Shenandoah National Park / Skyline Drive

Trip FULL - You can still be 1st on the waiting list
Last Updated 4/16/2009

Just an hour west of Washington, DC, lies a beautiful, long, and narrow ridge of mountains known as Shenandoah National Park, one of the most accessible and easily reached National Parks in the USA. We will hike over 100 miles on the 2200 mile long Appalachian Trail National Scenic Trail which spans the entire length of the park.

Our trek parallels the famed Skyline Drive, traversing miles of fine hardwood canopy, all on a ridge high above the surrounding valleys.


Shenandoah National Park View

Menus

We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity. You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often. It's important to have fuel to feed it. Check out some sample menus . Note that this is not necessarily a comprehensive list. If you want to bring a big old chocolate cake, go for it. You'll not only hate carrying it over 100 miles through the Virginia mountains, your body will most likely not desire the empty calories anyway.

Cost

$1650 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with someone else during the 4 hotel nights.

You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Dulles as well as any restaurant meals eaten off the trail. The reason for this is to avoid lavish dinners with bottle after bottle of expensive wine that can occur when food and alcohol are included.

Covered expenses include 4 hotel nights, trail food, ground transportation, permits, guides, and emergency satellite phone service. Personal calls on the sat phone as well as restaurant meals are your responsibility.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg, lives in Hull, MA and has many years of backpacking experience over a variety of terrains. He guided this trip in 2008 and guides most Fitpacking trips. He is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer and a Certified Food Handler.

Todd Soprych, trail name HalfBrew, lives in Savannah, GA and hiked the entire 2200 mile Appalachian Trail in 2008. He is a Wilderness First Responder who will be guiding his first Fitpacking trip.

Itinerary

The Shenandoah Fitpacking Trip will be from May 16-29, 2009. Here is the proposed itinerary. Unlike most Fitpacking trips, where we exclusively sleep in tents, on this trip we will spend 3 nights in cabins and many nights in campsites that have shelters (open faced structures that sleep up to 12). There are tent sites at every shelter, which we encourage you to use, however if the weather is inclement or you just don't feel like setting up a tent, you may opt for staying in the shelter if space is available. Shelter space is unreserved and is on a first come first served basis. At Loft Mt. Campground, a coin-op shower may be available. Here are trail maps for the first week and the second week.


Shenandoah Waterfall

Equipment List

Here is a list of equipment we suggest you bring.

Difficulty

The trails through Shenandoah National Park are well groomed with good footing and moderate elevation gain and loss (although it may not seem like that while hiking). Difficulties arise because there are several days of 10+ mile hikes planned. While this may not seem like much while sitting at your computer or even after say, 7 miles of hiking, cumulative fatigue sets in and every subsequent mile becomes more challenging. The upside is that in May, there will be as much as 15 hours of daylight, which gives plenty of time to complete our daily mileage. By the 2nd week of the 2008 trip, we were finishing 9-mile days by 2PM.

Route

Our journey will begin at the South end of Shenandoah NP at the Furnace Mountain Trailhead. The first day will involve a fairly steep climb to ascend the ridge that joins the Appalachain Trail. From there, we'll hike Northbound every day for almost two weeks, staying near AT shelters, car campgrounds, and in cabins.