Massanutten Loop Trail (In Progress)
The Massanutten Trail is a 71-mile National Recreation Trail in George Washington National Forest in Central Virginia. Much of the path is steep and rugged/rocky, with some mountain views. The trail travels the Massanutten Range around its inner valley. Shenandoah National Park is to the east, and Great North Mountain is to the west. The trail's origins are in the American Revolutionary War. Originally known as Morgan's Road, a portion of the trail at Veach Gap was built as a potential avenue for retreat in case the Continental Army had been defeated at the battle of Yorktown. George Washington had Daniel Morgan construct the road over the eastern ridge into the valley. In the 19th century, the area was used for mining and the...
Jefferson Rock
I was informed by a friend to check this place out and told I would love it and not be disappointed. Admittedly, I had never heard of Jefferson Rock before, but I surmised the name came from Thomas Jefferson. I would later learn that he stood there on October 25, 1783; who knew 241 years later, I would stand there? Jefferson described the view as "worth a voyage across the Atlantic,” it seems he hadn't been to any higher elevations yet. It was a short hike from the railroad station parking lot, the only nearby area to park. Many streets are narrow, to begin with, and then they're marked “no parking” or flagged "2 hours only". Since I didn't want to be constrained in time, I opted for the train station. It was a walk southeast on...
Copernicus Ridge
With all the trails available to hike, including the famous white-blazed Appalachian Trail dominating in popularity, there’s something unique about the orange-blazed Massanutten Trail. I rarely see other hikers, compared to the more popular trails. The Massanutten Trail is a George Washington National Forest loop trail system. It is a rugged 71-mile trail that encircles Fort Valley in Shenandoah County. Today I hiked Copernicus Ridge. When you turn onto Forest Road 374 from State Route 675, the forest road bears right, and to the left is the gravel road to the parking lot. I parked on the first pull-off and just passed the gate on the left. I could have parked in one of the pull-offs further up the road. There is a small pull-off...
Big Schloss & Mill Mountain
Big Schloss is a peak in the Great North Mountain range of the Appalachian mountains, with an elevation of 2,964 feet. The peak is in George Washington National Forest and borders Virginia and West Virginia. There are several different routes to hiking this mountain and Mill Mountain. I opted to hike from Wolf Gap and do an out-and-back hike. I grabbed my pack, locked the car, and was on the trail by 7:59 am. The first part of the trail coming out of Wolf Gap is where I would pick up most of my elevation gain. This would be the most challenging part of the trail, but the trail switchbacks up to the ridge, and I did not find it difficult. Once up on the ridge, I had plenty of views looking into Virginia and West Virginia, depending on...
Meneka Peak
This was a fun hike, sitting north of Buzzard rock, which I had hiked a few weeks prior. I had read up on this loop hike, and what I was able to determine was it was a mix of conditions from river crossings, rock gardens, and steep and obscured views from the summit. I found all but the steepness to be accurate. The parking area for Meneka Peak and or Signal Knob is quite large. When I arrived, there was a handful of vehicles already in the parking lot; all but one was covered in frost. I had anticipated this would be a popular hike, and for the most part, it was as the lot was full upon my return, although I wouldn't see another person until I crossed paths with two young women who were upbound as I was on my return to the trailhead...
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