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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tyroler Holzhacker's Avatar
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    Any suggestions for hammock camping/section hiking the AT through the SFNP near Front Royal

    Hello my fellow Hammock aficionados from the Mid Atlantic area (DELMARVAPA): I am thinking about planning a spring walkabout (section hike) along the AT starting at Front Royal or there about...perhaps Thornton Gap as well. The idea is to hike out and back so only one car is necessary. Does anyone have any recommendations? The trip will only be for 2 days. I am trying to get out more in 2020, and don't want to have to drive too far to get there. Front Royal or Sperryville/Thornton Gap VA would be my preferred entry points to the AT. Any thoughts? Thanks in Advance. My wife and I will be taking our hammocks and camping off the trail as we section hike the AT, or rather an out and back. Everyone have a blessed 2020!

  2. #2
    PopcornFool's Avatar
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    If you're just hiking the AT and not leaving the main trail, it's simple ... just pick a direction and follow the white blaze/AT markers to where you want to turn around; then head back the other way. It doesn't matter which entry point you pick or which direction you go, there are plenty of trees for hanging virtually everywhere along the AT in VA. You can camp/hang anywhere along the trail, although when you're in Shenandoah National Park (SNP), they do want you to register beforehand to leave them your planned itinerary, they do have some common sense constraints like not pitching camp right on the trail or next to water sources, etc., and they do encourage you to camp at/near shelters when you can (though I've never once seen anyone enforcing that).

    You might want to check out the Virginia Trail guide at this link: https://virginiatrailguide.com/trail-index/at_sections/ It has good stuff about a lot of trails in VA including the AT. It breaks the AT down section-by-section in VA and provides some good information about each section (even photos).

    If you're not hard-set on strictly staying on the AT, I highly encourage you to consider getting off the AT an explore some of the rest of the SNP's backcountry. Once the weather gets nicer, the AT can get pretty busy during certain days with thru hikers, day hikers, dog walkers, etc. It can be fun sometimes to meet new people and swap greetings, but after awhile, I always feel like I'm hiking along one of my neighborhood running paths. Personally, I like getting off the AT and exploring all the other 'trails less traveled'. I've been on week-long trips when I didn't see another human.

    Check out this link on the Shenandoah National Park (SNP) website: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvis...ntry-trips.htm

    I use this all the time for planning my hikes in SNP. It let's you choose hikes based on whether you are beginner, experienced, and advanced hikers. You can also pick by how many nights you want to stay out, notable things to see/do (like waterfalls or views), entry points for the trails based on milepost numbers along Scenic Drive (the Front Royal entry point is at milepost 0 of course, at the very top of the park, and Thornton Gap is roughly at MP 32), and other key information like whether it's suitable for winter or whether they want you to call them about it first (for example, some trails cross streams that are too high to cross at certain times of year so they want to let you know whether it's safe before you head out). Each suggested trip has a link to a trip guide with mileage each day and notes.

    A lot of times, I'll find a hike that maybe comes close to what I want to do, then modify it by doing it backwards or tacking on an extra day or changing my route a little or whatever. Make sure you get yourself a good set of maps if you plan to do anything in the park that's more than a simple out and back.

    You might also want to check out All Trails: https://www.alltrails.com/ I've found some great trip suggestions from folks who post their suggestions on this site.

    I hope this helps!
    Have fun!

  3. #3
    PopcornFool's Avatar
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    Also ... I forgot to mention the WhiteBlaze site: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/forum.php
    It's much like this site, except it's focused on AT discussions. It has several forums and topics specific to hammocks.

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