Let's take a spring hike along the Appalachian Trail in Sky Meadows State Park!
The route: From the parking lot near the Park Visitor Center, we’ll head west along Piedmont Trail (Red, 0.61 miles) and Ambassador Whitehouse Trail (Light Blue, 1.1 miles) to the Appalachian Trail. We’ll walk south along the Appalachian Trail (White, 2.43 miles) and turn east to follow North Ridge Trail about 1/3 of its length (Blue, 0.5 miles) to where it intersects with the South Ridge Trail. From there we’ll follow South Ridge Trail (Yellow, 1.54 mile) as it loops along the south boundary of the park to Boston Mill Road (Green, 0.4 miles), which we’ll follow north back to our start point.
The hike is about 6.5 miles of smiles, moderate difficulty, and should take a little over 2 hours, with breaks. The surface is a mix of dirt, gravel, and mown grass.
Printable trail map: http://tinyurl.com/cppxcg5
Google map: http://tinyurl.com/l66pmms
Where to meet: We'll meet in the Visitor Center parking lot, GPS =[masked],[masked]
How to get there: Sky Meadows is less than an hour's drive from the I-495 Capital Beltway, just off I-66. From the I-495 Beltway, take exit 49A for I-66 W toward Vienna/Front Royal. Follow I-66W for about 42 miles. Take exit 23 to merge onto US-17 N/VA-55 W/Winchester Rd toward Delaplane/Paris. Continue to follow US-17 N/Winchester Rd for almost 7 miles. Turn left onto State Route 710/Edmonds Lane, drive 0.5 miles, and turn slightly right onto Winchester Road to enter the park. The parking lot is 0.7 miles further at 1124 Winchester Rd, Delaplane, VA 20144.
What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes please). Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a snack for halts are good accessories. The forecast is mostly sunny and a high of 71 degrees; perfect weather for a hike! It’s pretty early for bugs, but insect repellent might be handy. As a reminder, this is a kids-free zone, no one under 18 years of age is permitted.
Cost: Parking is $4.00 per car; pay and pick up a hangtag at the park gate.
Administrative stuff: The park office area has restrooms and drinking fountains.
After the hike: If anyone is interested in a wine tasting after the hike, Three Fox Vineyards is conveniently located in Delaplane, about 6.5 miles from Sky Meadows along US-17 on the way back from the hike. See address and website info below.
• Sky Meadows State Park: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/sky.shtml
• Three Fox Vineyards, 10100 Three Fox Lane, Delaplane, VA 20144, (540)[masked], http://www.threefoxvineyards.com/
• The Rail Stop Restaurant, 6478 Main Street, The Plains, VA, (540)[masked], http://www.railstoprestaurant.com/
• El Vaquero, 14910 Washington Street, Haymarket, VA, (703)[masked], http://el-vaquerorestaurant.com/haymarket/