State and National Parks Are One of the Treasures Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley

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Go Blue Ridge Travel picks six state parks, forests, and national parks to explore in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. Enjoy a full moon hike on July 31st and August 29th at Shenandoah National Park.

Hiking | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Go Blue Ridge Travel covering Northern Virginia and West Virginia

The mountains are calling and I must go

Virginia Tourism quoted John Muir in an 1863 letter to Muir's sister:
“The mountains are calling and I must go …”

Whether one views the mountains from a car or one wants to conquer it on two feet, either way there is a peace and tranquility that comes over a person as one ascends up the road. In the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley there are state and national parks. But there are also state forest and the infamous Appalachian Trail.

“My granddaughters and I were driving up into the Shenandoah National Park from Massanutten Resort to go geo-caching when a large black object appeared ahead of us. It took me a few seconds to register, that it was a young bear not a dog. That was the moment we realized we were sharing the mountains with not only other humans but wild creatures as well,” said Nancy Craun, owner and founder of Go Blue Ridge Travel.

Shenandoah National Park

"Have you ever taken a woodland walk by the light of the full moon?" said Craun. "Here’s your chance. " On Friday, July 31, rangers will lead a hike to the summit of the highest peak in Shenandoah National Park, Hawksbill Mountain, lit only by the glow of the full moon.  The starting time is 8 p.m. and the program is expected to last two and a half hours.  Participants should meet at the Upper Hawksbill parking lot at mile 46.7 on Skyline Drive. Hiking distance is just over two miles (one mile each way), out and back on the same trail. The elevation gain from the parking lot to the summit is around 520 feet.  There is a viewing platform at the summit, at an elevation of 4,050 feet. If you miss this one, the next is August 29th. Enjoy both the sunset and full moon - another bucket experience.

There are wonderful other hiking, biking, and camping experiences to be had here in the Virginia and West Virginia mountains. For the locales, a Sunday can consist of packing a picnic and heading out to state parks, state forests, historic fire towers and dens where bears hibernate on the Appalachian Trail.

If planning to hike or camp, then being prepared is essential to both a happy experience and a safe one. Chuck Izzo from Appalachian Outdoors Readiness and Essentials is a great resource for both knowledge and gear. Located in Purcellville, Virginia, it will be worth a trip to visit the store. “Be prepared and have a great experience with nature,” said Izzo.

Not everyone wants to pay a fee to go hiking; below is a list of free or donation only excursions for visitors to the valley. "Climbing a park ranger fire tower is an adventure by itself," said Craun.

George Washington and Jefferson State Forests

A neat way to get a look of this state forest is to drive to Woodstock, Virginia and visit the Woodstock Fire Tower. The view of the seven bends of the Shenandoah River is a bucket memory to be had. Located in the Skyline Drive and Shenandoah Valley region, virtually every type of outdoor recreation activity one can imagine is available. Of course hiking, fishing, mountain bicycling and camping lead the way, but don't forget hawk watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and nature photography.

Sky Meadowns State Park

Sky Meadows State Park is truly picturesque with rolling pastures and woodlands. Bring a horse to enjoy the 12 miles of bridle trails, lace up boots for 24 miles of hiking, or bike on nine miles of trails. The Appalachian Trail can be accessed from Sky Meadows.

Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Camp

If into a beautiful drive with a walk along the river, then Elizabeth Furnace meets the requirements for both the young and seniors. Located in the Fort Valley region between Strasburg and Front Royal, this camp is great for picnics. The campground was named for the Elizabeth Furnace, a blast furnace used to make pig iron in the 1800s. With water power from Passage Creek, the furnace purified iron ore to make high-carbon fuel used for forging.

The Appalachian Trail and Bears Den

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is the home of the Appalachian Conservancy. Stop by to learn more about the hiking trails from the best experts in the region. Help out conserving the trail by joining the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. Bear’s Den in Clarke County is a favorite for many children, the view is something to behold as one sits on the rocks and looks out over the valley.

C & O Canal

Following the Potomac River from Washington DC, to bike the C & O Canal is on many adults’s bucket list. Take a shorter ride from Harpers Ferry to Shepherdstown and listen to the birds, fight the insects, and sit along the river’s edge just watching the current go by enjoying the carefree pass time of throwing a stone across the water.

Visit Go Blue Ridge Travel for other articles to read on outdoor adventures in the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia including:

Six Ways to Get Your Kids Excited about Hiking
Shenandoah National Park Opens Kids in the Park Track Program
Best Hiking in the Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia
Hiking in the Shenandoah Valley - Sky Meadows State Park
Pet Friendly Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Shenandoah Valley.

Launched in December 2011, Go Blue Ridge Travel (GoBRT) is an e-commerce marketing company using digital internet channels to both create a travel ecosystem community. GoBRT’s mission is to create a marketing alliance available to businesses in the travel-planning industry. In 2014, the Kids Trail was launched to promote multi-generational family travel.

Contact: Nancy Craun Founder and President and Phone: 540.533.1853 Email: info(at)GoBlueRidgeTravel(dot)com

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