Let's take a challenging hike along the Appalachian Trail!
The route: From the trailhead, we will follow the white-blazed Appalachian Trail to the summit of Raven Rock (1,454 feet) and return. This is an out and back hike.
It is about 2.7 miles from the trailhead to the overlook and back, for a total of about 5.5 miles. Given breaks and the elevation gain, the hike should take at least 4 hours. While rated moderate, the trail is very rocky with several strenuous ascents, so wear sturdy footwear and be prepared for a challenge.
Disclaimer: As you know--we care about you! We don’t want you to get hurt or get yourself into any trouble, but it’s ultimately up to you to keep yourself safe up there. You can do this by knowing your limits, so make sure you are physically able to do this hike. If you have doubts about your physical ability, you might want to try one of our less strenuous walks/hikes.
H/T to Rick for another great hike suggestion!
Where to meet: We will meet at Vienna Metro Station North Parking Lot, Centreboro Dr & Virginia Center Blvd, Oakton, VA, GPS =[masked],-77.271582. (It's the parking lot on the north side of I-66.)
How to get to the trailhead: From the Vienna Metro Station North Parking Lot, turn right and follow Virginia Center Blvd to Nutley Street. Turn right onto Nutley, take the first right onto I-66 West, and drive west for 4 miles. Take exit 57B for US-50 W towards Fair Oaks/Winchester. Continue to follow signs for US-50 W/Lee Jackson Memorial Highway/John Mosby Highway for about 18.5 miles, passing through Chantilly and a couple of traffic circles. Just past the town of Aldie (it has a brick church on the left in the middle of town), turn right onto VA-734 / Snickersville Turnpike. Follow VA-734 for about 15 miles, then turn left onto VA-7 W / Harry Byrd Highway. In just under a mile, turn right onto VA-679 / Pine Grove Road. The parking lot for the trailhead is immediately to the right.
There is very limited parking space at the trailhead. Do not park on Pine Grove Road! The trailhead address is Harry Byrd Highway / Pine Grove Road (VA-7 / VA-679), Bluemont, VA, GPS =[masked], -77.85239. If we run short of parking at the trailhead, there is another lot nearby at the SW corner of VA-7 W/ Harry Byrd Highway and VA-601 / Blueridge Mountain Road N, GPS =[masked], [masked], so we can drop off passengers at the trailhead and shuttle drivers should that become necessary.
What to bring: Water, sturdy shoes, a lunch snack, and your furry friend if desired (leashes, please). It may be chilly and windy, so consider the layered look and ear protection, as well as something for unexpected rain. Sunscreen and a spare pair of socks are recommended. This is a kid-free zone, no one under 18 please.
- There are no drinking fountains or restrooms at the trailhead! Philomont General Store (est. 1913) is along the way about 15 minutes from the trailhead, and has a variety of drinks, sandwiches and snacks. On the morning of our visit, they are collecting items for care packages to be sent to our men and women service members serving in Afghanistan over the holidays. If you would like to bring items to contribute, there is more information here: http://tinyurl.com/ay3gnss. (The fee noted is for the brunch, which we won't be staying for.)
- Horseshoe Curve Restaurant is 5 minutes from the trailhead and opens at 12:00 pm.
- Bluemont Vineyard is about 10 minutes from the trailhead along the way back, for those who would like to stop for a glass of wine after the hike. Please drive responsibly.
- Bluemont Vineyard, 18755 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont, VA 20135, http://www.bluemontvineyard.com/
- Hiking Upward trail notes: http://www.hikingupward.com/OVH/RavenRocks/
- Horseshoe Curve Restaurant, 1162 Pine Grove Road Bluemont, VA 20135, (540)[masked]
- Philomont General Store, 36550 Jeb Stuart Road, Philomont, Purcellville, VA 20131, (540)[masked], http://www.philomontgeneralstore.com/
- VA Fall Foliage websites: http://www.dof.virginia.gov/fall/index.htm, http://www.virginia.org/Fall/