Hard Hike George Washington National Forest 7 miles

  • February 9, 2013 · 10:00 AM
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Due to all the interest I have decided to start the hike from a different parking area.  This one is a large picnic area and will be able to accommodate more cars. We will still be hiking up to and along the  ridge line, but we will be approaching Buzzard Rock from the other direction.  Because of this it makes a longer hike.  If it is too far for you, you are welcome to go only part way and turn around.  If you decide not to come because of the difficulty change, please let me know when you change your RSVP.  Another organizer may lead an easier hike in the area if there's enough interest.

Buzzard Rock is one of my favorite hikes in the George Washington National Forest.  It's a somewhat strenuous climb up to the ridge line, so be prepared. Once you're on top, it's a fairly level hike with great views in both directions.  This is a rocky hike, so be prepared.  I strongly recommend wearing hiking boots rather than tennis shoes.

You can find more info and directions to the parking lot here: http://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/BuzzardRock/

The description is for a 7 mile hike.  I may or may not take the yellow trail down.  I may take the blue trail, which would add another mile on, making it 8 miles total.  It is an out and back hike, so people can tailor it to their comfort level.  If the group is large, we may break into smaller groups depending on speed of hikers and how far people want to go.

There are no leash laws in the GWNF, so the dogs can be off leash most of the time.  If your dog is off leash, he/she must be under voice control at all times.  You also must carry a leash with you.  This is a somewhat popular hike and we will run into other people/dogs and there may be a situation when they need to be on leash.

The weather this time of year can be kind of unpredictable.  Please check back the night before the hike to make sure it's not cancelled.  If there is rain, snow, or cold and windy conditions I will probably reschedule for later in the spring.  The wind chill can get pretty bad along the ridge this time of year.

There is no water along the route.  You need to bring enough water for you and your dog.

Carpooling is always an option. A good place to meet is the Centreville Park and Ride.  It will take about an hour from there to the trailhead, so be prepared.  The hike will start at 10am.

Looking forward to the hike!  Let me know if you have any questions.

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  • Suzie

    You said the original hike was 3 miles? I'm wondering if we did more than that. It seemed like it. We did turn around at one point but our total hiking time was about 4 1/2 hours.

    February 10, 2013

    • Bebe

      The original hike was supposed to be 7 miles...but we did a "warm-up" loop of about 1+mile and then when we found the right trail...it was 5 miles up and 5 miles down! :-) lot's of fun , great weather and great people!

      February 10, 2013

    • Sarah

      The buzzard rock north hike (the first one I listed) was 4 miles. There wasn't a clear turn around point though, so you may have gone further. The buzzard rock hike we ended up doing yesterday was listed as 7 miles, but it was actually more than that. I'll probably do this hike again in April and hike from where we started to where you started from with car shuttles. I'll keep you updated.

      February 10, 2013

  • Suzie

    We were there. We couldn't find where all of you were so went to the original location and hiked up hoping to meet up with you. I'm so bummed we didn't find you. The hike was tough but amazing.

    February 9, 2013

    • Sarah

      Hi Suzie, sorry we missed you. Glad you got to do the original hike! It was a great day to get out there. Hope we can meet up for the next one!

      February 9, 2013

  • Sarah

    Thanks for coming everyone! It was great to meet you all. Thanks for being patient with the "warm-up" loop and the "7" miles. It turned out to be a nice day for hiking. Hope you and your pups are tired out!

    1 · February 9, 2013

  • Lisa and M.

    It's was a beautiful day. Mac and I have fun Thanks, Sarah

    1 · February 9, 2013

    • Sarah

      Glad you found your way back OK :)

      February 9, 2013

  • Bebe

    We had fun...Blitz passed out in the car!

    1 · February 9, 2013

  • Suzie

    I didn't realize how far away this hike is. I'm trying to find directions and cannot find an address to mapblast.

    February 8, 2013

    • Sarah

      Hi Suzie, here is a link: http://www.hikingupwa...­. You can put your address in the starting point and it will give you directions. There's not an actual address. There are GPS coordinates. They are on Veronica's link below if you need them.

      February 8, 2013

  • Marianne

    Sorry, had to cancel, in the event anyone was counting on me to turn around 1/2 way with them. I am really looking forward to joining you guys on one of your hikes soon- -Marianne & Ginger

    February 8, 2013

  • Julia

    I don't think I'll be able to make this hike, I ordered some better hiking boots in light of the weather and they haven't arrived yet. Wish I could make it!

    February 8, 2013

    • Sarah

      No problem. Catch up with you next time.

      February 8, 2013

    • Julia

      Thanks - I can't wait to try out my new boots next time (if they ever come!) Have fun :)

      February 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Sarah: Are these the coordinates to the trailhead?[masked] [masked]

    February 8, 2013

    • Sarah

      Yes. The parking area is the Elizabeth Furnace Recreation area.

      February 8, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Muchas gracias!

      February 8, 2013

  • Lisa and M.

    Hi Sarah, I have not been to GWNF. Mac and I are interested in carpooling. I only want to do 1/2 way. I live in Pentagon City. thanks,

    1 · February 8, 2013

    • Lisa and M.

      Sarah, I will be there at 8am before 8:15 Thanks,

      February 8, 2013

    • Sarah

      Sounds good. See you in the morning!

      February 8, 2013

  • Brad

    I'm very sorry to do this the night before, but I have to cancel... The flu finally caught up to me today. Arrggh!

    February 8, 2013

    • Sarah

      No problem. Hope you feel better soon!

      February 8, 2013

  • Sarah

    Hi everyone. Looks like it will be a cool, breezy day on Saturday. You are welcome to go as far and as fast as you like. I know there's a handful of hikers who are planning to turn around half way. I still plan on doing the whole 7 miles. Just a heads up, the trail will definitely be wet, and may even be icy or snow covered when we get up to the ridge line. It is supposed to pretty windy, so it will be cold on the top. Make sure you wear layers, have a windbreaker with you, and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Hopefully we can find a protected spot near Buzzard Rocks where we can stop and eat lunch or a snack. Remember to bring enough water for you and your dogs. I will send out an email on Friday night to all the people still attending with my phone number and where to meet. If anyone is interested in carpooling please leave a comment. Looking forward to the hike!

    February 7, 2013

    • Sarah

      Just FYI, the windchill will probably be in the low 30s/high 20s. For the latest weather forecast you can click this link: http://forecast.weath...­

      February 7, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks! I will also bring my micro-spikes with me just in case!

      February 8, 2013

  • Jeff P.

    One of our dogs has a partial ACL tear (Hobey-this is his picture). Can't take the others and leave him behind; will break his heart.

    February 7, 2013

    • Sarah

      Sorry to hear that :( Look forward to hiking with you once your dog recovers.

      February 7, 2013

  • Lisa and M.

    I revoked my rsvp too because of the 7 miles. If some can organize this event 1/2 way. Mac and I would be very happy to join.

    1 · February 6, 2013

  • DeAnna

    HI all,
    I have revoked my rsvp. I cannot do this one. For me, 7 miles is too far/much. Wish it had stayed to 3-4 mile hike. Maybe next time.

    February 3, 2013

    • Marianne

      As of now I would say that Randa & I are going to turn around 1/2 way with our dogs. Unless someone else wants to organize the event = )

      February 6, 2013

    • Suzie

      I'm going to see how my dogs are handling it and will decide when I'm there but we may follow you.

      February 6, 2013

  • Jennifer

    I am sorry to cancel, but I am more out of shape than I thought! I don't think I will be able to keep up with the group. I am on the waitlist anyways, so shouldn't affect anyone.

    February 3, 2013

    • Sarah

      Hey ladies, why don't you suggest a hike in that section of our website: http://www.meetup.com...­. You can list it as a shorter alternate hike to the one I'm leading. You can find out who's interested and iron out the details there. Once you set it up, I can put a link to it on this discussion. Send me a meetup message if you need any help or have questions. Thanks! Sarah

      1 · February 3, 2013

    • Marianne

      Sarah, I will call you because I am not sure how to go about this. I would like to keep it as simple as possible. At the very least it looks like there will be a couple of us wanting to turn around at the halfway point. @Randa: sounds good, although we should probably do as Sarah suggested & set up a shorter alternate hike.

      February 3, 2013

  • Jennifer

    If the wait list is long enough, is there any interest in a second hike for this location either at a different time that day or on another day?

    3 · January 30, 2013

    • Brad

      I'd be interested.

      January 31, 2013

    • Alice

      Yes, I would love to hike at this location on another day.

      February 2, 2013

  • Sarah

    Hey everyone, I decided to move the starting location of the hike so more members can come along :) Please take a look at the hiking upward link and let me know if you have any questions. Hope everyone can still make it!

    February 1, 2013

  • Jennifer

    I am a +1, but the website does not have an area to input it if you join then leave the waitlist.

    January 30, 2013

  • Cindy G.

    forgot my nephews bday party is this day

    January 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm sorry, I'm going to have to change my RSVP to no...something came up for that weekend :(

    January 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I've been wanting to whistle train Isaac for the simple reason that my voice does not carry or sound very authoritative most times ha! Now I have a reason to do it right now!! Also, I would only let him off leash if I was 100% sure he'd listen to me every time..he's still young and learning :)

    1 · January 18, 2013

  • DeAnna

    Hi Sarah,
    In your prior post, you said this an OFF leash hike. However, I thought that having your dog OFF leash was an "Optional" thing and not mandatory? I cannot have my dog Off leash because she will run off and not come back. Please clarify. Thanks

    January 18, 2013

    • Sarah

      Hi DeAnna, Off-leash is optional. Your dog does have to be comfortable with others being off leash around him/her though.

      January 18, 2013

    • Sarah

      Thanks for the clarification Allie :)

      January 18, 2013

  • Sarah

    Hey everyone,

    This is an OFF-leash hike. Here are some important reminders about hiking with your dog off leash: http://www.meetup.com/activedogs-237/pages/Off_Leash_Dog_Activities/. If you do not feel 100% comfortable with having your dog off leash, or having a lot of off leash dogs running around your dog, please reconsider doing this hike. Most dogs love a chance to run around with other dogs and explore new smells. Please be responsible so we can all have a good time. Thanks!

    January 18, 2013

  • Suzie

    The only concern I have is the off leash. I have too small dogs and hope the dogs off leashes are friendly.

    January 18, 2013

    • Alex

      Suzie, I can't speak for all the dogs going on this trip since I don't know them all. That said, off-leash most dogs are usually too interested in running with the pack and sniffing and peeing on things to be too worried about other dogs. The only time I have ever see trouble on trail, on- or off-leash, is during rest breaks when the dogs are all clustered together on the narrow trail, often surrounded by their owners, water and possibly with treats being given out, and then some dog just decides they are claustrophobic, protective/possessive of their owner, or defending thei resource (food/treats). But even then those ARE RARE.

      1 · January 18, 2013

    • Alex

      The solution is simple, for you and EVERYONE, when you stop for rest/water stay spread out on the trail, carefully monitor for resource possessiveness, give twitchy dogs plenty of space, and if you are one of those twitchy dogs, or are worried your dogs might be hurt in a scrum, stay to the front or rear of the group during stops so you and your pups can personally keep your distance from the gaggle. In the most extreme of cases, that might even mean leashing up during stops. But again, while on trail, actually moving, I have never seen a problem in 4 years with this group.

      1 · January 18, 2013

  • Kimberly R.

    I won't be able to make it. I am working that day :(

    January 17, 2013

  • Lisa and M.

    Mac and I was looking forward to this Hike but 7miles is to much for me to handle.

    January 17, 2013

  • Sarah

    Thanks Allie! Waiting list is on now :)

    January 17, 2013

  • Allie E.

    Sorry guys- something came up that Saturday. Hope you have a fun time!

    January 17, 2013

  • Allie E.

    Hi Sarah, if you turn the waitlist on, I'd love to get on it!

    January 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Since it's a Saturday, i'm going to drag my husband and my stepson along for the "ride" hubby works Sundays (have more hikes on Sundays lol) - They my not want to go, so if not, I'll change my +2 :) Looking forward to another hike with the group!

    January 17, 2013

  • Katie

    7 miles I think would be to rough for us maybe next time

    January 17, 2013

  • Suzie

    I forgot to say that I would like to attend and that I will have someone else with me (who doesn't have a dog) because I don't know the area well.

    January 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    No tengo perro, pero me gusta perro! :)

    January 16, 2013

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