The Appalachian Trail, while often rugged and remote, is designed to accommodate both people who want to hike the entire trail and those who choose to section hike it, either by backpacking or by slackpacking. This trip covers the northernmost section of Virginia, covering 60 miles between Harpers Ferry, where the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) headquarters is located, and Chester Gap just outside of Front Royal. In between are 60 miles of classic AT trail with varied terrain including beautiful vistas over the Shenandoah Valley, the 'roller coaster' section (with those AT 'muds' and 'puds'), great shelter areas for lunches and breaks - all the time following the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains that forms the boundary between Virginia and West Virginia. Join us as we complete this beautiful section of the AT!
|October 10 to October 16, 2021|
|$1650.00 - FULL|
This trip is rated both a 4 and 5 because it involves hiking from 6.5 to 14 miles a day (see the itinerary for daily mileage) and requires being in excellent physical condition. On two days there are shorter options and the rating of 4 is appropriate if you choose these or if you prefer to just take one or two days off from hiking. A rating of 4 requires aerobic conditioning for at least 40-50 minutes 4-5 times a week with additional endurance exercise (e.g. going for a 2 hour hike with elevation gain once a week) and strength training recommended. Going for longer hikes before the trip is recommended if you want to hike the entire 60+ miles. Rating: 1 2 3  .
This is a hiking trip on the northern Virginia section of the legendary Appalachian Trail. You will be hiking in the mountains with constant elevation gain and loss on a trail that is very rocky at times. We will begin out trip just outside the historic town of Harpers Ferry, although there will be limited time to visit it.
We will be staying at a hostel: the historic Bears Den Lodge located right on the Appalachian Trail. This stone lodge was built in 1930. We will have all of the reservable bunk rooms in the lodge for this week (there is one downstairs bunk room always available for hikers). Most of the beds in the lodge are bunk beds, but because we have the entire hostel, we will only occupy the lower bunks (yay!). Each bunk room has a bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet. There is also a washer and dryer at the hostel.
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.
Covid continues to be so confining that we were all excited to escape into the wilderness of the Appalachian Trail. The private Bear's Den was a wonderful oasis for our group. I was so impressed with the fitness of the other 9 hiker-ladies. We all hiked together and no-one ever lagged behind. The Guides generosity and attention to our comfort and care exceeded my expectations. They were terrific.
Sure helped that we had fantastic weather!! I was travelling with a friend that I met way back on the GC-Havesu trip. Another bonus is that two of my 2021 trips will re-connect me w/ladies I met on this trip. It was good to see the 'back office" on a trip - what better way to see what really happens after the planning is done.
I was a little disappointed there was only a couple of good overlooks along this particular section of the trail and, due to the rockiness, I spent a majority of timing looking at where I was placing my feet vs. being able to enjoy the landscape.
Fabulous guides, always encouraging and helpful. They work really hard to 'take care' of us and keep us safe. The weather was hard one day and I became hypothermic, by my own stupidity. I learned a valuable lesson, which they carefully and thoughtfully guided me thru.
The previous slackpacking trip I had done (Virginia) and the following one (Maryland) were all based out of a single place of lodging. This trip had 3 different places to stay. I really prefer the one "home base."
I have never had a bad AGC trip as it relates to the guides and the activities and the planning that goes into a trip. THis trip because of the women who were on the trip was especially wonderful but AGC has no control over how a group of 10-12 strangers will bond or not bond. THis group was especially cohesive and friendly.
The highlights of my trip were finishing an entire section of the AT, all of the really delicious food and the interaction between the members of our group. I loved staying at Mountain Home. I liked that AGC supported the HI Hostel by staying there (its one of my favorite organizations) and Bear's Den too. Also the day we finished the rollercoaster was my favorite day start to finish: made to order french toast at Mountain Home, excellent and challenging hiking, Claire meeting us at the end with coffees and chocolates then having Thai curry for dinner. I could not have wished for a more perfect day.
I just enjoyed the ease of everyday. All details were expertly handled and we were able enjoy the hike, each other and wonderful meals and showers.
Guides were so enthusiastic, upbeat, and helpful, it would have been impossible not to enjoy it!
Completing the rollercoaster portion of the hike--we knew it would be challenging and 8 of 12 of us did it and stuck together.
I was not sure what to expect and was very happy with the guides (great job!), the food, and the accommodations. I really appreciated the fact that we stayed on schedule, yet felt relaxed and well prepared for the day ahead.
The beautiful scenery and challenging hiking on the AT, meeting and interacting with other women interested in hiking, enjoying the experience without having to worry about logistics and meal prep.
I had a good time. The trip pushed me physically particularly on the long days.
Great group of ladies. Good food. Beautiful hike.
Meeting group members. Roller coaster (believe it or not). Silence in the forests and mountains. Achieving my personal goals.
Trip was awesome... guides, other participants, hikes, food, scenery, you name it. Exceeded my expectations in many ways. Everyone was made to feel comfortable and could hike their hike at their own pace. This was amazing. I wasn't sure if I could hike the whole mileage, having not been on a hike like this before. I was glad I did. Guides were so supportive, of everyone.
Challenging nature of hikes, organization and guides. The hostel was less comfortable and appealing than expected.
The highlights would be the physical challenge and camaraderie among the women
trip was everything I wanted! great people, challenging and beautiful hikes, incredibly organized with excellent leadership.
The gorgeous hiking (weather was perfect!!), amazing company of new friends, the food, the awesome guides. Everything was just fabulous. It could not have been a better week.
Being able to slackpacking the AT for five days to see if I would be able to hike for five days in a row and eventually try to section hike and camp out on the AT.
Well organized itinerary throughout day for optimal hiking experience. Meals were thought out, well prepared and appetizing. Would have liked to start hikes earlier in the day however weather permitted later starts so it worked.
Highlights were the great group of women on this trip, the challenge of trails we hiked, and being able to have Marian as one of the guides.
Flexibility for length of hikes.
Finishing each day. Having lunch overlooking a valley
The guides were awesome. I felt honored and privileged to hike Harper's Ferry with Marian. She made a point to talk and get to know with each of us on an individual basis. I enjoyed the challenge and left feeling more confident by my abilities.