Sky Meadows

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.

Notes:

• 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/

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  • Jim

    John did an excellent photographic essay on this hike on his blog - check it out! http://lifewithjohn.net/2014/05/19/blue-sky-mountain-meadow/

    2 · May 23, 2014

  • Dawn

    Gorgeous day and portion of the hike before my knee gave out. Thanks so much for all of your hard work and meticulous planning John!

    2 · May 18, 2014

  • Dawn

    Gorgeous out here compared to last year's walk in the mist! Breezy with some standing water and creekbeds were overflowing on the way up .

    2 · May 17, 2014

    • Lana

      How u feel Dawn?

      2 · May 17, 2014

    • Dawn

      I'm okay, Lana, thanks for asking. And, thanks to all for the Well Wishes! Sore and swollen now, my knee didn't like the hill at all. I'd strained it back in October during the govt shutdown when I'd done 13, 14, 15 and then 16 miles in 4 days to calm my nerves. Stairs have been an issue since, but I didn't think hills would be an issue. Sorry to have quit but it was burning and I didn't want to get stuck at the top. Looks like you all had fun, though. Will stick to the flat hikes from now on. :(

      May 18, 2014

  • Vicki

    Once again John planned a fabulous hike with beautiful scenery in the mountains- we couldn't have asked for better weather or a better group of fun people - I made some great new friends and reacquainted with others -our time at the winery was also really fun celebrating with everyone for conquering those intense inclines - best meetup group around- thanks to John and all the cool people!

    3 · May 18, 2014

  • Luau M.

    Sorry I missed all the fun. I came late so I trekked on my own trying to catch up but you were all far gone. Anyway I enjoyed the place so much, I definitely will go back. I will be awaiting your next meet up!

    May 18, 2014

  • Shannon

    John, Really great day. Beautiful hike, really enjoyed everyone's company. Thanks for all you do!

    5 · May 17, 2014

  • ML M.

    Just have to add to the many comments for thanking John for being so consistent with planning terrific hikes. Enjoyed the great conversations on a day when the weather could not have been better.

    5 · May 17, 2014

  • John M

    Whoa, what a long climb! Great day, great friends! Thanks!!

    4 · May 17, 2014

  • Lana

    Had a lovely time, thank you John!!!!

    3 · May 17, 2014

  • Jean

    It was a spectacular spring day for a hike. Met some wonderful new people on the trail (and at the winery too!). THANKS John for putting everything together perfectly.

    5 · May 17, 2014

  • Kathy

    What a fabulous hike! Great weather and thank you so much John for organizing the winery gathering afterwards at 3 Fox winery. There is never a doubt when John organizes a hike Another winner!

    6 · May 17, 2014

  • Jim

    Thanks for leading another fine jaunt, John. Maybe I was wasn't quite accurate telling people before the hike that it would be mostly downhill.

    6 · May 17, 2014

  • Susan

    Great hike today! Thank you John!

    3 · May 17, 2014

  • Mateo

    ?

    May 17, 2014

  • Mateo

    Still at winery. Was late and hiked yellow trail

    1 · May 17, 2014

  • Dawn

    John, do we know what the rain has done at Sky Meadows? Don't want to be trudging through mud or dealing with flooding tomorrow. Watching the news and is looking like entire area under flood warnings. Thanks for all you do for us!

    May 16, 2014

    • John M

      Hi Dawn, the only spot that concerns me is where Gap Run crosses Boston Mill Road, towards the end of our hike. I'll check at the office before we head out, but if they don't know, we can walk past the turnoff for Piedmont Overlook Trail and take a peek on our way out. If it looks too swollen, we'll return along North Ridge Trail rather than South Ridge Trail as planned.

      1 · May 16, 2014

    • Dawn

      Thanks, Gentlemen! Remembering last year's hike I'm thinking the grassy area on the way up should be good but was concerned about the road type areas and parking. As always will take an extra pair of shoes to change into. No running up the hill this time, John!! :)

      1 · May 16, 2014

  • Shannon

    Hmmm. Was looking forward to the wine tasting myself.

    3 · May 15, 2014

    • John M

      Yeah, I figured since we would be in the middle of all the vineyards, a stop would be in order. I'm flexible either way. There's no reason we can't do both, for that matter. :)

      1 · May 15, 2014

  • Jim

    For folks who are not interested in the vineyard, there's the Knotty Pine Bar in nearby Front Royal. They usually have some great fights on Saturday evening.

    May 15, 2014

    • John M

      I don't know about bar fights, but if a restaurant is preferred over the wine tasting, I'm fine with that. A couple of possibilities are the Rail Stop Restaurant in The Plains, and El Vaquero in Haymarket. Both are off I-66 on the way back. I've added both to the event description and the map.

      May 15, 2014

    • Jim

      John, I'm sure that either of those restaurants would be utterly mellow compared to the Knotty Pine. Or maybe that place has itself simmered down since I left town.

      May 15, 2014

  • Michelle y.

    Would love to get a ride from seven corners for the hike.

    May 13, 2014

  • Linda L

    Wish I could make this one but I'll be out of town.

    May 12, 2014

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