Shenandoah National Park straddles the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains as they run north and south for over 100 miles. Embracing rolling hills, quiet hollows, abrupt hillsides, and verdant forests, the Park contains over 450 miles of hiking trails. The Appalachian Trail is the best known of these and this section of the trail is absolutely gorgeous in all seasons. Because Skyline Drive follows this crest, the AT feels a little less remote here than in other sections, but that is more than made up for by the presence of well-spaced lodges along the way, offering warm beds and hot food at the end of every day. The human history of the Park is also very interesting and we'll learn about the people who inhabited this area for years as we go lodge to lodge on the Appalachian Trail. Maximum group size: 12
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This trip is suitable for any woman who either enjoys hiking or is new to hiking and wants to learn in a safe and fun environment. While the trail ups and downs are not huge (i.e less than 1000 feet at a time), they are continuous and there is little flat. A rating of 3 requires aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. On several days there are options for longer hikes; if you choose to do all of them, this trip would be closer to a rating of 4, and your aerobic conditioning should be for at least 40-50 minutes 4-5 days a week. There are typically 4 to 6 hours of daily activity. Rating: 1 2 5
This trip is all about hiking the Appalachian Trail in style. You can have a trail name, hike from 5.5 to 9.7 miles a day (depending on individual choices) going up and down and up and down, immerse yourself in the lore and natural history of the Appalachian Trail - and end every night with a hot shower and soft bed.
We'll spend the first and last night at The Mimslyn Inn in Luray, Virginia where you can step back in history with its picturesque surroundings and historic manor and find southern hospitality. In between we stay at renowned Park Lodges with two nights at Big Meadows Lodge and one night at Skyland Lodge. Built in 1939 with stones hewn from the Massanutten Mountains and native wormy chestnut, Big Meadows Lodge has an easy, natural feeling and is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The legacy of Skyland Lodge begins in 1888, when George Freeman Pollock Jr. makes it his mission to find the perfect spot for a summer retreat. He calls the property's breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley "beauty beyond description." The two lodges have standard rooms with 2 beds and a bathroom in each room. The Mimslyn offers a variety of single rooms, double rooms and double cottages. All have shared bathrooms. There are 4 single supplements available for this trip.
Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.
Our AGC , Jody and Sharon were the best, my fellow travelers were a group of amazing women, the actual trip was well planned and challenging, but lovely.
I thoroughly enjoyed the women in this group, including the guides. There were so many interesting and lively perspectives and life stories. Also, I enjoyed the scenery and the knowledge that I could hike five or six miles a day over difficult terrain.
The guides as always were great and the ladies really bonded probably more for me than any other ACG trip.
The camaraderie of the group was amazing. The guides helped to facilitate this feeling.
The camaraderie and friendship of the women was first and foremost made the trip such a joy. While eating dinner in the lodge one night, another woman not in our group passed by and commented by asking, "how long have you all been together?". She was shocked that we had been together for a few days and not years because we were having such a great time laughing and sharing stories with each other. Our two guides, Sharon and Jodie, were the best also and made the trip so special.
Friendly, competent, energetic guides leading each day
Just being able to step outside my comfort level and realizing that at age 80 I can still accomplish new challenges. It was my first backpacking experience and I loved every aspect of the trip. I appreciated the pre-trip instructions which thoroughly prepared me for layering clothes and what to include in my pack.
The guides & the participants were stellar.
The guides were excellent.
The fellow travelers were the highlight. The women on the trip were truly good company! Fun, interesting and easy going. Getting to know them all while in gorgeous Shenandoah National Park was a treat.
The people, definitely the people. Every participant, both guides and clients, was supportive, fun, and full of positive energy. A great group of women.
Everything from the marvelous AT itself, the gorgeous weather, the fantastic food, the seeming ease with the guides managed every aspect, but what tops my list is the fabulous group of women I was privileged to share this adventure with!!
All the women on this trip made it special in so many ways. Everyone was very supportive and fun to be with.
As a new hiker, the instruction and support were instrumental in reducing any anxiety and nervousness. Because the planning was so detail-oriented, it took all the guesswork out so I could enjoy the activities and other participants. I will definitely sign up for another trip!
The guides and other ladies in the trip.
I live close by and have travelled to this area numerous times, but never really hiked much of it. I liked the guided, supported, coached hike through an area that was otherwise familiar to me as a way to overcome some fears left after my last hiking trip when I sustained a bit of a fall. Regaining some hiking confidence was really rewarding. And the area is gorgeous with all of the trees in full leaf and blooming mountain laurel, it was truly beautiful.
My tripmates and Alicia and Lindsay (our guides) made the trip special. We had a wonderful group of highly educated and well-traveled women who shared their experiences and lives with each other. The scenery was spectacular. It was another memorable group trip with AGC.
My cousin Mary Sue was on the trip.
Perfect level of hiking for me. Not too steep.
This was my first experience hiking in a group with guides. Being a novice, I appreciated having knowledgeable guides. The trip was special to me also as I traveled with three friends plus met 8 special women with the same interest as me. The park was so beautiful- beyond my expectations. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
This was a wonderful group of woman and I felt like there was a place for everyone to shine!
The small group of women, the guides and the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.
The Shenandoah's are beautiful, but having the opportunity to hike small sections by myself, as well as lead or sweep made me feel capable and trusted. This is probably my favorite AGC trip I have ever been on....out of six, I think. After the absolute disaster of North Carolina Backpacking, I thought I was done with the A.T. However, this trip has changed my mind.
Good Company, Great Guides, Extremely nice weather, and the ability to just enjoy a trip that was pre-planned by someone else.
Everything was very organized . The guides were wonderful.
The other women on this trip made it special for me.
Was able to see another US National Park.
I enjoyed the relationship with the guides and the other people on the tour The food was awesome The accommodations were great I felt very secure during my hike even though I had no experience
1.knowing I could just show up and everything was planned and put in motion 2. Knowing everyone was vaccinated 3. Amazing weather
The guide(s) took a lot of pictures of the group which we wouldn't have gotten otherwise and it is greatly appreciated. Places we stayed were nice. There was enough flexibility in the activity level each day.
Hiking successfully on the AT and being supported by incredible women every step of the way. I was the slowest every single day. More experienced hikers shared tips and tricks that made each day better and better. I never felt pressure to move faster than my abilities and nothing felt better than reaching the top and being cheered and congratulated by the group. It was an amazing week!
The guides, the weather, the other hikers, the rock scramble.
The logistics of the itinerary must have been complicated for the Guides but it sure presented a perfect experience for us hikers. As an example, the Bearfence scramble section was not my cup of tea since I am not a good scrambler. It was more important to me to continue hiking around the scramble on the actual AT. Our group split almost perfectly in half as to who wanted to do which and it was wonderful that we had that choice.
The weather was perfect
The Shenandoah Valley is stunning. Carrie and Alicia were both excellent guides. Carrie has an incredible knowledge about the local plants and trees.
The guides, accommodations, and the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley made for a fantastic trip (we had near perfect weather, too).
Our two guides made this trip an exceptional experience.
The guides, food, transportation, organization… all of it flawless.
The trip was great! Lainie and Laurie did an excellent job of making sure we were all happy and comfortable!
The description of the trip as a 3 or a 4 was quite accurate. The optional hikes were presented well by our guides and there was no pressure to do them.
Very well designed, lots of fun experiences included along with the main event--hiking! The guides were very good--knowledgeable, attentive, and fun. The various accommodations and meals were great,
The trip was amazing. The guides worked tirelessly to ensure we all were prepared each day to begin our hike. Women, weather and walking one of the most beautiful places on earth. Perfect trip all the way around.
First experience with a trip like this. Had a great time.
Loved the trip! Well executed and thoroughly thought through in all aspects. Beyond excellent!
The trip exceeded my expectations. It was the guides who made it happen.
Far beyond what I’d hoped for.
I didn't know what to truly expect. With that said I enjoyed it. It was one of those hikes that you reflect on and realize it was rewarding. Weather was in our favor and the group of gals and guides made for a great week!
Weather was great, fun participants, nice accommodations, delicious food. Enjoyed this section of the AT for the second time, did the trip in Spring 2016. Enjoyed it a bit more in the spring.
Exceeded my expectations. This was my first AGC trip but not my last
The hiking was a little harder than I thought but I also prepared less than I should have.
This trip was exactly what I was looking for - hiking the AT without camping.
Except for the first night the accommodations were very nice! It was amazing that all 12 of us women got along so well
Every day was a highlight! Particularly fun was the last night's lodging at what I call the ACG sorority house, lifestyles of the rich and famous edition!
Great group of women, guides worked hard and weather lined up to make for an enjoyable 4 days of hiking.
Great trip. I understood going in that a 3/4 designation may not be as demanding as I would like. I chose the trip out of interest in hiking the AT for the first time and the proximity to a family visit, following the trip. Claire and Sharon were awesome guides and adapted well to the various fitness/skill levels in the group.
The guides were awesome. The hikes were also as expected. Two things I'd say Offer more 'optional together' meals. As an introvert, it felt tiring to eat every meal together and I had to carve out my own down time. Also when there are significantly slower folks, there should always be 2 groups and not a pressure that everyone stay together.
The view, nature, and just being outside in general. The guides were wonderful- supportive, knowledgeable, engaging.
It was nice at the end of the day for luggage to be in the room. The guides were always accessible for questions and help.
Getting to know the guides and participants. Seeing the wildlife (bear and rattlesnake) The food prepared by the guides. Pushing my physical limits and keeping up!
Saw bears and a rattlesnake!
The lodges were great, hiking was beautiful, and the food very good. Always love the camaraderie of an AGC trip.
Overcoming my fear of bears. We saw bears 3 out of the 4 days and by the end of the trip I was Loki g forward to seeing more of those cute little bears.
I had high expectations for this trip, and all were exceeded! Wow. Everything was a highlight; there's no way for me to pick one or even a few things.
Great group of women, excellent food and accommodations, competent and kind guides, beautiful hikes
Highlights: Another great AGC trip. A typical AGC group of smart, accomplished, diverse and fun women who share a love of the outdoors and adventure travel. Competent, easy going, well organized and fun-loving guides who set the right tone from the start. Lowlights: None
The people! Wonderful ladies
Excellent lodging and meals, extremely warm and understanding guides, and friendly team members.
I was so excited to be hiking on the AT and the main highlight for me was being there, challenging myself and meeting and bonding with some amazing women.
I liked everything about this trip! The highlights were the guides, the ease of each day, and the food we enjoyed. The hiking was excellent but I expected that!
Very much enjoyed all aspects of the trip
Getting caught in the rain! Seriously, the guides were the highlight - Kim and Claire were awesome.
The group dynamic though very varied, worked well together. The weather though unpredictable, was in our favor. The guides were very transparent which made me feel comfortable. Comradery was excellent.
Fun, nice leaders and a great group! Loved the lodges.
The guides were wonderful! Clair and Kim were such good guides, both with great senses of humor, very knowledgeable about the area, and mighty good meal and snack planners. The entire trip was perfect start to finish.
great vegan food options
I loved every minute, the guides were so organized, and helpful. The places we stayed at every nite was much more upscaled than I expected. Very nice!
The guides were fantastic! They went above and beyond. I was out of shape, so I personally would have preferred a slightly slower pace and more chances to stop and take photos. I appreciated being given my own room on occasion.
New friends, great guides, stretching myself personally, beautiful scenery
The entire trip was amazing. Loved the hiking and the leaders were beyond awesome!!
I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I signed up for the trip 6 weeks prior. My concern was not my ability to do it, but my pace. The ladies and the guides never made me feel like a slow poke.
I appreciated that the whole trip was planned from accomodations to meals to transportation. Everything was laid out, planned and implemented. I was just along for the ride and amazing experience.
The guides thought of everything and kept us well informed of the plans, meals, weather, the trail and all. I enjoyed all the women. It seems that people come expecting to get along and do accommodate each other.
Great location, guides, and group of women!
Guides were wonderful. Hiking and trails were as described...so I could just enjoy the walk in the woods.
The daily hikes were very well organized by the guides. Interaction between hikers was amazing. Food was great and accommodations were comfortable. I can't even begin to say enough WONDERFUL things about Karen and Kim!