Last Updated: 05/16/2013
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 299 hikes and over 3,504 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
WSF-Haldeman Tract-2, PA
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.
04/30/13: We now have a new "Spam Resistant" Outing Critique Form. You can even attach photos to it. Give it a try.
M. R. Hyker's Latest Adventure(s)
05/03 to 05/13, Car Camping and day hike at North River, VA: Despite my war wounds from my last backpacking trip I rounded up Janet and the dogs and headed for the primitive but beautiful North River Campground. We were the only ones there on Friday. All of the sites are level and most are on the water. Our initial plans were to spend four days but the colder than predicted night time temps proved too much for our cheap Coleman sleeping bags. We left on the third day. I still got in one good hike, an out-and-back on the never talked about North River Trail. If what Moonshine told me was true this trail can be used in conjunction with Bald Mountain Road, a part of the Wild Oak National Recreation Trail (W.O.N.R.T.) and a two mile road walk on FR95 would make a nice fourteen mile backpack and also provide easier access to Reddish Knob than that which is described in the Reddish Knob hike on my website. Having hiked most of these trails in the past my main goal was to actually walk this trail, confirm its condition and the location of water sources and campsites near the riverís headwaters.
I arrived at the trailhead about 9:30 and began hiking up an old yellow blazed jeep road. At first I was walking under a sparse deciduous canopy but after the first of eight river crossings soon found myself shuffling through the shade of pine and hemlocks with an understory of mountain laurel. The crossings were easy today but the steep banks told me that during periods of high water they could be pretty technical. At about a mile in the cove through which the river flowed became constricted with steep rock cliffs on the opposite bank, miniatures of those that can be seen on the W.O.N.R.T./North River Gorge Loop. The photo here really doesnít do the scene justice but a nasty brier patch prevented me from getting a better shot. At times the trail drifted away from the river but it was never out of ear shot. After the eighth and final river crossing the rate of elevation change, which up to this point had been barely detectable, increased significantly, as the trail now followed the river from high above. In 2.7 miles from the start the jeep road ended. One footpath turned west towards Shenandoah Mountain. I turned right onto the obvious path that leads to Bald Mountain Road. This was a very old section of trail. The extensive cribbing used to reinforce the trail on the sides of hills harkened back to the days of the C.C.C. I wonder in awe every time I think of the amount of brute labor required to build these things. After a sharp turn I could once again hear, then see, North River, now a placid stream tumbling over moss covered rocks. I arrived at the intersection with a trail on the left that leads to a piped spring (No need to check that out.) I was a bit miffed because I had yet to see a suitable area to pitch several tents. I crossed both forks of the river and soon arrived at Bald Mountain Road. Still no primo campsites! I took a short break before retracing my steps. When I returned to the spring trail junction I continued up that trail for about ten steps and there it was, a wide open, flat area capable of holding a large group. Feeling better about my scouting hike and knowing that the rest of the hike was all downhill I had a little more vim in my vigor. I was finished by 2:30.
Latest Outing Critiques
Name: Geoff Hike: McKeldin Area
Date: 05/15/13 Rating: 5
Critique: I want to share the route I take when I go running on the trails in McKeldin. Start out at the parking lot just above the dam, not the one closest to the dam, the one at the top of the hill. Follow the rapids trail down to the beach, then when the trail forks go straight, don't keep following the rapids trail, those rocks aren't fun to run on. Follow Switchback across bridge, gain elevation, then you want to fork right take the trail that goes back down to the rapids trail. Follow the trail along the river ALL THE WAY, following the river until you past the first entrance to the plantation trail on the left. Don't take that one, well, you can, but the better hike is further up. Follow the switchback trail until you see the next entrance to the plantation trail. This one is much steeper. Follow the plantation up up AND UP to the highest point in the park, you'll know you're close after a very steep incline, you'll notice a fork to the right and if you follow it you'll come to a high summit with a pole with a white flag. Anyway, keep going on the plantation, this is my favorite part of the park. keep going until you come to the meadow. Keep going through the meadow, across the road, onto the tall poplar, go left at fork. Follow the tall poplar all the way back to your car, fork to to the left to get back to parking lot where you started. Love this park, so beautiful, and running on it is great. I think this circuit totals to a little over 3 miles, but I could be wrong. Watch your footing, hope to see some of you out there!
Name: Mountainstreamflood Hike: AT-Sunset Rocks Circuit
Date: 05/12/13 Rating: 4
Critique: Hike: Overall this is a pretty good hike. The views from Sunset Rock are outstanding and the two crossings of Tom's Run are gorgeous (would be even better in late June/early July when Rosebays are in bloom). We did the hike backwards to save my knees from the steep slope of Little Rocky Ridge but this has the disadvantage of getting the best of the hike (Sunset Rocks) out of the way in the first 3 miles, leaving nondescript but pleasant 5 mile return back to the car. Also, we used Old Shippensburg Road to avoid the out-and-back on the AT between Sunset Rocks Trail and Pine Grove Furnace. One note, it appears the AT has been rerouted at Halfway spring (just passed first crossing of Toms'Run.) Rather than following the logging road to Michaux Road at Camp Michaux, the trail now proceeds on a footpath to the north and directly across Michaux Road. As a result the trail bypasses the ruins of the old stone barn.
Name: Dick/Roger Hike: Black Forest Trail - North
05/11-13/13 Rating: 3-4
Critique: We delayed starting out by one day due to weather, but still passed through rain in Williamsport on the way! In total the Williamsport area received 1.80 " of rain from 5/09-12. View this as the lower limit for defining the trails as being "high water"! Checking the rainfall in the area, particularly in the Spring, is a must before going! This is critical because during Day 2 you have to ford Slate Run... there is no bridge left because it continually was washed out! If you can't ford it you have to backtrack up to the Old Quarry Road and go right down to an old steel bridge on Pine Creek, then up Rt44 for over a mile to the Black Forest circumnavigation parking area above Slate Run. We forded Slate Run in high water (mid-thigh running around 6mph). Neither of us will ever do that again...extremely dangerous and foolish! On the positive (and sane) side, it's a really nice hike! The ridges have oceans of mountain laurel. Next year we'll go back around the first week in June when it reported blooms up there! The lower elevations have very nice conifer groves. The vistas are pristine in terms of seeing no signs of civilization! The trails are well maintained with only a couple of rocky spots! The first night we camped at the furthest campsite up Morris Branch before the climb out of the valley! It would handle 3-4 tents, the second site was also nice, but smaller (2 tents). The first along the branch was not as good! (We didn't go down the initial path to see whether there's a good site there)! The second night we camped at Foster Hollow! Multiple level sites near the pond including off trail in the woods! The pond water was very clear and flowing through from and into a creek! Whether this continues thru the summer is a question, but it looks as if it would! Because of high water we chose to take the Sentiero Dishay ski trail (marked as the "high water alternative") back up north instead of going further west to the BFT on County Line Creek! It had some bogs and places where it was hard to follow. The Dishay is now clearly marked off of the Blackberry Trail! However, where it meets Meadow Rd. the road crosses and now continues west. When widening the road they apparently wiped out any visible blue blazes. Go right on Meadow Rd for about fifty yards to the other side of the creek where you'll see ample blazes on the left side of the road Also, there is a new road that you'll cross before coming to Gravel Rd. We're guessing that they're getting ready to "frack" in the area! Oh yes, by the way, it was snowing and sleeting while hiking (13th of May).. not detrimental to enjoying the hike though!! Bottom-line: With less rainfall immediately before it, and with the laurel in bloom, this would be a really outstanding hike! It was a very nice one as it was! Stopping at the Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport on the return provided closure!
Name: Tony and Penny Hike: Kelly's Run - Pinnacle Overlook
Date: 5/11/13 Rating: 5
Critique: Took this hike yesterday. Weather was wet, rained night before, trails were in great shape but wet. Missed the turn after fording the creek at the bridge and took an unmarked trail to the Conestoga trail eventually to the Pinnacle. Ate lunch at the Pinnacle then took the Pine Tree Trail then continued with the rest of this trail. Trail was blazed very well in most places. Rained over lunch and about 2 miles of the hike. Overall it was a great hike, first one of the season for us, was long, I think we hiked about 9 miles with doing different trails etc. Thanks for the directions or never would have found our way around this! Look forward to doing it again in the future.
Name: Zach Hike: Plantation Tr/CLR 13 Loop
Date: 05/04/13 Rating: 3
Critique: First and foremost, this website is an invaluable resource for hikers throughout the region and I am incredibly appreciative of it. All directions and trail descriptions were accurate for the hike - finding Lindy off of CLR13 should be easy as long as you make sure you are looking for a small rock cairn just off the side of the road. As noted in the description, the USFS no longer maintains the Lindy Run Trail to the Plantation trail - this is easily noticeable as the trail is becoming impassable at points thanks to the sheer number of blowdowns on the trail. Unfortunately, this does not cease once you reach the Plantation Trail, as some sections may take several minutes to move a mere 10 feet. Estimating that there were at least 25 blowdowns severely blocking the trail would seem to be a conservative estimate after finishing the hike. The area was very scenic regardless, however the frequency of blowdowns made this a very stressful hike. Fortunately this ceases once you reach the Table Rock trail. The views at Table Rock are absolutely incredible and are worth the distressing hike down the Lindy and Plantation trails. The walk back on CLR13 is certainly long, but it is a very pleasant and easy walk. I don't believe any vehicles travel down the road anymore - it looks like it'd be a very difficult time even for a Humvee. All in all, a recommended hike if you've already hiked most of the other areas of WV or really want to get to Table Rock.
M.R.Hyker Note: Super Storm Sandy has really done a number on most of the hiking venues in the MNF. Forest Service personnel and volunteers are currently overwhelmed. It will take some time to get all of the trails open.
Name: Joe Hike: Dolly Sods Wilderness Backpack
Date(s): 4/27 to 29/13 Rating: 4
Critique: I did this hike with my girlfriend for my birthday around the end of April and overall it was a great hike. We hiked to the campgrounds near the breathed mtn trail/red creek trail junction on the first day and that seemed to be a good place to break it up. The first day there is a lot of pushing through overgrown rhododendrons and the trail is very hard to follow at places, especially between the trailhead and somewhere around the big stonecoal trail junction. After the first day there isn't a lot of green yet in the area and we saw very little wildlife aside from some birds and a deer. We also saw no other people after the first campground. The latter half of the Breathed mtn trail and especially the Dunkenbarger trail were full of downed trees. It became laughable after awhile and it felt like we were bushwhacking more than we were actually on the trail. The downed trees got very old after awhile but the area is beautiful and I highly recommend this hike. Be prepared for lots of gnats that show up if you stop near the river and very, very cold water crossings.
Name: K.C. Hike: Dolly Sods Wilderness Backpack
Date(s): 05-04 through 06-13 Rating: 4
Two friends and I did this hike on an early May weekend. We did about 8 miles the first day, and the remaining 5 miles the second day. We had beautiful weather: 70-75 highs with an overnight low in the 30s. The greenery schedule is a bit slower in this area than in D.C., so the deciduous trees were just starting to bud. Most of the greenery was in the form of rhododendron and spruce trees. Like others, we had a bit of trouble at the early part of the red creek trail because there are a lot of misleading cairns. On the way back we followed the trail, and I found the point that we lost it on the way in. Perhaps 300 yards in, the trail descends out of a wooded area and you get your first unobstructed view of the creek. The trail appears to veer off to the left towards the creek, but it actually goes up a short muddy hill. Standing at this point, it is very hard to tell that there is a trail ahead of you because at the top of the small muddy embankment, it curves slightly to the left behind some tree trunks. Even if you canít find the actual trail, once you hit the Little Stonecoal Trail (youíll see cairns on either side of the creek), you can easily head back away from the river and pick up the Red Creek Trail again. We had a lot of trouble with down trees on the latter half of the trip (beginning at about the junction of the Red Creek Trail and the Rocky Point Trail). The area must have had a particularly ice or snowstorm, because the trees most affected were medium size Red Spruce. This was worst on the Dunkenbarger trail; it was to the point where we were bushwhacking around or climbing under/over downed Red Spruce every 50 meters or so. Often it was difficult to find the trail again on the other side. Other than the downed trees, this was a fantastic trip! The second half (once you leave the Red Creek Trail) was very secluded, and we encountered few people. We also encountered almost no wildlife except for an occasional bird.
Name: Axel Jones Hike: Stone Tower
Date: 4/28/13 Rating: 4
Critique: Hike is fun and "The General" is a cool sight. If the water level is high there's a fallen tree with wire strung across for hand holding across Clark Creek. Rocky and occasionally steep in parts so bring tough boots.