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George Washington National Forest – Virginia , USA

By Editor | June 17, 2009

George Washington National Forest Waterfall

June is a great time to explore Virginia’s backcountry, because the trails are no longer crowded with thru-hikers moving north to Katahdin. Start at the Appalachian Trail from the parking lot and begin a challehging 3,100-foot ascent along The Priest with 37 switchbacks over 4 miles-one of the largest uninterrupted elevation changes on the entire AT.

Watch for deer, bears, and wild turkeys. For the first 1.5 miles, the trail crosses Cripple Creek, then climbs over a steep rock outcropping with views of the Tye River Valley and Three Ridges Mountain. Rise above the Tye River Valley to Virginia’s best views of the wilderness. Bear left after the summit onto an unnamed blue-blazed trail. Follow it to Priest Shelter and a nearby spring. Camp here. and descend 6 miles south the next day to the Fish Hatchery, pausing for more breathtaking views at Spy Rock Overlook.

Start: From Staunton, take I-81 S to VA 606 E (Exit 205). L onto US 11; in .5 mi, R onto VA 56 E.ln 12 mi. park in AT lot on R.
End: Take VA 56 W 8 mi. to Fish Hatchery lot on L.

George Washington National Forest area map

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