow dog run. We discovered a seeping water fall below the small cliff below the campsite which was a pleasant surprise. After teaming up with a group of 6 guys from south Jersey we headed out to Rock Run for a one night loop hike. Due to time we made a small loop using Old Loggers Path clockwise from Masten to Rock Run/Yellow dog run. Then returned to Masten via Old loggers Path to Ellenton Road, to Short Run trail, Cherry Ridge trail back to Old Loggers path. It took about 3 1/2 hours to hike back from Rock Run campsite. Note: If you plan on arriving late into Masten contact the Hillsgrove Ranger Station off of Rt. 87 to get a camping permit in the C.C.C camp prior to getting going the next morning.



Name: Sally                                                                                                                             Hike: Dolly Sods North Backpack

Date(s): 04/12 to 13/14                                                                                                      Rating: 5


Critique: I did a quick overnight trip and was not disappointed. A few notes: 1. The signage is much better than when this trail was first described. In places where it is indicated there is just a post or a cairn, there are now clear signs. 2. That said -- there are points where a certain trail turns or looks uncertain and there are no blazes to guide you. The description is very helpful here -- also look for footprints. 3. Some boggier places now have wooden walkways, which are nice. 4. This hike was wet when I went, but the weather was nice, so it worked out. Definitely prepare with waterproof boots! And bring extra socks! You're going to need them. A pair of Chacos or the like for crossing streams would be a nice extra. 5. You have to park farther away than this description indicates -- this adds about a mile at the beginning and end of the hike. And the beginning, it's all uphill. At the end, it's downhill. 6. You should pack in water for the first couple of miles as there isn't a place to get water until you're on the hike (so fill up at home or at a rest stop). Once on the hike, there are about 4 places to fill up on water: the first is your first crossing of Red Creek. The second is the small spring described next to the emergency camping spot (though I wouldn't be certain if this would be flowing in dryer times or late summer), the fourth is at your camping spot by red creek, and the fifth is when you cross Red Creek again on the second day. I liked so many sure opportunities for water since it meant I didn't have to carry a lot (which is heavy!) This was a fantastic trip. The weather in mid April was very warm and the solitude was a delight. There were small patches of snow left, which I took advantage of when I got hot and put a scoop in my cap to cool down. I will definitely be returning.



Name: Dan M.                                                                                                                          Hike: Rocky Top-Big Run

Date(s): 04/05-06/14                                                                                                          Rating: 5


Critique: I have spent a lot of time in SNP, and this by far has to be my favorite hike. I did this in early April as an overnight with my girlfriend. This hike has everything that SNP has to offer. Great views of the valley and rolling mountains. Talus slope crossings. Great wildlife. Stream crossings and a nice walk along a beautiful stream. The trail directions were spot on except THE LAST TWO MENTIONED CAMPSITES ARE NOT THERE. The last two campsites have no camping signs posted in them. I assume they were over used and the park wants to rehab the nature in that area. So if you do this as an overnight and do not want to stop 7 miles in. Make sure you understand there are no official camp sites on the hike. The other thing that I feel the writer left out is you will not come to an area where you can refill your water until the first set of campsites (midpoint Approx. 7 miles in). I did this in April so I was okay with the water I brought. But in the summer, if you don't have enough water this could be tough. You are exposed for a large part of the beginning of this hike if done as the writer dictates the directions. This is a MUST DO hike in SNP. Enjoy!



Name: Kyle                                                                                                                              Hike: MST-Brush Ridge Backpack

Date(s): 03/14-16/14                                                                                                          Rating: 3.5


Critique: The hiking started out well. The MST is fairly narrow and did not seem well traveled. We decided to take the shortcut and head down the Mutterbaugh trail. This was one of my favorite trails. The stream was great and the isolation was great. The trip took a turn for the worse when we reached the intersection of the Otter Gap trail and Penn Roosevelt Trail. Directions were "Follow the trail to the left. At the absolute low point of the gap the Otter Gap Trail (hard to see) goes left while the Penn-Roosevelt trail goes right. Continue straight, climbing out of the gap. Reach a pretty vernal pond in 0.9 miles and the junction with the Chestnut Spring Spur on the left (No sign but obvious). This area, being at a high point, is another place won’t might be able to set up a tent". Well we went left and then realized our mistake and doubled back. Then we tried to go "straight" and there was nothing of a trail to follow. We bushwhacked for a while and eventually doubled back to Penn Roosevelt trail to make camp for the night. In the morning we decided to just take the Penn Roosevelt trail up and over the ridge. Well the trail kind of stopped and looked to go right. After a while we decided that couldn't be right and just bee lined it up the ridge and over the other side. The trails are not marked well or very much at all. The directions were good until the Otter Creek/Penn Roosevelt trail. Enjoyed the hike nonetheless, but just wish it all worked out better.



Name: Craig Hardy                                                                                                                Hike: Big Schloss

Date(s): 02/22-23/14                                                                                                           Rating: 5


Critique: I did this hike as a 1st backpack of the season thinking that the weather was great in Richmond so it would be good in the mountains. What a surprise to see so much snow. I attempted to do this hike as outlined in the Hiking VA guide book by Bill and Mary Burnham. You find the trailhead on Waites Run Road as you make your way behind the town of Wardensville, WV. The trail starts off just near the bridge and quickly gains elevation following the main creek with multiple crossings. As there was a lot of snow runoff, the water was really flowing. The trail tops out in a hardwood forest on the ridge with a major intersection of the Tuscarora, Half Moon, and Mill Mountain Trails. Interestingly there are several board walks in this section, presumably for the bog type environment. I then hiked in very deep snow in the direction of Big Schloss. The guidebook says to stay on the new Tuscarora trail and not take the cutoff so I did that on the way up. On the way back I did break bad and follow this cutoff to save time and not have to walk so far in the snow. I saw the airway beacon ruins and did not think it was such a much. I did meet up with a group of guys from PA at the Sandstone spring and thought it was a nice place to camp. The next item of note was the overlook on the Mill Mountain trail The view was pretty amazing. I caught a glimpse of Big Schloss off to the left and decided to push on. The view from the top was amazing and even more so was the feat of engineering to have built a huge footbridge at the top of the mountain. I have often wondered how they got the material up there. It had to be by helicopter. Sadly there were folks setting up camp at the summit. It was getting late so it was time to head down. I made it back to Sandstone Spring to find I had this great site to myself. I saw the other review and hope that I do not catch anything as I did not filter my water. The next day was a bit easier as a bit more snow did melt overnight and I was back tracking in a lot of my own footprints. I did not see a soul on the way back down Sunday am. I really want to come back here in the summer when the weather is warmer. This is a great hike with a great view. I highly recommend it.



Name: Mike                                                                                                                              Hike: Morgan Run

Date: 02/09/14                                                                                                                       Rating: 4


Critique: The trail description is excellent, very helpful towards the end of the loop, as trails can get pretty confusing. Did this trip after an ice storm came thru the previous week and found numerous trees down across the trail, mountain biking trails will need major clean up. The poor/snow covered trail conditions lead to a very isolated experience, as I did not see another person the whole trip. Wonderfully quiet, came across a large Red Fox, numerous Hawks and four deer. A snow storm made the last 1-1/2 hours even more amazing. Less the sprint back across the bridge to my car, that was a little sketchy



Name: Megan                                                                                                                          Hike: Ramseys Draft-East

Date(s): 11/16-17/13                                                                                                           Rating: 5


Critique: I absolutely loved this hike. It was certainly difficult, especially it being my first overnight backpacking trip. Going after all the leaves had fallen provided little traffic on the trail and amazing views along the ridge line. We camped on Big Bald Knob, which did make for a windy and cold night, but that was to be expected. The second day was very different from the first going down into the valley with slippery and difficult footing at many times. We did not mind having to climb over several large fallen trees or rock hopping, for us it only added to the adventure and enjoyment. It was absolutely beautiful the whole way. Be mindful however that during the wet season you have to be very careful of your footing past the spring so as to not slip. We packed enough water to last us the first full day since there is no other good source of water, then refilled at the spring which is your best bet of clean water because further down into the valley there are several beaver dams which can contaminate the water. We did actually see 2 bears separately, which was fantastic, though also something to be mindful of safety wise, and lots of scat along the path. This in my opinion was a great hike, I would suggest however that this not be hiked in the middle of the summer considering that would make you lose those great views and would make trudging through all the brush very difficult.



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