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The Northern Virginia Leg of the Appalachian Trail is One Exhausting Climb after Another!

The Appalachian Trail has plentiful 4,000 foot plus heights farther south of the Blue Ridge of northern Virginia. The northern Virginia leg is one exhausting climb after another, still. Views drop west onto the Great Valley on open mountain balds. To the east lie the rolling meadows of Virginia's hunt country and the bumpy spine of the Blue Ridge runs southward.

Appalachian Trail Coming Into Virginia
Appalachian Trail VA

Interrupted occasionally by the thrashing of birds foraging among the sassafras, spicebush, dogwood, and hornbeam, the mountains here harbor quiet moments, come fall and winter. Hike along rock lookouts, cliffs, and low ridges, using abandoned dirt roads and dirt footpaths; through stream hollows, meadows, and fields.

Sassafras, appalachian trail

Chester Gap to Manassas Gap

Hike north to Manassas Gap from the start at Chester Gap. Cross several streams and climb two hills. Seven miles of moderate terrain.

Manassas Gap Shelter
Manassas Gap Shelter, appalachian trail

Manassas Gap to G. Richard Thompson Area

For a distance of 5.5 miles, start at Manassas Gap and hike north to Lot #7 in the G. Richard Thompson Area. Cross several streams, hike ascending moderate terrain.

G. Richard Thompson Area to Ashby Gap

For a distance of 6.8 miles, start at Lot #7 in the G. Richard Thompson Area and hike north to Ashby Gap. Hike is descending in general. Cross several streams and climb one hill of moderate terrain. Sky Meadows State Park is where to eat Lunch.

Hiking To Ashby Gap
Hiking To Ashby Gap, appalachian trail

Ashby Gap to Ashby Hollow

For a distance of 7.8 miles, start near Ashby Gap and hike north to Ashby Hollow. Cross five streams and ascend four hills of moderate terrain. Several views of valleys and mountains.

Ashby Hollow to Snickers Gap

For a distance of 6.8 miles, start near Ashby Hollow and hike north to Snickers Gap. Cross four streams and ascend four hills with moderate difficulty. Stop at Sam Moore Appalachian Trail Shelter for lunch. Several views of valleys and mountains.

Snickers Gap to Shannondale Road

For a distance of 8.4 miles, start at Snickers Gap and hike north to Shannondale Road. Except for a descent at Devils Race course, hike is generally uphill with moderate terrain. Several views of valleys and mountains.

Devils Race Course Shelter
Devils Race Course Shelter, appalachian trail

Shannondale Road to Harpers Ferry

For a distance of 10.2 miles, start at Shannondale Road and hike north to Harpers Ferry. Except for an ascent at Loudoun Heights, hike is generally downhill with moderate terrain. Rest on Loudoun Heights, lunch at an overlook. Several views of valleys and mountains.

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, appalachian trail

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