Shenandoah National Park is within a couple of hours driving distance of the Baltimore-Washington Metro area. I went on a overnight backpacking trip this weekend to the park and it was absolutely gorgeous.
A moderate to strenuous overnight 14 mile hike that I would highly recommend (after doing it this weekend) is a loop the stitches together parts of the Appalachian Trail, the Neighbor Mountain Trail and the Jeremy's Run Trail.
The Mid-Atlantic Hikes web site (Thanks to Michael B. at the State Department for the pointer to this great site) gives a great explanation of the hike including step by step route directions and topographic maps. Some points I would emphasize or recommend are:
- Make sure you get a (free) backcountry camping permit at the ranger station. We came in through the Thornton Gap entrance and the Park Rangers was super friendly and knowledgeable about the park, and provided excellent advice on trail conditions and great camping spots
- Do it clockwise: Appalachian Trail > Neighbor Mountain Trail > Jeremy's Run Trail. It is pretty, feels nicer to go against the flow of the water, and the last bit of the hike on the first day are the switchbacks down Neighbor Mountain
- The highest point on the hike is the summit of Neighbor Mountain at 2725 ft
- Do the longest part of the hike (~9 miles) the first day. About half mile beyond where Neighbor Mountain Trail meets the Jeremy's Run Trail there are some great camping spots at the top of a waterfall. Spend your night there. Great water source, spectacular scenery, and falling asleep and waking up to the sound of falling water is just magical
- Have a great pair of waterproof hiking boots on. You will be crossing Jeremy's run about 14 times the second day in order to get back to where you started
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This blog post first appeared on Anil John | Blog (https://blog.aniljohn.com). The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent my employer’s view in any way.