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                              Last Updated: 01/16/2015

                             

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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 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.

 

Please read the Terms of Use before using this website then click on the desired state on the map to the left to continue.

 

 

"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.

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Latest Published Hikes

Quebec Run Backpack, PA

Three Ponds Loop, PA

Upper North River-Bald Mountain Backpack

Wild Oak National Recreation Trail-South, VA

Wild Oak National Recreation Trail-Grooms Ridge Trail, VA

 

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Bulletin Board

 

01/08/15: Our 2015 winter/summer hiking schedule is now posted.

 

01/08/15: For years I had sent my photos to the Howard County Group of the MD Sierra Club which the Outing Chair posted on their website and (hoping to prevent redundancy and unnecessary work) we linked our hike pages to them. Recently the MD chapter decided to consolidate all groups under one website. In their infinite wisdom they removed all of the group photo pages w/o notifying us. As a result there are now over 100 broken photo links on our site. The group Outing Chair will begin sending me files when he returns in February. It is going to take a lot of unscheduled needless work to redo the effected pages. Of course this had to happen as I am gearing up to begin leading hikes again!

 

 

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.

 

 

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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

Read More Adventures Here!

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Latest Outing Critiques

Name: lwtrekpa                                                                                               Hike: AT-Old Horse-shoe Trail Loop

Date: 12/24/14                                                                                                          Rating: 4.5

 

Critique: The is long hike, but not a majorly difficult one. Please plan time wise for this hike. I would venture to say at least 5 hrs if your going to take in glimpses of DeHart's Reservoir along AT, sign register at northern terminus on Horshoe, stop at Devil's Race Course, Water Tank, Stony  Mtn Fire tower,  lunch and water breaks and any other small venture you may encounter along way(i.e. Snakes, Deer, grouse, frogs, etc). I've done this hike the way described, backwards, used both the blue and H. Knauber trail to ascend and descend. Note, if you want more of a vigorous challenge,  do this hike in reverse or use the H.Knauber to ascend up to Old Horshoe Trail. Either pink connector or H Kauber are real good climbs up Stony Mtn. If one wants to shorten this hike slightly and still see all the sights but the actual water tank, I have an alternate route. When ascending Old Horshoe Trail and you see the start of the red blazed H.Knauber trail..turn right onto it and take it. this takes you thru a bit of a marshy area depending on time of year but climbs to the crest of Stony Mtn. Once there you will see a rock cairn where you can turn right onto red blazed H. Knauber and continue down Mtn or go straight onto a blue blazed trail. Follow blue hashes along a trail that takes you along ridge of Stony Mtn and winds up at Stony Mtn Fire tower. After spending time at tower continue on regular road that takes you back to Old Horshoe trail(people also refer to this as Ellendale road). I absolutely love this trail for the variety and time away from "it all"!  During hunting seasons please wear at least some orange.

 

 

Name: lwtrekpa                                                                       Hike: Stone Tower 

Date: 11/15/14                                                                                                          Rating: 4.3

 

Critique: Directions are pretty spot on. As far as trailhead goes, your are more apt to see blue spots on tree off 325 heading east away from Deharts reservoir then you will be coming west. A good guesstimate would be that the trailhead is 1.5 miles away from inlet side of reservoir. Parking is best on opposing side of trailhead about 50 yards past (going east) the trailhead.
     This is definitely one of those circuit hikes that makes you feel like your in the middle of nowhere. Once on pink connector trail I did not hear any traffic at all from 325 the rest of the day. The climb and descent from Stony Mountain were both lung and knee testers. I would not recommend this hike for beginner hikers or for low cut/sneaker style boots.
     Was witness to grazing flock of turkeys as I reached the top of Stony mtn just before Stony Tower. I was amazed I could get my trusty four legged friend to sit still long enough to observe this spectacle. Stone Tower and village of Yellow Springs are a testament to the will of man to succeed and overcome any obstacles be it elevation, terrain or inclement conditions. Ran into some weekend warrior AT hikers at Stone Tower and their 4 legged friend. The kids had a good romp thru the woods. Thanks to these guys I got an education on merino wool (check it out!!!) Its well worth the price even if it's not 100%).
      This was the prettiest and most manicured section of the AT that I have hiked on thus far. I embellished the serenity that this section of the trail lent me.
      Had lunch with the "General" as there was makeshift fire pit and logs surrounding it that made it an ideal place to stop and try regain some energy before the ascent back up Sharp Mtn.  The vista from the yellow blazed trail is "ok". One has to be a bit of a mountain goat to get out onto rock and stay on the rock to get most from the vista.
      If you have done any of the other SGL 211 loop hikes this one has to be on your bucket list for sure.

 

 

Name: iwtrekpa                                                                                                          Hike: Lebanon Reservoir - Sharp Mt

Date: 05/25/13                                                                                                          Rating: 4.6

 

Critique: This hike was posted previously about 2 years ago as a new hike but has been changed slightly since that time. The now posted red blazed Black Spring trail that you pick up off the end of the state game land road(where box car rocks/chinese wall branches off) used to follow the gas line the whole way down to Evening Branch creek. I haven't tried to find this trail but I can tell you following the previously posted gas line down sharp mountain was super wet and sloppy and the trail was like a deer trail that at times I literally was crawling on my hands and knees to navigate thru. Whether navigating the gas line or following Black Spring trail, the challenge at the bottom is finding a way to cross Evening Branch without getting soaked (you will get soaked).
    If starting at the reservoir, the hike as described is as beautiful as it gets. Stunning views of the reservoir and across the reservoir can be seen from many spots. I have spotted several bald eagles roosting and flying across reservoir in past 2 years.  Foliage no matter what time of year really is stunning. The view from rock piles as described over to Broad Mtn. are really beautiful. The rock formations along state game land road as result of mining operations are really something to see...I would venture to guess there isn't many times hikers can see these types of formations.
     Another secret about the reservoir is there are several locations along the main trail where smaller trails jut off in the direction of the reservoir and/or feeder streams such as Evening Branch or Fishing Creek that have steel cable crossings that allow hikers to cross over streams that are too wide to cross by foot.  There are times in spring or after periods of rain that your attempt to ford across Fishing Creek is next to impossible to pick trail up again. If you back track towards reservoir about 1/4 mile and keep your eyes peeled to creek you will see a cable crossing. Once across , just bushwhack upstream until it runs into trail again.
   The 3rd caveat is not all true (in the description).  If doing the full loop and you find yourself on the path above the dam, the trail continues on in a slight upward path back into woods on a defined path down thru woods and brings you out on the back side of one of the municipal buildings that you passed on your trek up to the dam at the start of hike. I'm most certain the municipality of Lebanon would not want people hanging on their chain link fence in an attempt to descend the hill and then have people try and rock hop across what would considered a spillway to the dam.

 

 

Name: Merv                                                                                                                Hike: Middle Creek WMA

Date: 12/27/14                                                                                                         Rating: 4

 

Critique: Like many PA trails, major portions of this trail go through active hunting areas.  It is highly recommended that all hikers wear orange just like hunters in order to be highly visible.  Unfortunately, our group did not anticipate this, and when we could clearly hear shots being fired, decided not forgo taking the full circuit.

We did, however, still take the conservation trail and then walked along the lake via the road.  There were dozens of swans and a couple thousand snow geese in the lake which made up for the fact that we had more of a long walk than a hike.

I look forward to going back with the proper attire and/or out of hunting season.

 

 

Name: Jason Dashbach                                                                                             Hike: Roaring Plains Base Camp and Day Hike

Date(s): 10/4-5/14                                                                                                  Rating: 5

 

Critique: Four of us did this hike the first weekend of October 2014. It is a really wonderful walk with amazing views at many points along the canyon rim. We found ourselves staring the hike with snow flurries at the trail head but no real snow ever came. The temps stayed seasonably low both days but we didnít see much precipitation after that.
The trail can be difficult to follow in places and we took a couple of wrong turns, most notably while looking for the tee pee trail at the end of day 1. We took a trail that was marked with a cairn about where we thought it should be but we had turned off the rim a little too early and had to back track once we realized we were walking on the wrong heading. The tee pee trailhead is at the opposite end of a well-used campsite, so if you are looking for it and are not at a camp site you havenít found it. Even once you are within the camp site it is not obvious and it is concealed with some small pines and brush. The canyon rim trail just passed that same campsite is also the most difficult to follow section of the overall trail, at least it was for us. Prior to that section it was fairly straightforward and we didnít have any major issues finding the way. I would also recommend that you fill up on water at the streams when you pass them. The whole reason we were looking for the tee-pee trail was because the rest of the campsites along the rim were dry and we didnít have enough water left for dinner and breakfast so we were going to cut off the last horn on the rim and camp closer to water.
Our original plan for the hike had been to camp at the big site about 2 miles from the trailhead per the trail notes and then do the rim as a day hike without packs but there was a HUGE group (no joke 30-40 people doing trail maintenance) there already so we figured we would just use one of the other sites along the way and we kept pushing on to the next one and the next one and then got to a point where everything left was dry and a good ways from any water. It didnít help that we walked on what we thought was the tee pee for a good 20 minutes before realizing the mistake.
We definitely could have done a few things differently on this hike to make it a more comfortable experience but we still had a great time and the views were beautiful. We also ended up sharing the site with another group of super nice people who got a great fire going so things worked out even with some wrong turns, more weight and less water than planned. I will definitely go back as it will be much easier the second time around having some actual experience with the route.

 

 

Name: Jason Dashbach                                                                                            Hike: Allegheny Front trail -West

Date(s): 11/22-23/14                                                                                              Rating: 4

 

Critique: A friend and I completed this hike the weekend of 11/22/2014. We started Saturday morning and finished up Sunday. We followed the trail notes and went counter clockwise as recommended. The notes were, as always, spot on and the trail is very well maintained with wooden signs/posts at all the intersections. Navigation is definitely not an issue on the AFT with how well it is currently being maintained.
We had pretty questionable weather on Saturday with temps in the 30ís and on and off light rain. The rain put a coating of ice on a lot of the rocks that made the going slower than planned along the northern section. Due to the somewhat slow going and full darkness by 5:30 our first day mileage was lower than hoped by about 3-4 miles. To make up time on Sunday we cut off some of the Southern section of the trail by taking Clay Mine and Shirks roads instead. The detour probably cut off about 4-5 miles of the 31 miles trial and was a nice option to keep us on track. Walking along a road instead of in the woods kind of stinks but we didnít have enough time on Sunday to make up the lost time. The campsites were plentiful all along the trail and we ended up in a nice one on that wasnít listed in the trail notes but still had a fire ring and a reasonably flat spot for the tent. I believe it was about 13 miles or so from the start and probably 0.25 mile past route 504.
I wish we would have had nicer weather on Saturday but even with that the hike was great

 

 

Name: WV Backpacker                                                                                              Hike: AT-Mauhar Trail Loop

Date: 11/10/14                                                                                                          Rating: 5

 

Critique: This loop was hiked over two nights, and three days as a low mileage, fun early start to the week. Approaching the AT trailhead close to sunset, day one was an approach to the Maupin Field Shelter. Nice easy beginning hike in. Being Veterans Day weekend, there were plenty of campers, surprising for a 40įF day.  

Day 2 began ascending to Bee Mountain, and on to the first ridge. I feel this is the best overlook over the entire trip, primarily overlooking the Priest Wilderness to the south. The trail continues along the Appalachian Trail, shortly ascending to the second ridge, the highest elevation of the journey. This ridge has little exposed areas for viewing. Following the ridge line, it is another easy reach to the third ridge. I found two separate areas with stunning viewpoints, both peaceful and powerful. Note: both the second and third ridges have primitive camp areas, but with NO WATER. Next comes a long descent. This time of year makes this easily the most challenging part of the hike. I highly recommend close supervision of new hikers, especially those backpacking with weight on their shoulders. Considerable amounts of leaves hide EVERY nasty rock on the trail. Lots of Oak trees here drop their acorns, and it happens to be a very sheltered, quiet area for bears to dine. Harpers Creek Shelter is also sheltered well, both from the wind and the sunshine.  

The hike out is easy going southbound on the AT, as well as the beginning of the northbound Mau-Har hike. Beyond the waterfall/swimming hole area, it becomes a hike that requires patience, and several short breaks. All uphill. Once you start seeing a few firs, you will find yourself approaching the Maupin Field shelter.

 

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