What we're about

This is a group for anyone interested in backpacking in the Virginia area and surrounding states. All skill levels are welcome. If you'd like first dibs on a trip be sure to join our Premium Group page at https://www.meetup.com/Virginia-Backpacking... (https://www.meetup.com/Virginia-Backpacking-Premium) where we initially post all trips.

You should join this group if you enjoy the outdoors, like the idea of packing everything you need for a weekend on your back, and carrying it a few miles into the wilderness. Also, even though we're based out of Richmond, don't let it prevent you from signing up if you live elsewhere in Virginia. Trips will be led in all regions of the state and as long as you're willing to travel to a destination we'll be glad to have you join.

If you're new to backpacking there are plenty of experienced backpackers to help shorten your learning curve to help avoid some of the more common mistakes we've all likely made at some point in our travels.

There will be a good range of hikes for different skill levels including some nice, easy, introductory trips as well as some more intense up and down hikes. The great part is each hike will have a good summary of what you can expect and you decide what works best for you.

Upcoming events (5)

REI - I've Never Been Backpacking: Basics for the Beginner

Join us at REI Short Pump as Brian leads this class intended for those that are intrigued by the idea of backpacking but aren't quite sure they're ready to take the plunge. We'll discuss an overview of several aspects of backpacking such as equipment, trip planning, as well as tips and tricks for beginners. We'll also share experiences, photos, and answer any questions you may have. Brian is in his third decade of backpacking and has been leading small group overnight trips since his late teens. His favorite places to backpack are in the Mount Rogers area of Virginia as well as the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and we are delighted to have him share his knowledge! Feel free to post any questions you may have to the comments section.

Emerald Pond Overnight Backpacking Trip

Needs a location

Emerald Pond is a spring fed pond in a small hollow atop Massanutten Mountain in the George Washington National Forest. This will be a one night backpacking trip starting at the Massanutten Visitor Center on Rte. 211 between the towns of New Market and Luray, Virginia. This is a short hike of 8 miles with about 1,700 feet of elevation gain. Points of interest on this hike are scenic views from the ridge of the Shenandoah Valley, Emerald Pond with it's exceptional clarity (great swimming hole in the summer months, maybe not so much on this trip), many large ant hills of the Allegheny Mound Ant, some of which have a diameter over 8' and are 3' tall and a mountain top meadow that gives an incredible star show on clear nights. Note: This hike starts off with an extremely steep and strenuous 1000 ft. climb over 1 mile right out of the gate. If you're not sure of your ability to make that kind of a climb with full pack weight, please test yourself before the trip. After the initial climb the trail levels out and is mostly ridge walking with just slight rolling elevation changes. Note: This is a WINTER backpacking trip. The mountain top campsite we will be using has an average low of 20°. Which means it could easily drop in to the low teens. You will need at least a 0° sleeping bag and 2 pads to be warm. Make sure you have the proper gear by the time of the trip. BECAUSE OF THE EXTREMELY LOW OVERNIGHT TEMPERATURE, AND NEED FOR SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT TO DEAL WITH THE COLD, THIS MAY NOT BE THE RIGHT TRIP FOR FIRST TIME BACKPACKERS. DAY 1 - We will meet directly at the trailhead at 12 noon which is in the parking lot of the now closed Massanutten Visitor Center. GPS coordinates [masked], [masked]). Hike 4 miles to our campsite. Set up camp and enjoy the evening! There is limited camping at the pond itself, if we have a large group we will camp in the meadow which is a quarter mile away. DAY 2- Have breakfast, break camp. Hike 4 miles back to the Parking Area. Details • Hiking Distance: 8 miles • Hiking Pace: Moderate (about 2 miles per hour) • Trail Terrain: gravel, dirt • Difficulty: Moderate • More Info: Hiking Upward https://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/EmeraldPond/ • What to Bring: Backpacking Checklist (https://www.rei.com/content/dam/documents/pdf/Gear%20Checklists/Printer%20Friendly/Backpacking_Checklist_PDF.pdf) • Organizer Will Provide: Trail maps, driving directions, basic first aid kit • Dogs Allowed if well behaved • Carpool Location: No organized carpool for this trip. • Recommended Payment to Drivers: N/A • Return Time: 3:00 pm or earlier, depending on departure time • Cancellation: If weather becomes an issue, call or check your email for updates before leaving. Additional Information • Hiker Responsibilities (https://www.meetup.com/Virginia-Backpacking/pages/23716484/Hiker_Responsibilities). • Liability Disclaimer (https://www.meetup.com/Virginia-Backpacking/pages/23716390/Liability_Disclaimer).

False Cape State Park (Backpacking, 10 Miles, Moderate)

False Cape State Park

Given the lead time on this trip, those that RSVP will be asked to confirm their attendance 1 month prior to the trip in case there are others on the waitlist. The suggested voluntary contribution is $10.00 per person for these sites. Given the expected distance and the remoteness, this hike is not to be taken lightly. While it lacks significant elevation changes, portions of this hike are on sandy terrain and will make you work hard for each step. We must walk through the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge trails to get to False Cape State Park. Hikers will be dropped off at the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge visitor center (to save a mile of hiking) while drivers will drive back to Little Island Park and hike back to the start point. Nestled between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, False Cape State Park is one of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic coast. As the former home of Native Americans, the historic Wash Woods community and a Coast Guard life saving station, False Cape honors the hardy souls who made a living from the sea. The park offers an opportunity to experience nature in a unique, primitive setting. • There is potable water at campsites. Drinking water can also be filled up at the Visitor Center. Campers must bring containers to carry water for drinking and cooking. • There are pit toilets. Note: This is a backpacking trip. Temperatures and conditions could be VERY cold in April, proper cold weather gear could be needed. Make sure you have the proper gear by the time of the trip. DAY 1 - Drive to Back Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to drop off hikers, drivers drive back to Little Island Park to leave cars at the lot, then hike to the Visitor Center, fill up water, then hike to the campsites. Set up camp, and relax or go for a day hike. DAY 2- Have breakfast at camp and/or feel free to take a morning hike in the park. Break camp. Hike back to Back Bay Visitor Center while drivers hike to Little Island Park and shuttle back. Have lunch at a restaurant nearby or head back to Richmond. Details: • Hiking Distance: 10 - 24 miles (24 is total if you day hike down to North Carolina during the trip) • Hiking Pace: Moderate (about 2 miles per hour) • Trail Terrain: sand, dirt • Difficulty: Moderate • More Info: False Cape State Park (http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/false-cape#general_information) • Organizer Will Provide: Trail maps, driving directions, basic first aid kit • Dogs Not Allowed • Carpool Location: 8:00 am Target, 4521 S Laburnum Ave, Richmond, VA 23231 (side by Michael's) • Recommended Payment to Drivers: $50 per vehicle, to be divided evenly by the passengers and driver • Return Time: 6pm or earlier, depending on departure time • Cancellation: If weather becomes an issue, call or check your email for updates before leaving. Additional Information • Hiker Responsibilities (https://www.meetup.com/Virginia-Backpacking/pages/23716484/Hiker_Responsibilities). • Liability Disclaimer (https://www.meetup.com/Virginia-Backpacking/pages/23716390/Liability_Disclaimer).

Beginner's Backpack Trip - Caledon State Park (7.0 Miles, Easy)

All are welcome on this hike and beginners are highly encouraged to join this great introductory backpack trip! Experienced backpackers will be leading this event to help you along the way and to answer any questions you may have. ***There is $5 voluntary fee to attend this event. This will help cover the cost of the campsites that have been reserved. Payment can be made at the event. ***In exchange for allowing a larger group of people to attend this trip we've partnered with the local ranger to help clean up portions of the beach area along the Potomac River on this trip. Trash bags will be provided and helping clean up is voluntary but appreciated. Mostly known for day hikes, Caledon State Park began renting 6 primitive campsites near the Potomac River back in 2014. We'll be hiking 3.5 miles of fire roads from the Visitor Center to the campsites near the river. • Each site is a framed, sand-filled pad with a fire ring, lantern post and picnic table. Sites are 24 x 36 ft. Three to four tents per site are possible. • Campers must set up on the framed area. • No potable water. Campers must bring water for drinking and cooking. • The campground has a portable toilet. No electricity or showers. Note: This is a backpacking trip. Make sure you have the proper gear by the time of the trip. DAY 1 - Drive to Visitor Center, arrive shortly after 2:00 pm. Hike 3.5 miles to campsites. Set up camp, start a campfire, and enjoy the evening! DAY 2- Have breakfast and feel free to take a morning hike in the park. Break camp. Hike 3.5 miles back to the Visitor Center. Details • Hiking Distance: 7 miles • Hiking Pace: Moderate (about 2 miles per hour) • Trail Terrain: gravel, dirt • Difficulty: Easy-to-Moderate • More Info: Caledon State Park (http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/caledon.shtml#general_information) • What to Bring: Backpacking Checklist (https://www.rei.com/content/dam/documents/pdf/Gear%20Checklists/Printer%20Friendly/Backpacking_Checklist_PDF.pdf) • Organizer Will Provide: Trail maps, driving directions, basic first aid kit • Dogs Not Allowed • Carpool Location: Carpool 1:00 pm from commuter lot behind Virginia Family Dentistry in Ashland (10500 Atlee Station Rd, Ashland, VA 23005) • Recommended Payment to Drivers: $25 per vehicle, to be divided evenly by the passengers and driver • Return Time: 1pm or earlier, depending on departure time • Cancellation: If weather becomes an issue, call or check your email for updates before leaving. Additional Information • Hiker Responsibilities (https://www.meetup.com/Virginia-Backpacking/pages/23716484/Hiker_Responsibilities). • Liability Disclaimer (https://www.meetup.com/Virginia-Backpacking/pages/23716390/Liability_Disclaimer).

Past events (56)

Belle Isle State Park Backpacking (3.0 miles, Easy)

Belle Isle State Park

Photos (1,422)