Date(s) - December 7, 2019
9:30 am - 2:30 pm
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SUMMARY: This is a moderate point-to-point AT hike of 5.35 miles with 1800’ elevation gain and 700’ loss. There will be a car shuttle. In the description below, MP mean Skyline Drive Mile Post.
HIKE DETAILS: After a car shuttle, the hike begins at the Panorama parking area. From there, the trail rises steadily with interesting rock formations and rewarding views to the east. Most of the gain, 1200’, is in this initial 1.8 mile climb to Mary’s Rock. The views from Mary’s Rock itself are extensive. Thereafter, this is mostly an easy, undulating ridgetop hike with frequent views to the west and more inviting rock formations. We’ll pass by Byrds Nest Shelter #3 (composting toilet – BYO TP). There is one more climb of 500’ to the Pinnacles viewpoint, a descent through a green tunnel of mountain laurel, and a final short section hugging the west side of the mountain with big views before we arrive at hike’s end, the Pinnacles Picnic Grounds.
MEETING PLACE AND CAR SHUTTLE: We’ll meet at MP 36.7, the Pinnacles Picnic Ground, 38.623614,+-78.343527, about 5 miles south of Rt. 211/Thornton Gap Entrance Station on Skyline Drive. The entrance to the picnic grounds is on the west side of Skyline Drive. After turning in, drive up and over a small rise to reach the main picnic area where you’ll see restrooms, picnic shelters, and tables.
We’ll leave as many cars as possible at Pinnacles and drive back north to Panorama, MP 31.6, the starting point for our hike. The entrance to Panorama is also on the west side of Skyline Drive, and this parking area has restrooms as well.
COST: Shenandoah NP entrance fee is now $30/vehicle. Cash is best. You may be able to carpool with a pass holder. Please check online for annual and lifetime pass costs.
WHAT TO BRING: Wear sturdy trail shoes. Bring plenty of water and snacks, hat, gloves, rain gear, and one more layer than you think necessary. You may wish to bring hiking poles. The hike begins at 2200’ and ends at 3400.’ Assume 3 degrees colder for every 1000’ of elevation above your home town.
Please leave the doggies at home. Sorry!
CANCELLATION DUE TO SNOW OR ICE: The hike will be cancelled if it’s determined that there is snow or ice on the trail.
PATC Map 10, Shenandoah National Park, Central District