Guides and backpackers meet at the REI store in Fairfax, Virginia. After introductions, a trip orientation and distribution of group gear we head for Shenandoah National Park. Our backpacking adventure starts on the Appalachian Trail. We warm up our legs on a gradual climb to Mary’s Rock Summit at 3,514’ in elevation! After soaking in the views and fueling up on lunch we head towards camp. This evening we set up camp near one of Shenandoah National Park’s iconic shelters and with any luck we’ll meet through hikers traveling the length of the Appalachian Trail. Tonight, we share a hearty meal prepared by our guides, listen for owls, and rest up for tomorrow’s adventure. Lunch and dinner included.
Backpacking: 3.0 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,373’/-419’; Van transfer: 2 hours
This morning we wake up on the ridgeline of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You won’t want to miss sunrise up here! Our guides will have hot drinks waiting and a delicious breakfast to fuel us before we backpack to our next camp. We start with a few miles on the Appalachian Trail before crossing Skyline Drive and heading downhill towards historic Corbin Cabin. We learn about the human history in Shenandoah National Park and come to appreciate the sacrifices that were made to preserve this land for generations to come. This afternoon we set up camp along Brokenback Run, a picturesque setting we can call home for the next two nights. Our guides will teach us how to filter water and craft another delicious backcountry meal. All meals included.
Backpacking: 7.6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,643’ / -2,468’
This morning we prepare to summit Old Rag as we leave our heavy gear behind and set off on a day hike we won’t soon forget. There are two options to summit Old Rag. The first is a well-established and maintained trail that’s suitable for most. The second is significantly more difficult with more elevation gain, more distance, and a challenging rock scramble. Our guides will help us decide on the hike that’s the best fit for each individual’s goals and abilities. Both routes will take us to the summit of Old Rag at 3,274’ in elevation where we’ll rest and enjoy panoramic views of Shenandoah National Park and the idyllic farmsteads below. This evening we settle back into camp and have the chance to soak our tired feet in the cool mountain stream running just a stone’s throw away. All meals included.
Day hiking: 9.2 miles on established trails, Elevation gain/loss: +2,728’/-2,713’ or 10.4 miles with a challenging rock scramble, Elevation gain/loss: 3,266’/3,238’
Note: Due to park regulations, Old Rag permits cannot be guaranteed. If we cannot secure permits, we will adjust the itinerary to include a day on White Oak Canyon and, when possible, include Old Rag on the final day of this itinerary.
We sip coffee this morning and take in the soothing sounds of Brokenback Run while our guides prepare one last backcountry meal. After breaking camp and donning our packs we set off to chase more blue ridge vistas. We take a short detour to summit Robertson Mountain on the way down to the edge of the park where we’ll find our van. Don’t worry, if your muscles are tired and your heart is content one of our guides can take you on a shorter route down. Once we are all safely back at the van we head into the charming town of Sperryville for a celebratory lunch before returning to the REI in Fairfax, Virginia. Breakfast and Lunch included.
Backpacking: 4.4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +730/-2,424’; Van transfer 1 hr 30 min