PLEASE NOTE: This is a point-to-point hike along the Appalachian Trail and will require a car shuttle.
Cooler temps and lower humidity levels leads to good visibility from ridge-lines and rock outcroppings along the high elevation trails in the Shenandoah National Park (SNP). This is definitely something to be counted on for this 8 to 9 mile hike along the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the Central District of the SNP.
Starting from the Stony Man Mountain Nature Trail parking lot, we will immediately access the AT as we hike North towards the highest elevation point that the AT reaches in the SNP just below the summit of Stony Man Mountain. Before continuing our journey, we will take a loop trail to the rock-outcropping summit of Stony Man Mountain for a fantastic, expansive view of the Shenandoah Valley and the rolling mountains that stretch out towards the Allegheny Plateau in West Virginia.
Back on the AT, we will reach another rock-outcropping no more than another mile down the trail at Little Stony Man. And if it’s a brilliant, sunny day, we may even have an opportunity to see some rock climbers/repellers who migrate to Little Stony Man at this time of the year to scale its rock wall because of its warm southwest face that receives a lot of direct sunlight.
So, at this point we are only 2 miles into the hike and we have already had a couple of outstanding views. However, there are plenty more to come. At the 6 to 7 mile mark of the hike we will ascend Pinnacle Mountain where we will reach another rock-outcropping offering up some more fantastic views. As we approach the final 2 miles of the hike we will find ourselves along a ridge-line that will have on-going views to the West. And upon reaching the height of Marys Rock, we will be in a spot that offers up an almost 360 degree panoramic view.
After taking in the views and scenery from Mary's Rock, we will retrace our steps over a short distance on the AT in order to access the Meadow Spring Trail which we will descend to a parking lot along the Skyline Drive and our parked vehicles.
Near the mid-point of the hike, we will stop for lunch. There will also be several opportunities during the hike where I will provide a chance for everyone to rest, get a drink, and have a snack.
After we have concluded our hike along this beautiful high elevation stretch of the AT, we will have the option of stopping at a local brewery for a post-hike drink and some socializing.
What To Bring With You:
Please bring plenty of water and wear hiking boots/shoes. Trekking poles are recommended for this hike. We will be taking a nice, well deserved break for lunch at the mid-way point of our hike - so bring lunch and snacks!!
Fees & Such: Of course for the carpool to work, some have to offer to drive so others can ride. Riders, please give your driver $5.00 to cover their expenses.
And for those that have a Shenandoah National Park Pass or other valid National Park Pass, please bring it with you.