Monthly Archives: August 2015

Hawksbill – Fishers Gap Loop, including Skyland-Big Meadows Trail (Shenandoah National Park, VA)

At 4,050 feet, Hawksbill Mountain is the highest peak in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. The summit offers panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as mighty Massanutten Mountain to the west. It’s a short, albeit steep, climb to … Continue reading

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Hazel Falls, Hazel Cave, and White Rocks Trail Loop (Shenandoah National Park, VA)

In terms of height, Shenandoah National Park’s Hazel Falls pales in comparison to its better-known neighbors, such as South River, Lewis Spring, or Dark Hollow Falls. But tucked away in a narrow, intimate gorge littered with caves, the multi-tiered waterfall … Continue reading

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Haul Road Trail (Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, VA)

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, like the much better-known Theodore Roosevelt Island ten miles to the north, is a living reminder of what the Washington, DC area looked like before it became the metropolis of today. In the days of the … Continue reading

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Piney Ridge – Thornton River Trail Loop (Shenandoah National Park, VA)

Shenandoah National Park’s nearly 11-mile Piney Ridge-Thornton River Trail circuit covers nearly 1,700 feet in elevation gain/loss—perhaps one of several reasons this loop hike is lightly traveled. On a hot Saturday in July, I encountered only one pair of hikers—on … Continue reading

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Potomac Heritage Trail – Theodore Roosevelt Island to Fort Marcy (George Washington Memorial Parkway, VA)

It is a roughly six-minute drive from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Fort Marcy along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, a route predominantly used by commuters in the Washington, DC metro area. Most, however, are completely unaware of the charming underworld … Continue reading

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Cathedral Falls (Gauley Bridge, WV)

For visitors to West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River, a stop at Cathedral Falls—located just outside the park near the town of Gauley Bridge—is a must. Presumably named for the Cane Branch Church situated just upstream, Cathedral Falls tumbles … Continue reading

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Sandstone Falls Overlook Trail (New River Gorge National River, WV)

Sandstone Falls Overlook is an underwhelming hike in an otherwise overwhelming park. High above West Virginia’s gorgeous New River Gorge, the overlook offers only a sliver of a view, just enough to see 25-foot Sandstone Falls at a great distance. … Continue reading

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Big Branch Trail Loop (New River Gorge National River, WV)

The Big Branch Trail at West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River treks through a peaceful, serene landscape of dense canopy and tumbling cascades, highlighted by a pair of waterfalls (15 and 30 feet). In winter, the ridge portion offers decent … Continue reading

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