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Last Updated: 08/30/07  

 Welcome to a web site full of information on hiking in the Mid-Atlantic Region (PA, MD, VA and WV) ... topo maps, 3-D maps, elevation profiles, GPS data, directions, trail notes, references, photos.... everything you need to prepare for an excursion into the wilderness. Information for 144 hikes is now available. Venues such as, but not limited to, the GWNF-Great North Mt. (North-east and South-west areas), the northern and  central sections of the Shenandoah National Park/VA,  Massanutten Mt, VA, the Michaux State Forest in PA, the Monongahela National Forest in WV and Green Ridge State Forest in MD are represented.


"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bulletin Board


Dolly Sods Bear Warning   


08/22/2007: I received an Outing Critique concerning this and confirmed it with the Potomac Ranger District this morning:

A black bear has recently destroyed a backpacker's occupied tent and backpack off of the Blackbird Knob Trail. A smaller yearling bear has been invading Red Creek Campground and going through the trash cans. Also, A hiker reported being bluff charged 5 times by a bear last week while in the Sods. He scared it off all 5 times. Don't know the location of that one.The Forest Service has posted signs at all trailheads recommending that tent camping be discontinued until the problem has been resolved.

Contact the Potomac Ranger District before planning any trips there at 304-257-4488 to check on the status of the situation.

Update - 08/30/07: The U.S.F.S. has just published this Press Release.



Attention Non - TOPO! Users: Steve Young (Not the retired 49s Quarterback but a frequent visitor to this site) has found a way to convert the National Geographic TOPO! GPS files used here into a format that can be opened by his Delorme TOPOUSA software. Here's the instructions. You can contact Steve directly if you have questions. His E-mail address is at the bottom of the directions.


I quickly examined the site Steve uses and found that it covers many of the popular mapping software packages and GPS units. Here is the site with the necessary downloads: Note: We at have no experience with this free software. Use at your own risk.




Latest Published Hike(s):

Dolly Sods Circumnavigation - mod 1, WV

Black Forest Trail South, PA

Rockytop - Big Run Loop, VA

Brown Mountain - Rockytop BP Loop, VA

Brown Mountain - Big Run Loop, VA




M. R. Hyker's Latest Adventure(s)




More Photos

Michelle's Blog


08 - 04 to 06 - 07: Allegheny Front Trail - East. Michelle, one of our newest premier backpackers, got her report on her blog before I could even find my keyboard so I'll share the way she saw it with you instead of duplicating her efforts. Here it is:

Michelle's Blog

I will only add that the thickets of brilliant red Cardinal Flowers lining Black Moshannon Creek were incredible. The photos do not do them justice. Oh ... and watch out for "hitch-hikers" in the vicinity of lower Rock Run and then along stretches where the AFT shares its tread with the Moss-Hanne Tr. They're nasty little devils.



Latest Outing Critiques

Name: I&K                                                                                                   Hike: Blackwater Falls SP/Canaan Mountain Loop
Date: 8/25/2007                                                                                                        Rating: 3.5

Critique: Good Hike thru some beautiful country. We always start the hike at the stables even with the smells described in the trail notes. When beginning here you expect to find a bridge over Engine Run in about .2 miles, but it is now gone.  Someone has thankfully placed some rocks so the crossing is easy. (M.R.Hyker Note: The Davis/Allegheny Tr has been rerouted. It is now across the stable drive from the Yellow Birch Tr, a few yards down from the stable. It crosses Engine Run on one of the standard, well built wood and steel park bridge.)

The climb to the intersections with the Plantation Trail is scenic and not difficult, but it has serious erosion.

The transverse of the Plantation Trail is beautiful and easy walking as is the down hill on the Lindy Run trail albeit a little soggy in places.

Be sure to make the side trip to Lindy Point.  In previous trips we did not and found that we were missing one of the highlights of the hike.  The views of the Blackwater gorge are amazing.

The remainder of the hike is pretty mundane; paved road for .6 miles and then a series of trails through the wood to the lodge.

From the lodge the Yellow Birch Trail is somewhat scenic but it is so convoluted that you have to constantly look for the numerous yellow blazes.

Time: 4 1/2 hours with breaks and lunch.


Name: Cory                                                                                                 Hike: AT/Bluff Trail Loop
Date: 8/25/07                                                                                                             Rating: 4

Critique: This was my longest hike to date.  The Shenandoah National Park is quite a drive from Alexandria but well worth it.  I was surprised by the $15.00 entrance fee to the park (gets you a 7-day pass) and wasn't too happy with the fact there was no lower fee for day users.  That makes it for an expensive hike if you only go for the day like I did.  Next time I'll stay down and do a few hikes.  The hike itself was great.  While hiking I came across a female black bear with two cubs.  They were very close to the trail (about 3 miles into it near Marshall Mountain) but posed no threat to me.  She simply walked off when I froze.  I saw bear scat (both fresh and older) and signs of bears feeding on insects throughout the length of the hike.  Also saw some deer later on in the hike.  Overall was very exciting.  I wouldn't recommend this hike to anyone who is out of shape (like me) as the last 4 miles of the hike were a challenge.  I was very glad to have completed it and will actually do it again.  One note...make sure you bring plenty of water.  There is no source of clean water and I met a trio of young hikers who were out.  I ended up giving them some of mine....later wishing badly I had not (it was 100 deg and very humid when I went).  It took me 5.5 hrs to complete the base circuit.



Name: Dave                                                                                                                 Hike: Dolly Sods North
Date: 8/17-8/19                                                                                                         Rating: 4

Critique: Warning! As of last weekend the rangers are warning people not to camp in tents in the sods due to a "nuisance" black bear that actually charged + attacked more than one person and tore into a sleeping camper's tent! I only found out when I arrived and laminated signs were hung from all trailheads. I did the north of the sods as a day hike and saw fresh bear scat all over the Bear Rocks trail (tr521). The place is the blueberry capital of the USA so it is easy to see why so many bears. Almost unheard of for one to become aggressive like this though. Otherwise the Dolly Sods is one of the most beautiful places in the country!



Name: Carol Branscome                                                                                            Hike: Piney Ridge/Thornton River Loop
Date: 8/18/07                                                                                                             Rating: 4

Critique: Nice hike along a river (very low this summer) and back along the AT. Vistas mainly confined to the AT.  Beautiful stand of Tulip Popular trees along the Fork Ridge Trail.

The Fork Ridge Trail section in particular is overgrown with numerous trees across the trail.  We only met 2 other hikers during our 5 hours on the trail and it was a beautiful summer Saturday.




Name: Matt Hoffman                                                                                                  Hike: Red Creek/Big Stonecoal Loop (modified)
Date: 8/11/07                                                                                                             Rating: 4.5

Critique: This was my first time in the Dolly Sods area and I was not disappointed.  Due to some time constraints I was only able to do a day hike.  I did an extended version of Red Creek/Big Stone Coal circuit.  I started by going up Red Creek Trail.  They had received quite a bit of rain during the past week and the water levels were, from what other hikers told me, at "normal" levels where the lower crossings of Red Creek were not rock-hoppable.  The waterworks along Red Creek were wonderful.  I went up to Blackbird Knob trail and took this until Harman trail and then to Rocky Ridge trail.  I then took this down to Big Stone Coal and then back to Red Creek.  The views along Blackbird Knob, and Harman were awesome.  For the most part the trails were well marked and the recently added trail signs were a big plus.  Saw quite a few bear tracks and scat long Blackbird Knob and Harman trails, but no bears.  I will definitely be going back to visit more of the north trails.  My camera decided not to work for me, so I have to re-visit to get some pictures to show everyone else how nice it is.  about 10-20% of the trails were very boggy, and it was definitely the most rock-hopping I ever had to do while on the trail itself.  All in all a wonderful trip.  The Smokies are my favorite place to hike, but this is a close second.




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