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Capital Hiking Club
Summer/Fall 2021 Hike Schedule

Sign up for hikes through our Meetup page

Sat., August 7, 2021:  Sugarloaf Mountain, MD

Park Map / MD Bus

 

$26.  Long hike: 9 mi., 2300 ft. ascent/descent. Moderate hike: 6 mi

 

Sugarloaf is an unusual geological phenomenon known as a monadnoc: a mountain that is formed by erosion of the adjacent land rather than by volcanic action. We will ascend the summit from the West Parking area, following a loop along the Blue and White trails. This is a lovely hike that's not too far from DC, so not as long of a bus ride as usual. Moderate hikers will do a loop on the Blue Trail. Long hikers will do a figure 8 loop on the Blue and White trails.

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Sat., August 14, 2021:  Sky Meadows State Park, VA

Park Map / VA Bus

 

$26.  Long hike: 12½ mi., 2000 ft. ascent, 1900 ft. descent. Moderate hike: 9 mi., 1500 ft. ascent, 1400 ft. descent.

 

This bucolic state park on the Blue Ridge features sweeping vistas, rolling meadows, and extensive forest. We’ll begin in the park’s west side for stints on the Corporal Morgan and Hadow Trails, then move to the south side, briefly on the North Ridge. “Long hikers will take an additional out and back down the AT. Long hikers will then join moderate hikers, who will then head for the Visitors Center via the Old AT, Ambassador Whitehouse, and North Ridge Trails.

 

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Sat., August 21, 2021:  Signal Knob / Massanutten Mountains, VA

PATC Map G / VA Bus

 

$26.  Long hike: 10½ mi., 2200 ft. ascent/descent. Moderate hike: 8½ mi., 2100 ft. ascent/descent.  A short hike option is available.

 

Signal Knob, the site of a Civil War tower, is known for its view from a rocky promontory.  Today’s visit contains two routes from the scenic Elizabeth Furnace Area in George Washington National Forest. We’ll ascend the Signal Knob Trail (good views en route) to the ridgetop, where moderate hikers veer off on Meneka Trail along the ridge and descend to the bus on the Tuscarora and Massanutten Trails. Long hikers continue to the Signal Knob overlook, and follow the moderate hikers back. Short hike is an out-and-back option of any distance.

 

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Sat., August 28, 2021: Calvert Cliffs State Park / Battle Creek Cypress Swamp / Swim, MD

Park Maps / MD Bus

 

$26.  Two routes totaling 7 mi. with options for more, 800 ft. ascent/descent. Short cuts available.

 

Calvert Cliffs State Park, a famous Maryland landmark noted for its limestone cliffs, is a frequent Capital destination. But today we add something new: a visit to nearby Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, site of one of the northernmost stands of bald cypress trees in the U.S. Our first stop is the state park, where a circuit hike will enable us to view wildlife in the park’s marshes and then spend time at the beach, where we’ll look for fossils washed from limestone rocks (including prehistoric sharks teeth) and enjoy a quick swim in Chesapeake Bay. Afterwards we drive to the swamp to walk the boardwalk and lounge in the shade at happy hour.

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Sat., September 4, 2021:  Potomac Heritage Trail / Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, VA

PATC Map D / VA Bus

 

$26. Long hike: 11½ mi., 1800 ft. ascent, 1700 ft. descent. Moderate hike: 8½ mi., 1300 ft. ascent, 1200 ft. descent.

 

All hikers start at Gulf Branch, and head upstream along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Long hikers continue on a loop in Scott's Run Nature Preserve, with dramatic views of the Potomac Gorge.

 

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Sat., September 11, 2021: Prince William Forest Park, VA 

Park Map / VA Bus

 

$26. Long hike: 11½ mi., 1400 ft. ascent, 1200 ft. descent. Moderate hike: 8½ mi., 1000 ft. ascent, 800 ft. descent.

 

We’ll get a taste of the park’s 37 miles of trails by first heading west, then north, on the South Valley Trail. Moderate hikers follow the Oak Ridge Trail east to a parking area on the park’s Scenic Drive. Long hikers add a circuit on the Farms to Forest Trail, then follow the moderate hikers’ route.

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Sat., September 18, 2021: AT: Keys Gap / Loudoun Heights / Harpers Ferry, WV/MD

PATC Map 7 / MD Bus

 
$26. Long hike 12½ mi., 1600 ft. ascent, 2200 ft. descent. Moderate hike, 9½ mi., 1000 ft. ascent, 1600 ft. descent.

 

We start at Keys Gap on Rt. 7 and hike north on the Appalachian Trail along the Blue Ridge crest to Loudoun Heights. There long hikers leave the trail to follow the blue and orange-blazed trails to Split Rock and its iconic view of Harpers Ferry, and the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Then, resuming on the AT they follow the moderate hikers through historic Harpers Ferry and along the wildwater Potomac to Weverton on Rt. 315a.

 

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Sat., September 25, 2021:  Tuscarora Trail / Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area, WV

PATC Map L / VA Bus

 

$26.  Long hike: 11 mi., 1800 ft. ascent/descent. Moderate hike: 7 mi., 1400 ft. ascent/descent.

 

This hike visits a little known, 23,000-acre wildlife management area in the mountains south of Berkeley Springs, WV. From Rt. 45, we’ll head north on Packhorse Trail Rd. and the High Rock Trail. Long hikers depart the latter at the Equestrian-Bike Trail before turning south on the Tuscarora Trail. Moderate hikers stay on the High Rock Trail to the Tuscarora Trail, where the routes rejoin. After a southbound segment on the Tuscarora Trail, we’ll turn west on the Millrace Trail to meet the Packhorse Trail Road back to the bus.

    

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Sat., October 2, 2021:  Three Top Mtn., Massanutten Mtns. VA

PATC Map G / VA Bus

 

$26. Long hike: 10½ mi., 2,000 ft. ascent, 2,000 ft. descent. Moderate hike: 8½ mi., 1,800 ft. ascent, 1,800 ft. descent.

 

We will venture deep into George Washington National Forest for a remote ramble in the Massanuttens. Starting on Route 747 near Toms Brook in the Shenandoah Valley, we’ll follow the Tuscarora Trail (the less-famous, long-distance alternative to the Appalachian Trail) through rolling farmland before reaching the woods and climbing Rhodes and Doll Ridges to the crest of Three Top Mountain. We’ll then descend along a stream on Mudhole Gap Trail, eventually reaching Elizabeth Furnace, with long hikers adding about 2 miles in a side trip on the Sidewinder, Tuscarora, and Meneka Peak Trails.

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Sat., October 9, 2021: Strickler Knob, Massanutten Mtns., GWNF, VA

PATC Map G / VA Bus

 
$26. Long hike: 10½  mi., 2100 ft. ascent, 2700 ft. descent. Moderate hike: 8 mi., 1300 ft. ascent, 2100 ft. descent.

 

For a hiking adventure amid October color, don’t miss this one. The highlight is the summit overlook of Strickler Knob, the rocky peak that towers above New Market Gap in the Massanuttens.  Moderate hikers ascend to Scothorn Gap from the Crisman Hollow Rd. on the Scothorn Gap Trail, hit the Massanutten Trail and follow it counterclockwise to the ridgeline, where an unofficial, rocky trail will take us to Strickler Knob and its view. We’ll retrace our steps to Scothorn Gap, rejoin the Massanutten Trail, and take it and the Massanutten Connector Trail to Rt. 211.  Long Hikers start from the Gap Creek Trail on Crisman Hollow Rd, cross over down into Duncan Hollow via Peach Orchard Gap, head south (clockwise) on the Massanutten Trail, then follow the route of the moderate hikers.

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Sat., October 16, 2021: Shenandoah River State Park, VA 

Park Map / VA Bus

 

$26.  Long hike: 11 mi., 1100 ft. ascent, 1300 ft. descent. Short hike: 8 mi., 700 ft. ascent, 900 ft. descent.

 

This relatively new Virginia state park south of Front Royal is well known for its boating access to the South Fork of Shenandoah River. But it also has an extensive network of hiking trails.  Today’s offering starts from near the Horse Barn and follows the Bear Bottom, Big Oak, Redtail Ridge, Tulip Popular, Culler’s, Bluebell and Campground Trails to Culler’s Overlook for a wintertime vista of the river, then continues on the Overlook and Turkey Roost Trails to the Massanutten Shelter. Long hikers add a loop on the Point Trail.

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Sat., October 23, 2021:  Greenway Trail, Seneca Creek Park, MD

Park Map / MD Bus

 

$26. Long: 12 mi., 1300 ft. ascent, 1100 ft. descent. Moderate hike: 9 mi., 1100 ft. ascent, 900 ft. descent.

 

It’ll be hard to believe you’re in Montgomery County – the suburbs of Washington, no less – in Seneca Creek State Park. Our hike, much of it in forest, starts at Black Rock Mill and heads east on the Seneca Ridge, Greenway and Long Draught Trails. Near Clopper Lake, moderate hikers take the Great Seneca and Old Pond Trails to the Visitors Center. Long hikers add a circuit around Clopper Lake on the Lake Shore Trail, then follow the moderate hikers to the Visitors Center.

 

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Sat., October 30, 2021:  Crow’s Nest Nature Preserve, VA

Park Map / VA Bus

 

$26.  Long hike: 9½ miles, 800 feet ascent/descent. Moderate hike: 8 miles, 600 feet ascent/descent.

 

The Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve in southern Stafford County is Virginia’s newest nature preserve. Located on a peninsula along the Potomac River, it features 4,000 acres of old-growth woodland with miles of good hiking. We’ll explore various trails that take us, among other places, to Crow’s Nest Point and Boykin’s Landing.

 

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Sat., November 6, 2021:  Gunpowder Falls State Park – Hereford Area, MD

Park / MD Bus

 

$26.  Long hike: 11½ mi., 2600 ft. ascent, 2600 ft. descent. Moderate hike: 10 mi., 2000 ft. ascent, 2000 ft. descent.

 

From York Rd., we’ll begin our exploration of the park’s scenic Hereford Area by heading west on the Gunpowder North Trail and crossing the river at Masemore Rd. Then we ascend the Highland Trail and follow the Gunpowder South Trail eastbound, stopping by the rapids for lunch. Next we follow the Mingo Forks and Bunker Hills Trail, with moderate hikers ending at the south parking lot. Long hikers continue on the Gunpowder South and Panther Branch Trails to Big Falls Road.

 

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Abbreviations key:

 

AT: Appalachian Trail

GWNF: George Washington National Forest

MDTS: Mason Dixon Trail System

PATC: Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

SNP: Shenandoah National Park