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NVHC Hiker Guide


NVHC hikes are assigned difficulty ratings. A combination of linear distance and elevation gain is used to determine the rating, with 400 feet of elevation gain considered to be equivalent of 1 mile of linear distance. With the “miles” derived from elevation gain added to the linear distance, following are the ratings:

A: Difficult (13 miles or more)
B: Moderately Difficult (10 miles or more, but less than 13 miles)
C: Moderate (7 miles or more, but less than 10 miles)
D: Easy (Less than 7 miles)

For example, a nine-mile hike with 1,000 feet of climbing would be rated B (9 + 2.5 = 11.5).

Elevation loss and pace are not measured in this system. The difficulty rating is separate from the pace of the hike, which is determined by the leader, and is usually specified in the individual hike descriptions.

We recommend that you do not hike if you answer no to any of the five following questions:

1. MEDICAL FITNESS: Are you medically fit to participate in this event?

2. EXPERIENCE: Have you done a hike of similar difficulty in recent past? The hike rating may not always be accurate. Also, different people react differently to elevation change. Therefore the rating is to be used only as a guide, along with other information, such as the actual distance and the amount of climbing, terrain, stream crossings, rock scrambles, and so on. If you have not hiked in the recent past, try an easy hike (rated D) first, and gradually work your way up. We recommend that you do not try a hike of a given rating unless you have comfortably done hikes one rating lower (except for hikes rated D). For instance, do not attempt a B hike unless you have done some C hikes and feel confident of tackling something more challenging.

3. FOOD AND WATER: Have you enough food and water? We recommend that you carry two quarts of water on difficult hikes. If the weather is hot, you may need even more water. Drink plenty of water: it helps you stay cool in summer and warm in winter. We recommend that you bring sufficient food depending on the length of the hike.

4. FOOTWEAR: Have you proper footwear? We recommend hiking boots on all our hikes. The boots should be well broken in, and should preferably be waterproof. Tips for buying new boots: Buy from a well-known outfitter. While considering size, remember that feet expand after hiking; also, you may wear two layers of socks. Try them before buying, with the socks you intend to wear during the hike.

5. CLOTHING: Have you proper clothing? For cold weather we recommend layered clothing. Avoid cotton, as it tends to retain moisture. Materials that wick moisture from the body such as silk, polypropylene, or polyester are recommended. Other cold weather gear may include wool or fleece sweater or jacket, two pairs of socks: synthetic inner layer, and wool or blend for the outer layer, waterproof gloves or mittens, wool or fleece hat, preferably with flaps to cover your ears, and wind shell.

• Cap with visor to prevent sunburn and glare
• Sunscreen
• Shades
• Insect repellent
• Flashlight with batteries
• Matches, kept in a dry bag
• First aid kit
• Extra shirt and socks stored in a dry bag
• Map to enable driving to the trailhead (cell phone coverage is often unreliable)
• Trail map, preferably a topographical map
• Compass, with a knowledge of how to use one
• Whistle
• Toilet paper
• Extra set of car keys

1. If you have any questions about the hike, ask the leader.
2. Listen carefully to the announcements made by the leader prior to and during the hike. Follow the leader’s advice closely.
3. When hiking, keep track of fellow hikers. Try to know who is ahead of you and behind you.

Often there are limits on the number of participants on NVHC events, set by our leaders. This may result in waitlists on Meetup. If you find yourself in this situation, we request that you keep in mind the interest of the leaders and your fellow hikers, and follow the guidelines below:

• If you RSVP’d “yes” for a hike and decide not to go, change your RSVP to “no” as soon as possible so that someone else can go.
• If you RSVP’d “yes” to overlapping events on the same day, decide on one as soon as possible, and change your RSVP to “no” for all others.
• If you are on a waitlist and decide not to go, remove yourself from the list.
• If for some reason you do not get a chance to change your RSVP, send a message through Meetup to the leader, or post it in the conversation view.


Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
NVHC Hiker Guide September 5, 2017 6:26 PM Monster
Shenandoah National Park Twitter Feed December 11, 2014 7:41 PM Ed B.
NVHC Policy for Weather, Children and Pets November 25, 2015 4:18 PM Ed B.
NVHC Store August 30, 2014 2:47 PM Ed B.
Weather Forecast April 22, 2017 5:38 PM Ed B.
Constitution and By-laws October 22, 2014 11:49 AM Ed B.
Hike Leaders Material March 26, 2017 8:35 AM Ed B.
General Information December 25, 2014 4:29 PM Ed B.
Emergency Phone Numbers August 30, 2014 11:55 AM Ed B.
NVHC Officers April 26, 2017 8:00 PM Ed B.
Directions to Meeting Places May 22, 2017 9:05 AM Monster
About Northern Virginia Hiking Club (NVHC) October 13, 2014 7:00 AM Ed B.

Mc Lean, VA

Founded May 9, 2011

This Meetup is community funded


Member dues are used to:
  • Cover Meetup costs
  • Have a reserve fund
  • Provide supplies or equipment
  • Hike organizers are compensated for scouting new hikes and for First Aid/CPR training that they may choose to take. Extra funds left may be contributed to trail maintenance organizations in the area like the Potomac Appalachian Trail Conference.

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After the trial you must pay dues to be a member of this Meetup.

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