Last Updated: 05/21/2015
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
02/22/15: I believe we have recovered and posted photos for all of the hikes on this website. Please contact us if you find any broken or incorrect links.
01/08/15: Our 2015 winter/summer hiking schedule is now posted.
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)
04/04/15 – Michaux SF, AT/Blueberry Trail/Dead Woman’s Hollow Road Circuit: This was the first “new” hike that I’ve done since last July. Up front I want to thank Aegiss III for the gpx file he sent me and his tips. I was joined by Hardcore, The Mad Hatter, Wooly Bully and Christopher Robbins.
The AT parking lot on Shipensburg road is a large gravel affair enclosed by a corral and small pine trees. We began our hike NOBO on the AT, first through a pine forest on a wide grassy, woods road and then the more typical rocky footpath through mixed hardwood forest over rolling terrain. In 1,1 miles we reached the junction of the Dead Woman Hollow Road (our return route). Lore has it that a local woman whose name has long been forgotten was bitten by a snake in the hollow and died there. There is a nice parking area here should a hiker prefer to shorten this 8 mile circuit by 2 miles. Shortly after passing this intersection the AT joins the access road for the Michner cabin (a PATC rental). Once again we were walking on mostly flat, smooth trail covered with pine straw. In ¾ miles the AT makes a 90 degree left turn while the access road becomes the Blueberry Trail. We reach the occupied Michner cabin in ¼ mile.
After a short conversation we continue on the Blueberry Trail, now a nice footpath weaving through mountain laurel thickets. (To further shorten the hike one can alternately take the Dead Woman Hollow “Trail”.) We stop at a small rock pile in 0.7 miles near the edge of the eastern flank of South Mountain incorrectly thinking that we were at a vista created by recent logging activity but another couple hundred yards brings us to a rocky ledge, a much better view point. I think Christopher Robins got better shots than I as he was able to maneuver around on the rocks.
Hardcore scouted out the continuation of the trail which was hard to pickup at this point. Over the next ½ mile the trail descended rather steeply to the point that I was reaching out to grab trees to prevent myself from falling. There were a couple of switchbacks but they did little to help. As the steepness relented we arrive at an obvious trail junction. My GPS and the Hatter’s old PATC map told us we should turn right here. But Wooly’s newer PATC map did not show the trail at all. There was a blaze but it had been blackened out – usually a sign that the trail has been abandoned. We continued following the blue blazes thinking that perhaps there had been a trail relocation but I continued to monitor my GPS. When I saw we were quickly approaching Rt 233 my original assumption proved correct. Not wanting to do a road walk on that dangerous road we retreated to the abandoned trail. After a few steps it became a woods road, an obvious extension of Dead Woman Hollow Road. It was wide and mostly grassy. After an easy 0.7 mile walk we reached the road itself. We looked for and found an unofficial trail that was on the gpx file I was using but it seemed to peter out after a 100 yards or so. At this point we didn’t feel an “adventure” was warranted, and on second thought realizing that what looked like an apparent stream crossing on the map might be a bit more than merely technical, we opted to just follow the road back up to the AT. It was a long 1.9 mile climb gaining 800 feet over that distance but there was only one or two parts that might be considered remotely steep. Otherwise it was just a long, continuous slog. We did manage to find the upper end of the stream trail a bit more than halfway up. It was just before the southern terminus of the Dead Woman Hollow “Trail”. Once we reached the AT we took a short break and then retraced our initial 1.1 miles back to the truck. At 8 miles and 1400 feet of E.G. it was the ideal hike for a sunny but blustery spring day.
Latest Outing Critiques
Name: Sara Hike: Jones Mt-Staunton River Loop
Date(s): 05/11/15 Rating: 5
Critique: My boyfriend and I completed this outing over two days in early May. We entered the park from Skyline Drive (warning, there's a $20 fee to enter Skyline Drive). Once you park at the Booten Gap lot, you veer left onto the AT (white blazed trail). It's a slight uphill journey until you quickly reach a trail marker that is a concrete post and very easy to read (they are available throughout the hike, you will have no problems staying on the trail or getting lost on this hike). Here, you veer right onto the Laurel Prong Trail which is for the most part downhill on the side of the mountain, crossing various neat rocks until you reach the very bottom of the mountain and another trail marker to turn right onto Cat's Knob Trail. This is probably one of the steepest inclines of the trip, but it doesn't last for too long and it is beautiful toward the top. You climb beautiful rocks and level out at the top. There isn't a "view" up here, but you can see mountains all around you in the distance. Continuing from here, you reach the Jones Mountain Trail. From here it is up and down, nothing too steep. You pass through rock gardens and woods, and there are no good spots to camp until you reach the very tip of the mountain. Here you will find a premade campsite on the left hand side. There are two large rock formations on either side, a fire ring in the middle, and behind are the strange swirly trees you have seen throughout the Jones Mountain Trail. It felt like a very safe spot to camp because it was enclosed on two sides, but it does get very windy, so be sure to secure your tent and rain fly. After spending the night, we began to climb down, only moments after leaving our campsite ran into a little side trail that opens up to a rock facing 5 layers of mountains. It's the most beautiful viewpoint on the trip. Continuing down, we eventually made it to another trail marker that included the Jones Mountain Cabin, which we opted to see. It was a downhill journey which led to a fresh spring and some log seating. After filling up on water, we climbed back up and onto the Staunton River Trail. One of the more beautiful trails, for the most part it follows and crosses the river, plus there were more than a few spots to hop into the water to cool off. Once you veer away from the river it is a longer trek uphill, and one of the toughest for me the entire trip. Eventually, you reach a gravel road that leads you back to the Jones Mountain trail, through cats knob, and back up the laurel prong to the AT. I rated this hike a 5 star because of its balance of beauty and difficulty. It was the perfect two day hike and the campsite was beautiful in the morning (we watched the sunrise). I might even suggest if you make it to camp soon enough, watching the sunset from the view point I mentioned that is just after the campsite, it is truly breathtaking, and if we knew about it beforehand we certainly would have watched the sunset there. The hike was amazing and I can't wait to try another trail like this soon!
Name: Sushant Hike: Conestoga Trail
Date: 05/02/15 Rating: 3.5
parked our car near Pinnacle Overlook and went all the way to
Martie Forge and then all the way back to Pinnacle Overlook.
Name: Pete Lynch Hike: Ricketts Glen Falls Hike
Date: 05/03/15 Rating: 5
I got there on a
Sunday and took a look around the park. I hiked the Bear
Walk/Highland/Cherry Run loop to get a feel for the place. Very
crowded so I decided to come back early the next day and hike
the entire Falls Trail, starting at the rt-118 trailhead.
Name: Travisw Hike: Big Mountain/Pine Tree Vista
Date: 05/02/15 Rating: 4.4
Critique: Started on map off tower road at the top of Big Mtn so I can understand how starting down on Aughwick road and climbing 900' would definitely get the ole lungs and heart working. I am surprised to see this trail, as steep as it is, is very well maintained and little to no wash out all things considered. I took my 19 yr old son this day as we had to sort some stuff out. We saw porcupine, turkey, deer and hawks. Big moutain overlook well worth it despite the element of graffiti. This overlook is most likely beautiful in any season. Only have a few items to watch out for. The old logging road, easy to follow but once it's ready to enter back into forest.....super marshy!! Need to walk up in woods to avoid sinking in 6 or more inches at spots. The sign at the fork for Fore trail appears to have dry rotted off tree and is is wedged between two trees pointed wrong direction. Unfortunately my son and I chose the wrong trail, which was Fore trail. This trail gets to be very interpretive at spots as seems to follow a temporary creek bed and it is super steep. The 500' climb up Klines (Kings?) trail was not as rewarding as I thought it would be..maybe best viewed when all leaves are off trees...this trail as well was straight up and a heart and lung metiator. All in all I have done all three hikes in this area listed and absolutely loved it. Well worth it!
Name: Kurt Hike: Pinchot Trail-South
Date9s): 05/09-10/15 Rating: 4
Critique: Friend and I did the south loop counter-clockwise, 5 miles on Saturday (3hr) and about 9 on Sunday (5hr). Very well-marked and easy on day 1, camped near the second-to-last of the 6 watered sites -- there's an unmarked adjacent site, very well-established, on a small island right next to the marked one. Requires hopping across a small stream, but has much much better tent spots, a row of stone chairs(!!!), and a nice firepit (which we sadly didn't get to use because of seasonal burn bans). Look just upstream from #5 out of 6 and you'll see it. #4 looked nice as well but was occupied. Day 2 was MUCH rockier but very peaceful, no people in sight the entire time, very varied surroundings that passes through lots of different areas. The trail was quite overgrown and blocked by deadfall in many places. We went up and down Stone Lookout at high noon, there was no shade and it was pretty brutal! Make sure you stock up on water for the last stretch, we didn't see any at all past the end of Birch Still Tr. and it's easily the toughest part. Excellent trail guide overall, much better than the printed DCNR one!
Name: Ber Hike; Roaring Creek Tract
Date: 04/18/15 Rating: 4
Critique: Good hike. We started around 9:45. First hill is no joke but ounce your up you can cover ground fairly quickly and your’e going to want to. There wasn't much going on along the big mountain ridge line a couple of coal pits but very lacking in vistas. Wildlife was quite plentiful; owls, salamander, snails, chipmunks, snake, butterflies, deer, coyotes, hawks, turkeys, ducks and geese that love to wake you up in the middle of the night. Being one of the first warm weekends this year it was quite busy, people riding 4 wheelers on the big mountain trail as well as mountain bikers and lots of folks of the main rd. maps or gps comes in handy for the fact that all trails are marked in red can get you turned around a little bit. Sign at entrance says closed for camping however all other resources we check said "primitive camping" was aloud with a open fire ban march 1- May 25 so we used a tiny stove. We ended up putting in 14 miles the first day due to the fact that good camp sites along the south branch roaring creek trail can be tough to find but if you keep going there is a great one. Terrain is rocky have ankle support. Overall if you put in some tough work the first couple of hours you can be at camp and relaxed next to the beautiful lake by 4pm with only a 4 mile walk out the next morning.
Critique: The trail
notes are a little bit dated but they are more than sufficient to
follow the intended trail. This is a nice hike with some great
scenery along the river. Very little contact with others along the
way except for a few fly fishermen. The trail is mostly flat along
the river but there is enough up and down in other places for a some
cardio challenge. The scenery along the Panther Branch gorge (around
5.5 miles) is especially magnificent.
Date: 04/15/15 Rating: 4
Critique: The trail notes are a little bit dated but they are more than sufficient to follow the intended trail. This is a nice hike with some great scenery along the river. Very little contact with others along the way except for a few fly fishermen. The trail is mostly flat along the river but there is enough up and down in other places for a some cardio challenge. The scenery along the Panther Branch gorge (around 5.5 miles) is especially magnificent.