It may be snowy and below freezing now, but next Saturday it will be sunny and a balmy 46 degrees at Sky Meadows! Let's go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail!
The route: From the parking lot near the Park Visitor Center, we’ll head west along Piedmont Trail (Red, 0.5 miles) and Ambassador Whitehouse Trail (Light Blue, 1 miles) to the Appalachian Trail. We’ll walk south along the Appalachian Trail (White, 1.2 miles) and turn east to follow North Ridge Trail about 1/3 of its length (Blue, 0.2 miles) to where it intersects with the South Ridge Trail. From there we’ll follow South Ridge Trail (Yellow, 1.4 miles) as it loops along the south boundary of the park to Boston Mill Road (Green, 0.4 miles), which we’ll follow north back to our start point.
The hike is about 5 miles of smiles (your mileage may vary), moderate difficulty, and should take a little over 2 hours, with breaks. The surface is a mix of dirt, gravel, and mown grass. There is a spring along the trail and snow runoff may may the trail muddy in some areas.
Print trail map: http://tinyurl.com/cppxcg5
Google map: http://tinyurl.com/l66pmms
How to get there: Sky Meadows is less than an hour's drive from the I-495 Capital Beltway, just off I-66. From the I-495 Beltway, take exit 49A for I-66 W toward Vienna/Front Royal. Follow I-66W for about 42 miles. Take exit 23 to merge onto US-17 N/VA-55 W/Winchester Rd toward Delaplane/Paris. Continue to follow US-17 N/Winchester Rd for almost 7 miles. Turn left onto State Route 710/Edmonds Lane, drive 0.5 miles, and turn slightly right onto Winchester Road to enter the park. The parking lot is 0.7 miles further at 1124 Winchester Rd, Delaplane, VA 20144.
What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes please). Sunscreen, sunglasses, and snacks for halts are good accessories. Consider the layered look in order to adjust your temperature during the hike. A spare pair of shoes and socks for after the hike may be handy if we run into a little mud.
Weather: The forecast is sunny, with a high temperature of 44 degrees, and light (5-10 mph) S breezes. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/p234f9c
Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers.
Cost: Parking is $5 per car on weekdays; pay and pick up a hangtag at the park gate. (Yes, it went up a buck this year.)
Administrative stuff: The park office area has restrooms and drinking fountains.
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