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. Upon entering the National Park we connect with the famed Skyline Drive and soak in the views until we reach our trailhead. Today’s hike quickly takes us away from the crowds and into old growth forests full of life. We hike along the Thornton River before joining with the Piney River and eventually our campsite for the next two nights. 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: 4.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +559’/-1,353’; Van transfer: 2 hours
We leave our heavy packs at camp and set out to tackle the formidable Little Devil Stairs. The challenging route is steep in many sections and requires some scrambling and hand-over-hand navigation. Don’t worry, it’s worth it! Our path up the stairs and along Keyser Run takes us through waterfall-filled gorges and past historic Bolen Cemetery, which predates Shenandoah National Park's creation in 1935. From the top of the gorge we take in the spectacular views across the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. We return to camp after a full day of hiking, and should all sleep well tonight! All meals included.
Day hiking: 8.3 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,918’ / -1,907’
This morning we rise early to enjoy hot beverages and breakfast before breaking camp and hiking towards the western half of Shenandoah National Park. By lunch we should be reunited with our van for lunch, a resupply with fresh foods, and a very short transfer to the trailhead that leads us to Jeremy’s Run. This afternoon’s hike is a gorgeous gradual descent along Jeremy’s Run. Keep your eyes peeled for the native trout tucked into Jeremy’s Run waiting for their next meal. Tonight, we camp along Jeremy’s run, all meals included.
Backpacking: 10.6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,572’/-2,259; Van transfer: 10 min
You’ll notice the sun takes a bit longer to reach us this morning on the western slopes. We sip coffee, listen to soothing Jeremy’s Run and break camp while our guides prepare another delicious breakfast. Today’s hike is a genuine highlight, we have a steady climb to the top of Knob Mountain at 2,865’ where we’re rewarded with stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley and the Massanutten Mountain Range. By the time we’ve returned to our trailhead we’ll have memories of a lifetime, new friends, and a newfound love of Shenandoah National Park. We anticipate returning to REI in Fairfax, Virginia by approximately 6:30pm. Please note that group pace, weather, traffic, and other elements beyond our control make that time variable. Breakfast and lunch included.
Backpacking: 8.0 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,432’/-942’; Van transfer 1 hr 45 min