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Tuscarora Trail

Saturday, May 13, 2023 - Saturday, May 20, 2023 -- $1475 ★★


The 250-mile long Tuscarora Trail was established over 50 years ago as a quieter alternative to the relatively crowded Appalachian Trail.


As it's our first trip to the Tuscarora Trail, we plan to hike near the Southern Terminus near Shenandoah National Park where we expect a lot of ridge walking and a lot fewer rocks than in the Pennsylvania sections. Most of our route traverses either the Tuscarora Trail, the Massanutten Loop Trail or both. Because a local landowner withdrew permission to access part of the trail on their property, we will begin on the Tuscarora Trail but head back on the Massanutten Loop Trail forming a loop consisting of ridgeline after ridgeline of walking.

Along the way, we will visit Signal Knob for sweeping views of our ubiquitous companion, the Shenandoah River (both North and South branches).


Here is a of our proposed route.


Located almost entirely in the George Washington National Forest we may see various critters such as deer, black bears, raccoons, skunks and if we're lucky, water shrews and rock voles (whatever they are!) This trip is a good sampling of the Shenandoah Valley. We're never too far from a ridge and although it will feel like we're in the middle of nowhere, we will probably see city lights at night in the distance.


Spring is a great time to be in the Shenandoah Valley as weather is still temperate, and bugs haven't yet established themselves. Plus a panoply of wildflowers will be emerging. Why not join us?



Weather

Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures as high as th 90s and nights as cold as freezing, probably with a day (or more) of rainfall or a thunder-shower.. Here is the historical weather Be prepared for colder temps at high elevation as well as warm, sunny, humid weather or rain.



Probable Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Kara Siglin
Any Other Guide(s) TBD

Difficulty

While all Fitpacking trips are difficult some of the time, this one might be considered slightly less strenuous than others because the elevation changes aren't dramatic most of the time, there is a reasonable amount of ridge walking (and road walking unfortunately). Please be aware that hauling all your gear and food for a week is not easy no matter what the terrain is like.



Cost

$1475 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will be responsible for transportation to and from Dulles Airport (IAD), as well as personal equipment, restaurant meals and any gratuities for guides. You may also incur parking charges if you drive and leave your car at the hotel all week.


Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 5 nights in the backcountry, 1 night in a frontcountry campground, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation to/from Dulles and the National Park, park permits, backcountry permits and awesome guides.


Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.



Notes

This is our first trip on the Tuscarora Trail in the George Washington National Forest.


Water should not be difficult to find, but we may end up camping in spots that don't have water and will have to fill up all our vessels when we encounter it a few miles before camp.


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Itinerary
Weather
Guides for this trip
Cost
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)

Itinerary


Saturday, May 13, 2023

Drive or fly into Dulles Airport (IAD). The best time to arrive is between around 9AM-1PM, earlier is generally better. If you have to arrive later that may be fine as long as you've had your pre-trip virtual shakedown and the group can leave Herndon by around 4PM.


Call or text us and we will pick you up and take you to a local hotel where the group will assemble -- hotel TBD


You should have already done an online shakedown pre-trip, but guides will still ask you a few questions and give you a "mini equipment shakedown"


Make your own trail mix from our selection of nuts, fruits and sweets


Go to REI Fairfax, # 11950 Grand Commons Ave, Fairfax, VA 22030, (571) 522-6568 for last minute or forgotten equipment


"Before" body composition measurements taken


All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.


Shuttle to Low-Water Bridge Campground on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River stopping for an opening dinner at a local restaurant along the way (Dinner cost not included in trip price)


Front Country camp at Low-Water Bridge Campground, 192 Panhandle Road, Bentonville, VA 22610, (540) 635-7277, site(s) TBD, elevation 560’


Sunday, May 14, 2023

Begin hiking on the Tuscarora Trail / Massanutten Loop Trail for 6.3 miles to an unnamed campsite on the top of a ridge near Little Crease Mountain.


Fill up with water at around 5.7 miles as we expect the campsite to be dry


Camp at the unnamed campsite, elevation 1940'


Miles today: 6.3. Total miles: 6.3


Possible bailout: VA-613


Monday, May 15, 2023

Hike 5.0 primarily ridge and downhill miles on the Tuscarora Trail / Massanutten Loop Trail to the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, elevation 740'


We are now near Elizabeth Furnace Family Campground (front country). This would be a great place to set up for the night except that it will add an extra 0.6 miles to a 10.7 mile day tomorrow. We may still decide to do this as the trip approaches if participant feedback supports it.


Hike 1.1 miles on the Tuscarora Trail / Massanutten Loop Trail to an unnamed wilderness campsite fairly near water, elevation 980'


Camp at unnmaed campsite, elevation 980’


Miles today 6.1, total 12.4


Possible bailout: VA-678


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Hike 3.4 steep uphill miles to Meneka Peak, elevation 2390'


Hike 1.5 downhill miles to Signal Knob, with sweeping views of the Shenadoah Valley, elevation 2100'


Hike 4.7 ridge miles on the Tuscarora Trail to the Massanutten Loop Trail, elevation 1740'


Hike 1.1 downhill miles on the Massanutten Loop Trail to Mudhole Gap Camping, elevation 750'


Any place called 'Mudhole Gap Camping' has got my interest piqued


Camp at Mudhole Gap Camping, elevation 750'. Water nearby in Little Passage Creek


Miles today: 10.7, total 23.1


Possible bailout: VA-678


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Hike 1.1 miles back up to the intersection with the Tuscarora Trail, elevation 1740'


Hike 4.6 ridge (flat-ish) miles on the Massanutten Ridge to Woodstock Tower Rd, elevation 1840'.


Hike 0.8 steep downhill miles to Little Fort Camp (it used to be a place where Conestoga wagons would gather.


Camp at Little Fort Camp, elevation 1350'. Treatable water nearby in Peters Mill Run


Miles today: 7.7, total 27.5


Possible bailout: Woodstock Tower Rd.


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Hike 4.3 road miles (ugh) along Milford Gap to an accees trail, elevation 1130'


Hike 1.5 uphill miles to Milford Gap, elevation 1735'


Hike 3.2 ridge miles to an unnamed campsite on the Massanutten Loop Trail, elevation 1880'


Probably no water here. We should probably get it at around mile 3.4 today


Camp at unnamed campsite, elevation 1880'


Miles today: 8.9. Total miles: 36.4


Possible bailout: VA-678


Friday, May 19, 2023

Hike 3.2 dowhill miles back to Low-Water Bridge Campground and our vehicles, elevation 560'


End of hiking


Possible bailout: SR-613


Miles today: 3.2. Total miles: 39.6


Shuttle back to our local hotel TBD


Your off-trail items will be retrieved from storage


After body composition measurements taken


Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)


This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.


Saturday, May 20, 2023

Take free airport shuttle or we will pay for a shared cab/Uber


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