What we're about
Upcoming events (3)
The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES) is a beautiful 900-acre preserve in northwestern Loudoun County. With its diverse wildlife habitats, including meadows, streams and heavily forested slopes, BRCES draws a wide variety of birds and other creatures. Join the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy on our monthly walk, and see what’s there! Meet at the Education Center; bring binoculars if you have them. BRCES is located just north of Neersville at 11661 Harpers Ferry Road (Rte 671); detailed directions are at www.brces.org. Questions: Contact Joe Coleman at [masked]. https://loudounwildlife.org/event/birding-the-blue-ridge-center-13/
The hike is about 3 miles round trip. We'll hike for a while and then when we're done we can enjoy a warm fire, conversation and S'mores. Sunday looks to be cold and the ground will be a bit wet from the snow/ice. Dress in layers, wear appropriate shoes and bring water to stay hydrated. Hike will be lead by Cathy Norman and Glenn Colucci who both love nature and sharing that joy with others. Lets take this mindful time so we can reconnect and recharge!
SUMMARY: This is a moderate point-to-point AT hike of 5.35 miles with 1800’ elevation gain and 700’ loss. There will be a car shuttle. In the description below, MP mean Skyline Drive Mile Post. COLD WEATHER HIKING - REQUIRED! (1) No cotton apparel please. (2) Please pack a full rain suit that fits over your multiple winter layers. A full rain suit can protect you not only from rain and snow but from wind and an unexpected drop in temperature. Very lightweight rain suits are available at Columbia in Leesburg and at REI in Tysons. HIKE DETAILS: After a car shuttle (see below), the hike begins at the Panorama parking area. From there, the trail rises steadily with interesting rock formations and rewarding views to the east. Most of the gain, 1200’, is in this initial 1.8 mile climb to Mary’s Rock. The views from Mary’s Rock itself are extensive. Thereafter, this is mostly an easy, undulating ridgetop hike with frequent views to the west and more inviting rock formations. We’ll pass by Byrds Nest Shelter #3 (composting toilet – BYO TP). There is one more climb of 500’ to the Pinnacles viewpoint, a descent through a green tunnel of mountain laurel, and a final short section hugging the west side of the mountain with big views before we arrive at hike's end, the Pinnacles Picnic Grounds. MEETING PLACE AND CAR SHUTTLE: We’ll meet at MP 36.7, the Pinnacles Picnic Ground,[masked],[masked], about 5 miles south of Rt. 211/Thornton Gap Entrance Station on Skyline Drive. The entrance to the picnic grounds is on the west side of Skyline Drive. After turning in, drive up and over a small rise to reach the main picnic area where you’ll see restrooms, picnic shelters, and tables. We’ll leave as many cars as possible at Pinnacles and drive back north to Panorama, MP 31.6, the starting point for our hike. The entrance to Panorama is also on the west side of Skyline Drive, and this parking area has restrooms as well. COST: Shenandoah NP entrance fee is now $30/vehicle. Cash is best. You may be able to carpool with a pass holder. Please check online for annual and lifetime pass costs. WHAT TO BRING: Wear sturdy trail shoes. Bring plenty of water and snacks, multiple clothing layers, hat, gloves/mittens (mittens work much better than gloves), and a full rain suit. You may wish to bring hiking poles. The hike begins at 2200’ and ends at 3400.’ Assume 3 degrees colder for every 1000’ of elevation above your home town. Please leave the doggies at home. Sorry! CANCELLATION DUE TO SNOW OR ICE: The hike will be cancelled if it's determined that there is snow or ice on the trail. REFERENCES: PATC Map 10, Shenandoah National Park, Central District https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/hikemarysrock.htm