What we're about

*** Read our COVID-19 guidelines here: https://dculbackpacking.com/about/covid-19-guidelines/ . ***

DC UL Backpacking hosts an average of 80 backpacking events each year, specializing in high-mileage, lightweight backpacking trips throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Our membership structure helps backpackers gain or enhance their outdoor skills. In general, our trips are quite challenging but you’ll find a wealth of experienced backpackers who are eager to share advice. Visit our website (www.dculbackpacking.com) to learn more about our group and our membership and trip ranks, and to read our FAQs.

Our goal: To cultivate a community of independent outdoors men and women who want nothing more than to have a fulfilling backcountry experience–to wake early, to walk far, and to travel light.

Join us. We look forward to meeting you!

When applying to join our group, make sure to fill out our questionnaire fully. We also require that your profile photo is of yourself. If you have any questions prior to joining, please email organizer[at]dculbackpacking.com

Upcoming events (5)

LM: Ramsey's Draft Wilderness (~19 miles)

Ramsey's Draft Parking (Road Hollow)

Join us on a 19-mile circumnavigation of the Ramsey's Draft Wilderness! This loop in the George Washington National Forest follows ridgelines nearly the whole way, and the high elevations should keep temperatures pleasant. Summer weather and easy mileage make this an ideal trip for new members, applicants welcome!

We'll meet at the Mountain House parking area on Saturday and start hiking at noon with a long climb up to Bald Ridge. For the rest of the day we'll follow this ridge north along the eastern boundary of the wilderness area, taking in any views as they present themselves. At the northeast corner of the wilderness we'll turn west, ending the day at the large campsite at Hiner Spring. Water here is reliable, and if the weather is nice there are views to be had from Hardscrabble Knob a short distance from camp.

On Sunday we'll follow the Shenandoah Mountain Trail along the west boundary of the wilderness, atop another ridge. We'll end with an easy descent to the cars along the Road Hollow Trail and a celebratory meal at Shenandoah Pizza in Staunton.

Water may be scarce along this loop because much of the hiking is done along ridges. The only reliable source is at Saturday's campsite, so make sure you have enough for the day before you start hiking!

Mileage splits are 10/9 with minimal elevation change. Expect highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s, and the potential for rain.
- CalTopo:https://caltopo.com/m/LNH6
- Weather: https://www.wunderground.com/weather/us/va/head-waters

DCULers have maps! I recommend purchasing a copy of Nat Geo Trails Illustrated #791: https://www.natgeomaps.com/ti-791-staunton-shenandoah-mountain-george-washington-and-jefferson-national-forests

Applicants, please send me a gear list by June 7th.

*** DC UL COVID-19 Guidelines ***

· Stay home if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, if you have been in close contact with anyone who has displayed such symptoms, or otherwise believe that you might have been exposed.

· No official carpool will be set.

· Consider your recent fitness level before participating on a trip, especially if you have not been hiking recently. The trip leader may reach out to discuss the trip in more detail with you to ensure you are prepared.

· We will follow state and local rules/recommendations and check for updates continually.

More information on the club's COVID-19 policy: https://dculbackpacking.com/about/covid-19-guidelines/

*By Participating in this or any DCUL activity, you agree and abide by our Liability Waiver (https://dculbackpacking.com/about/liability-waiver/)
and Terms of Use (https://dculbackpacking.com/about/terms-of-use/)

Members and above, don't forget to pay your annual dues if you haven't yet. You can check to see if you need to pay dues by seeing if the current year is listed next to your name in your DC UL profile. Applicants do not need to pay dues for their first trip with the group. To pay your dues via PayPal, use this link: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/DCULKaran/15 ($10 annual dues plus a $5 suggested donation to City Kids Wilderness Project.)

LM: Seneca Creek (~23 miles) (Seneca Falls, Spruce Knob)

Needs a location

I am planning to head to the Seneca Creek area for a backpacking trip. This trip will offer vistas, waterfalls, beautiful meadows and great campsites!

We will gather at the Spruce Knob parking lot (https://bit.ly/39ypVrS) at ~8pm on Friday and will hike in ~0.5 miles and setup camp. On Saturday and Sunday, we will cover ~14 miles and ~9 miles respectively. Here is our itinerary on Caltopo: https://caltopo.com/m/CBN9 . After finishing on Sunday - we can make a quick trip to Spruce Knob - the highest point in WV!!

I can take 10 people on this trip.

Applicants need to send me a gear list.

DC ULers always bring maps. Below are some resources you can use:

https://caltopo.com/m/CBN9

https://www.hikingupward.com/mnf/spruceknobsenecacreek/

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5433335.pdf

DC UL COVID-19 Guidelines:

· Stay home if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, if you have been in close contact with anyone who has displayed such symptoms, or otherwise believe that you might have been exposed.

· No official carpool will be set.

· Consider your recent fitness level before participating on a trip, especially if you have not been hiking recently. The trip leader may reach out to discuss the trip in more detail with you to ensure you are prepared.

· We will follow state and local rules/recommendations and check for updates continually.

More information on the club's COVID-19 policy: https://dculbackpacking.com/about/covid-19-guidelines/

By RSVPing for this trip, you acknowledge that you’ve read our COVID-19 guidelines and that you agree to DC UL's liability waiver terms. (https://dculbackpacking.com/about/liability-waiver)

Members and above, don't forget to pay your annual dues if you haven't yet. You can check to see if you need to pay dues by seeing if the current year is listed next to your name in your DC UL profile. Applicants do not need to pay dues for their first trip with the group. To pay your dues via PayPal, use this link: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/DCULKaran/15 ($10 annual dues plus a $5 suggested donation to City Kids Wilderness Project.)

LM: Emerald Pond Paradise; Southern Massanutten (~25 miles)

Location visible to members

Let’s hike to and swim in a spring-fed, crystal-clear, mountain top pond!

DCUL has three trips listed for the last weekend of June, two of which have long waiting lists. Let’s remedy this. Who’s jumping in with me?

The plan: We will meet at the Vienna Metro Friday at 7:00 p.m. to form carpools and caravan to the huge parking lot on 211, between New Market and Luray. We’ll hike in by headlamp to the first stream crossing to make camp.

Saturday morning we will be on the trail at 7:30 am to climb and rock scramble up the mountain on the Massanutten South Trail. We’ll divert onto the Bird Knob Trail and, on our way to reconnecting to the MST, we’ll divert to Emerald Pond for a dip and siesta. (Bring water shoes to wear while swimming—sharp rocks or broken glass could exist). We’ll continue south on the MST past Pitt Spring to refill our bottles and make a sharp left on the Morgan Run Trail. We’ll look for a good camping spot along Morgan Run.

On Sunday, we’ll hit the trail earlier—at 6:30 am—continuing north on the Morgan Run Trail, turning left on Cub Run, turning left at Catherine Furnace onto Roaring Run Trail, turning right onto Browns Hollow Trail, and turning right on the SMT going north back to our cars.

Our victory lunch will be at the Apple House outside Front Royal on our way back to the Vienna Metro. (Did someone say fresh cider donuts)? https://theapplehouse.net/

Here is a CalTopo sketch of the route. Important: This track is Andrew L.’s much longer VMO version of this trip—for us, make sure you lop off all the parts south of the Morgan Run Trail. If you get to Fridley Gap, turn around. You’ve gone too far: https://caltopo.com/m/VQHM

Expect splits of approximately 1.5miles/12 miles/12 miles. Six to seven hours of hiking each day with elevation gains, rock scrambles, and backpacks is only for the fit. If you don’t regularly exercise, this isn’t for you.

Bring cash if you are accepting a carpool ride—$0.10 per mile is the DCUL expectation. Bring a trash bag and a change of clothes for the ride home.

DCULers have and use maps! The CalTopo track I posted, when downloaded onto Gaia or a GPS device is great, but everyone must bring a paper map, too. Here are some sources.

PATC Map H (https://www.rei.com/product/648865/patc-map-h-trails-in-massanutten-mountain-south-half)
(This one doesn’t show Brown’s Hollow Trail).

Nat Geo Massanutten Map (https://www.rei.com/product/777282/trails-illustrated-massanutten-and-great-north-mountain-trail-map)
(This one doesn’t show Brown’s Hollow Trail, either).

Oh, and I’m just a co-participant on this trip, not a guide or an expert. I’ve been hiking with DCUL since 2017 but have no special training, such as organizational, medical or navigational. I’ve never done this section of the Massanutten mountains, so we are learning this together. If you sign up and can’t come, please let me know—don’t ghost. You are officially on the trip if you meet me at the Vienna Metro. Otherwise, you are doing your own trip until you make physical contact with me. I’m open to questions.

By RSVPing for this trip, you acknowledge that you’ve read our COVID-19 guidelines and that you agree to DC UL's liability waiver terms. (https://dculbackpacking.com/about/liability-waiver)

Please note the COVID-19 club policies:
* All participants should clearly and honestly communicate any concerns they have regarding their potential exposure. Stay home if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, if you have been in close contact with anyone who has displayed such symptoms, or otherwise believe that you might have been exposed.
* Consider your recent fitness level before you RSVP.

For more on DC UL’s COVID-19 policy, click this link: https://dculbackpacking.com/about/covid-19-guidelines/

We are meeting at the Vienna Metro, but here is a Google map for trailhead: "Route 211 Park and Ride Lot" https://www.google.com/maps/place/Route+211+Park+and+Ride+Lot/@38.6411298,-78.5903243,18.25z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x89b4565592872221:0x7c1cd213af70a927!2sNew+Market+Gap!3b1!8m2!3d38.6428967!4d-78.6122367!3m4!1s0x89b456e0bee86b91:0x34d265e8d568744!8m2!3d38.6410985!4d-78.5899881

When signing up, please RSVP with your agreement to the liability waiver, your cell phone number, and your emergency contact person. Also let me know whether you can drive and how many passengers you can take. Applicants must include a gear list so I know you have the basics for this trip.

LM SNP Adventures: Bearfence! Conway River! Mountain Laurels!

Vienna Metro North Bay, Park & Ride

We’re looping together a few highlights of Shenandoah’s Central District for a low-mileage adventure to cap off the month of June. Who wants to join?

The adventure will start at Vienna Metro as we try to remember how to do carpooling—note that DC UL has recently started to offer carpools again at the trip leader’s discretion. If you are willing to be a carpool driver, state in your RSVP how many riders you are comfortable having in your car and any other considerations. (You can read our guidelines here:
https://dculbackpacking.com/about/covid-19-guidelines/)

Once we’re all gathered, we will make our way to Shenandoah. Saturday will still be a short day with a little excitement. We’ll park at the trailhead by Milam Gap and follow the AT south to Bearfence. We’ll enjoy the scramble and then take the Slaughter Trail down to the Conway River Trail where we’ll set up camp. Mileage is around 8 to 9 miles.

Sunday, we’ll start along the Conway River Trail which will merge into the Conway River Road. We’ll pause to assess a connector trail that would bring us to the Cat Knob area. If it looks good, we’ll take that to Cat Knob and then follow the Laurel Prong Trail down to The Laurels area—fingers crossed that we have our timing right to see some blooming mountain laurel. We’ll pause for a brief exploration of Rapidan Camp before taking the Mill Prong Trail back to our cars. If the connector trail is impassable, we’ll continue up the Conway River Road and then briefly follow the AT north to connect with the Laurel Prong Trail and then follow the route outlined above. (10 / 11-ish for the day depending on the route we wind up taking.)

Group size is limited to 10, but I am setting the RSVP limit low in order to prioritize applicants. Applicants will need to submit a gear list in order to be approved. Send me or Michael a message if you have any questions about what should be on your gear list.

DCULers have maps! PATC Map 10: SNP Central District is the one you will want: https://www.patc.net/PATC/Our_Store/PATC_Maps.aspx

Weather-wise, it will most likely be warm—an average of 80s during the day and 60s at night. We’ll update you as we get closer to the event.

The fine print:
-- Stay home if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, if you have been in close contact with anyone who has displayed such symptoms, or otherwise believe that you might have been exposed.
-- Consider your recent fitness level before participating in a trip, especially if you have not been hiking recently. The trip leader may reach out to discuss the trip in more detail with you to ensure you are prepared.
-- We will follow state and local rules/recommendations and check for updates continually.
More information on the club's COVID-19 policy: https://dculbackpacking.com/about/covid-19-guidelines/
-- By RSVPing to this trip or any other DC UL trip, you agree to these guidelines and to DC UL's waiver liability terms (https://dculbackpacking.com/about/liability-waiver/).

Past events (881)

LM: Otter Creek Wilderness (~15 miles)

Needs a location

Photos (35,696)