Last Updated: 07/15/2015
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
07/15/15: I apologize to all of the visitors to this site and especially those who have submitted Outing Critiques over the past month and a half. My efforts have been directed to other areas of my life. I'm back at the keyboard again and hope to do a better job of updating the site in the future.
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: Ruthie Franczek
Name: Paul Fofonoff
Outing Critique: In mid summer the forest roads were very overgrown. We missed the sharp right turn following the Pocosin cabin - the weeds were so tall it didn't look like a road, and we had to wade through several hundred meters of knee high weeds to continue - I would not call the roads a pleasure to walk on this time of year. Also, we could barely see the cemeteries through the growth. The falls were nice but the "sketchy" trail from the river to the base of the falls was wet and slick so care must be taken. Regarding the climb at the end of the circuit, we thought it was not as hard as it sounds from the description. In the end, had we known the conditions of the trails we probably would not have done the entire loop.
Critique: Hiked the trail counter-clockwise beginning with the
southern loop. We found the hiking to be easy and we were able to
complete the entire 26 miles in two nights at a leisurely pace. It's
not challenging and has no great views, but this trail makes for a
nice weekend backpacking excursion.
The Tuscarora trail was very overgrown, like the last few people
have mentioned. Up to Geyer Trail you're in the forest, and at
times it there was so much cover it was difficult to follow the
trail. At Geyer it opens up into the jeep road, which isn't much
better - easier to navigate, but covered in knee-high grass. I went
while there was still dew on the ground and my boots were soaked in
minutes. Poles and long pants are an absolute must.
M.R. Hyker Note: The Geyer Tr is now open.
Critique: Overall a nice, not too strenuous hike. I did this
one earlier today, according to the map on this web site.
Critique: Without this site, my backpacking exploration
would be limited to state parks and the ever popular well
known local trails in Pennsylvania so thank you for having
Outing Critique: The Reddish Knob Summit is a really remote hike that all the animal life. We saw eagles, signs of bear, 7' rattlesnake, and much more. The bear markings where intense around the mile 5-8 and also one the way down. There was a den of bears somewhere at mile 6-7 in the rocks. The trees were marked by claw marks at 6' up. Trees were pushed over, and the brush was thick you were walking through. If you were doing this alone without making noise this is not a good idea. The camp sites were remote and the only one that looked like you could somewhat pitch tent was the car camp site off the dirt road near the top. (See trail notes) The trail is marked yellow until you hit jeep road, dirt roads, and follow the trail notes with map. About two miles going down the mountain the trail is nearly impossible to go through. We were wearing gaters to our knees and hiking boots. Our arms and knees had some major scratches. The trail is so thick you think you lost it, and then you see yellow. You will go 15 minutes to 30 minutes until you see another yellow marking. The trail notes refer to open field for camping the grass is about 2-3 feet tall. Rattlesnakes we saw were in it. We saw a 7' rattlesnake, that would not leave us alone when we stopped for lunch. We moved one. He was too friendly. You will need to drop water at the top. The best idea ever from the trail notes and website. Oh have fun driving up the mountain road to the top. You will learn to pray very quickly. Amazing views, and they are so worth it when you hike to the top. We hiked the whole loop in one day 12 hours with 40 lbs in the backpack. We were planning on camping on the mountain. We did not find any camp sites that we want to camp at, and the bear activity made us rethink it. I enjoyed the hike, my wife did not like the bear activity and rattlesnake.
Outing Critique: The Dolly Sods has nice over night camping sites for backpackers. You will need to make sure to follow the trail notes, as there are no trail makers. There are trail signs at intersections. There are enough people hiking the trail that you should be able to follow tracks. We ran into a deer (eight feet away), which was not afraid of people. The trails were wet and had multiple stream crossings. The mud is at times up to you ankles. This was one of the muddiest hikes we have completed. The trails were cleared. Our gators that go up to our knees were covered in mud the both days we hiked.
Outing Critique: My wife an I took a hike on Friday 06/12/2015. The first part of the trail was ok, you need to be in good shape to climb the trail to the top. It has twists and turns and is very rocky. Once at the top we took a brief rest on one of the overlook areas. As we continued the trail was rather dangerous as the path was overgrown with greenery and foliage we almost fell several times twisted our ankle on a rock and cut my leg on a tree stump sticking out. The reason for this is because it was so overgrown we could not see our feet and where we were stepping. It felt like we were in the middle of a jungle. We did not want to get lost so we had to turn around and come back. never made it to the Geyser trail, because we could not find it .