A Strenuous 9 Mile Appalachian Trail Hike: Part of the Infamous AT "Roller Coaster" Plus Buzzard Hill
Take note that although this hike is in Virginia, it is ONLY 1.5 hours away from our carpool location! This is 1.25 hour less of a drive than Skyline Drive and SNP is for most of us.
This stretch of the AT seesaws in and out of a succession of hollows and over numerous side ridges as it crosses through an area once dominated by Confederate Col. John Singleton Mosby. During the Civil War, Mosby and his troops, the Confederate Rangers (also known as Mosby's Confederacy), lived in farmhouses throughout this area. Mosby's reputation for eluding Union soldiers earned him the nickname The Grey Ghost. The AT climbs to several high lookouts that make it easy to see how someone familiar with the terrain could keep an undetected eye on the enemy.
Several steep, rocky ascents make this one of the most difficult sections of the AT in the northern half of Virginia. There are excellent views of the Shenandoah Valley, from Bears Den Rocks, Lookout point, and Buzzard Hill, while the dark, cool Fent Wiley Hollow includes a great variety of mature timber and a chance to cool down before climbing the next hill.
The trail intersects several creeks throughout the section. At about mile 4, the AT begins a 50-ft. climb up to the summit of the spectacular Buzzard hill. As you climb, look and, more importantly, listen, for passing owls, which are known to shelter in the dim hollow. At the top of Buzzard Hill, a side trail on the right leads 40 yards to a rocky ledge. The mountainous view to the west makes a perfect backdrop for lunch or just a spot to rest for a bit.
Nearby City: Bluemont, VA
Length: 9 total miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Scenery: Mountain Woodlands, Buzzard Hill, AT Roller Coaster, steep slopes, farmland views
Exposure: Mostly shady, less so in winter
Trail Surface: Chiefly dirt and rocks (both loose and embedded); some grassy patches
Skill Level: Strenuous
Elevation: 3000 feet of total vertical gain
Duration: 4.5 - 5.5 hours but varies according to pace.
Natural History Features: Bears Den Rocks; Lookout Point; Buzzard Hill
NOTE: Please only sign up for this hike if you are up to this level hiking. There will be about 3000 feel of total elevation gain in just 9 miles. This is part of the infamous, fun, yet challenging AT "Roller Coaster" and is a must for anyone who can hike at this level. So get up and get your rear in gear and come on out for good times!
We hike rain or shine! Click here to see an up to the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.
Here are some suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.
There are 2 carpools for this hike!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, you can arrange to meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
DC Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, you can arrange to meet at the Centerville Park and Ride. Click here for information and directions to the Centerville location. Use the comment to discuss carpooling with other members.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for This Hike!
Hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Savage is 8:30 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Centerville is 9:00 a.m.
Fido is not welcome on this hike without the leaders permission due to the hikes difficulty