.

 

Hike Schedule

Forums

Gear/Tips

Trip Archives

Flora & Fauna

Recent Critiques

Desk Tops

Hiking Links

Hall of Fame

Restaurants

Trail Blockage Report

  Contact Us  

                                                                                                                                                               

                              Last Updated: 10/20/2014

                             

                                                        Pennsylvania Hikes Virginia Hikes West Virginia Hikes Maryland Hikes

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.

___________________________________________________

 

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

 

___________________________________________________

 

Bulletin Board

 

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 Cooper’s 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 I’ll call trail fatigue made me reconsider the venue – 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 – 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, I’ve camped out in the rain before, even thunder storms, but I’ve never experienced such a violent storm up close and personal like this. You know how you’re 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 …! I never got the “and one” 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 couldn’t 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!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Latest Outing Critiques

Name: JNK556                                                                                                  Hike: Laurel Fork Backpack

Date(s): 10/17-18/14                                                                                              Rating: 4

 

Critique: Did this hike as posted with Arfcomhkr, and one other friend.  Trails were clearly marked, and for the most part in good shape except for parts of the Bearwallow trail, which is poorly marked in spots, and narrow and rough. The small connector trail where the Locust Springs Spur, cuts from the RR grade, and connects to the forest road is hard to find, we ended up missing it, and just bushwacked the 100yds up the hill to the road.  Rest of the hike was nice, except for the high winds that kicked up our night on the fork.  Laurel Fork trail looked to have been recently blazed, and had zero trouble following it.  Two tough spots where the RR grade has been washed away, and you're trying to tiptoe through were pretty tough, but not impossible.  Crossings weren't too bad, water was up just a bit, and running fast, but nothing over knee high.  Hike out on Buck Run was long, and in some places pretty strenuous, but we've hiked worse.  All in all good trip, the bad spots on the fork give it a 4 out of 5 rating.

*No signs of rattlesnakes on this trip, this late in October, they have probably hid for the winter!*

 

 

Name: Ted E. Bear, Shortstack, Wooly Bully, .com                                             Hike: Iron Stone Loop

Date(s): 10/11-13/14                                                                                              Rating: 4.5

 

Critique: After watching the weather reports all week, it looked as if Accuweather was giving us a window of opportunity for this Columbus Day weekend hike to happen.  Leaving from two locations in fairly heavy rain (Frederick and Timonium) at 8 AM we arrived at the "Day Use" parking area about within 5 minutes of each other at 11:15 to clearing skies.   Finding our way around the lake without too much difficulty we arrived at the environmental center to screaming children having fun at a early Halloween party and were befuddled as to which way to go.  After a ranger/employee pointed out the obvious retaining wall,  we were on our way again only to miss the hard unmarked right before a residence and road.  Back tracking and making an early turn, we had to backtrack some more before we found the missed unmarked start of the trail.  (There were blue/yellow marks once you made the turn but not before.)  All in all we lost about a half hour.  The rest of day one was an uneventful nice walk in the woods with the exception of Ted E. Bear's realization that he left his much talked about (on the way up) Turkey sandwich in the car!  Making do with an energy bar and knowing it was only 5 miles to the campsite no one perished that afternoon.  As the 1st site mentioned was occupied by 6 college age folks we decided to go on and stayed at a somewhat abandoned campsite just off trail and across the stream from the hunters cabin about 3 PM.  After setting up tents, and filtering water, the gathering of loose wood from around the site and rebuilding of the fire ring really spiffyed up the site.  Other than the rocks the site was flat and soft.  A blazing campfire and s'mores with good company made a cold night warm.

Day two started by breaking camp at 8:45.  Despite the cold and "sleeping in" til about 7 we all moved pretty fast after breakfast.  The warm up mile and a half or so before the "big climb" of the day was appreciated.   Up until then, the "PA rocks" weren't too bad.  Steep as it was we all made it up without the use of ropes and after getting to the top and taking a needed break we took the hard left to the rocky and view filled Jackson trail.  (Note: the color coding of the map to the trail color changes was helpful.)  Several great vistas and two small rattlesnakes occupying our path (One rudely removed by Ted E.) later we came upon the crowds of Jo Hay's vista at Rt. 26.  We were still one week prime of autumn foliage.  (Note: none of us felt the trail was a "jeep road" prior to the obvious communication tower access road on both sides of 26.)  We didn't count but there were over a half dozen of the ugly sky scratchers.  The trail did get slightly less rocky (as advertised) as it turned back into the MST.  As we got to Indian Steps and took a break before the long decent there was a group of about 20 just starting to come to the top from a hiking club out of Altoona.  They were doing some kind of loop or shuttle thing which didn't seem well planned based on the conversation with the individual we talked to, but he was not the one in charge.  The one in charged seemed to be wanting to "hurry" the folks up the hill.  (Ha Ha)  After breaking for over 20 minutes we decided to pass the rest of this group "on the fly" as we descended the bugger.   Everyone had aches in either toes, calves, or thighs or some combination, but no one fell!  We chose the 2nd campsite on the left after the decent and road just before our nicely flowing stream water source.  Another nice evening with fire and the last of the s'mores and not quite as cold.

Day 3 started overcast with low lying clouds making it dark, but for the second morning no dew as well surprisingly.  We were on our way by 8:45 again and refreshed by the night's sleep and good breakfasts we all made it up the steep hill in 10 minutes!  The rest of the morning was pleasant with clouds getting darker but this seemed to bring out the fall colors more especially on this "jeep road" section.  All trail intersections were obvious or clearly marked and color coded.  We arrived at our cars before noon, cleaned up or took advantage of the $1.00 shower and headed to a ranger recommended BQ place not far from the park.  Unfortunately we found it was closed on Mondays.  Splitting back into the East and West group, the West group found a good lunch at Boxer's Cafe in Huntingdon, PA and the East group found lunch at a local grocery store/sandwhich shop with indoor seating about 5 minutes from the BQ on 26. (Sorry we forgot the name.) Leaving our lunch spots the rain started which bookended our near perfect trip.

All had a great time.

 

Name: Joel                                                                                                                  Hike: Loyalsock-Link Loop

Date(s): 10/04-06/14                                                                                              Rating: 5

 

Critique: Great Hike! this is the second time I have done this with my sons, and we love it here.  The directions are great. My only changes would be to note that there are plenty more campgrounds that are not shown on the map (particularly along the loyalosock creek after the bridge, and also between High Rocks and Ken's Window.  Also the point at which you leave the Loyalosock creek to go to rt 154 is a bit unclear.  If you chose to not ford the first stream crossing, you must cross two bridges on 154.  Ignore the various un-blazed paths that try to leave the road to the left.

 

 

Name: John Yancey                                                                                                   Hike: Rocky Top-Big Run

Date(s): 10/03-05/14                                                                                              Rating: 3.7

 

Critique: I just finished hiking the Rocky Top/Big Run loop with another father and our 11 year old sons and let me start by saying it was a great trip.  Your map and trail notes were spot on and very helpful.  I printed the map and notes and gave them to the boys and let them guide us along the trip.  It improved their map reading skills and gave them a sense of where we were and where we needed to go throughout the trip.  We made the trip a three day/two night back country experience.  We camped the first night at the bottom of the Rocky Top ridge at the junction where it meets the Big Run loop at the campsite you listed to the left after the steel bridge.  It was one of the best campsites I have used in a very long time.

Day one:  We started our hike at about 1030 on Friday October 3rd and arrived at the campsite at about 1800.  The trail was quite strenuous with regards to the terrain.  While mostly downhill the rockiness of the last half of the trail made for slow hiking and some fear of twisted ankles but, the reward of the campsite by the water was worth every grueling step.  The temperature during the day was a perfect 67 degrees and a little overcast which provided ample protection from hiking all day in the sun.  We did not encounter another hiker the entire day.  We made camp and bathed in a small wading pool and had a great supper.  Then made sure all our gear was put away and off the ground as the threat of a cold front was clearly going to make for a stormy night.  Throughout the hike there were numerous signs of bear activity as well as scat, so we were a little concerned about making sure our food was hung properly.  This proved to be the most difficult part of my day trying to find a decent tree in the dark but finally found a decent enough place and hung the food just as the rains began.
Day one:  Strenuous = 4.  Views = 4, Privacy = 5, Wildlife = 2, Campsite = 5.  Overall day one = 4

Day two:  We broke camp after a relaxing breakfast at 1030 and started up the Big Run trail at an easy pace.  We stopped for lunch at one of the pools that was full of small Brooke trout and let the boys fish for about two hours.  They caught several hungry little trout and had a great time.  We then made our way towards the "best campsite" you listed but it was already taken so we continued to the trail junction and camped just past where our climb out would start the next day.  The hike was fairly easy and absolutely beautiful.  We saw more and more bear sign but no bears.  This might have been because our boys were talking, laughing and singing while they hiked and to be honest were somewhat loud.  At any rate the temperature was in the low 60's and the sun was shining and we had a great time hiking and taking in the scenery.  We saw only 8 people the entire day with one of them being the person in the "best campsite" and a group of three making camp about .2 miles to the north of  our campsite.  The campsite we used was just south of the Big Run Loop trail junction and while it was flat and would have been really nice it was completely overrun with poison ivy.  I have hiked the AT from Georgia to West Virginia and numerous other trails and parks throughout the United States and Europe and have never seen so much poison ivy in my life.  Luckily, we spotted the danger and maintained vigilance and nobody got exposed.  Again, I had some issue trying to find a decent place to hang our food but managed.  During the night the cold front moved in with gusto and the temperature dropped to a chilly and breezy 45 degrees.
Day two:  Strenuous = 2.  Views = 4, Privacy = 4, Wildlife = 3, Campsite = 3.  Overall day two = 3.5

Day three:  We broke camp and started our accent at 1045 and made it to the 4X crossing we passed on the first day in just under two hours and then made it back to the parking area with ease.  On the way up the views were incredible as the cold front cleared the skies and really showed off the beauty of this area of the park.  We encountered 17 people during our climb and everyone was, as has always been my experience, very friendly and did not detract from the beauty of the hike.
Day three:  Strenuous = 4.  Views = 5, Privacy = 3, Wildlife = 2, Campsite = n/a.  Overall day three = 3.33

Summary:  All and all this was a great trip although maybe a little tough for a couple of 11 year old city boys on their first ever back country hiking/camping trip.  I plan on doing this one as a two day/one night trip for myself and hope to see more wildlife.  Your notes and map truly were some of the best notes I have used and I want to thank you for putting in the work and making our hiking/camping trip easy to navigate and worry free.

 

 

Name: Bill                                                                                                                    Hike: Hemlock Natural Area

Date: 09/27/14                                                                                                          Rating: 3

 

Critique: Me and my friend Don hiked the Bowman Hollow trail looking for the homestead ruins, we did eventually find them, but the trail was very hard to identify and follow. Some of the trees were marked just fine and then you go a bit further and could not tell if you were still on the trail or not. Anyway, the ruins turned out to be an old spring house. We tried to find any remains of other structures but the areas on all sides were overgrown, I am sure there is a site there somewhere. We also came across something else interesting, about 100 yards from the spring house, along the small stream to the NW there is a strange man made retention wall along the creek. This makes me think at one time there was a mill or steam tannery there at one time.
Here are some pics and GPS coordinates for the location.

N  40°19.575'  W 77° 34.776'   ruins

N  40° 16.800   W  77°35.885   Wall

 

 

Name: Emily                                                                                                                Hike: Tuscarora-Standing Stone Loop

Date(s): 09/27-28/14                                                                                              Rating: 5

 

Critique: We started this hike in the early afternoon, clockwise from Cowans Gap State Park, intending to camp in the Narrows, as mentioned by Ben in a review above from January 2012. Departing the State Park around the southern side of the lake, we found the Standing Stone Trail and began our ascent to a rocky ridge top trail that gave way to vista after vista. After 4-5 miles we came to the end of the ridge and followed the Standing Stone Trail west down a switch back to the Narrows (as seen on the map) instead of heading east to the Tuscarora Trail as the hike notes suggest.

We found the campsite opportunities in the Narrows to be unwelcoming, with no source of water. Running short on daylight, we made a decision to follow the Loop Trail shown on our PATC map (Map K) east along the property line of the Buchanan State Forest, up and over Cove Mountain and down to Aughwick Rd. We intended to walk the road north from there to access the Tuscarora Trail and head to the Burd Run Shelter (also seen on the PATC map).

The main point of this post is to share a review of The Loop Trail. Obviously someone thought it traversable enough to blaze and map it and we did make it, but this was one of the most difficult ups and downs I've ever hiked in PA. It was blazed white and ran the property line as we thought; evident by the “Private Property” signs lining the SF boundary. The ascent was an intense aerobic workout to say the least and the decent was so steep that at certain points it looked like the hillside might just drop away beneath us. It was a rugged and rocky challenge. We had 2 dogs with us that required constant coaching to keep them climbing down.

Eventually, the steep rocks gave way to an identifiable trail that brought us to a tree marked with 5 vertically placed white blazes and a left turn in the trail. This was the Forbes Road Trail. We knew we needed to go straight however to get to Aughwick road. A bushwhack through a hearty stand of young trees began which eventually opened into a clearing on State Forest land, from which we could hear Aughwick Road. We returned to the clearing to camp after meandering down a path to the road and across it to access Aughwick Creek for water. It was an adventure rewarded with some of the best star gazing at our campsite in the clearing that I've seen in a long time.

The next day we walked south on Aughwick road for a short time, to reach the Tuscarora Trail and head back to Cowans Gap SP.  It was a great hike that could be made less audacious by sticking strictly to the suggested route.

 

 

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!

 

 

View All Outing Critiques