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Short, easy hike in the Park

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Chicago
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Short, easy hike in the Park

Hi, would either of these trails be appropriate for a beginner hiker looking for exercise, beauty and maybe being able to say that I stepped foot on the Appalachian Trail??

Stony Man Trail in the Skyland area or Frazier Discovery Trail near the Loft Mountain Wayside?

Thanks!

Warrenton, Virginia
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1. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

We have hikes Stoney Man Trail a number of times with our daughters (when they were young) and our granddaughters (8 and 6) as recently as this past August. At the start of the trail you can pick up a trail booklet that describes various topics of interest while you are hiking. The view at the top is worthwhile. In July a group of 8 of us saw a small (yearling?) black bear eating in the woods; it did not pay us any attention but we got some good photos of it. They may still be out storing up for the winter whilst you are there. Have not be on Frazier Discovery Trail so cannot comment on that one but maybe Wendymath could help out.

Skyland Lodge is close by and may be a good stop off for lunch or to browse their gift shop.

Warrenton, Virginia
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2. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

I meant to say hiked not hikes; I'd better check my grammar better in the future.

Chicago
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3. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

This is just the type of information I am looking for. Thanks!

Chesapeake, VA
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4. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

I have not been ON the Frazier Trail - but I've gone TO it. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have been on that trail. They're older and my s-i-l's back is not good, so I would guess from that that Frazier is a fairly easy hike. I have a soft spot for this trail because it's named for my ancestors who lived in that area pre-Skyline Drive. Go hike it and think about John and Lucy Frazier, my 4G grandparents. I think you'll see an old log house on that trail (looks more like a broken down shed). Not sure it's theirs -- but one of the Frazier's anyway.

Warrenton, Virginia
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5. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

That is very interesting Wendymath; you must have a long history of being in Virginia and especially in the Shenandoahs. You can trace your folks back to pre-Skyline days and that is something. Have you seen the video presentation at Byrd Visitor Center about how they built Skyline Drive and the men and women who did it? We saw it in August and it was very interesting. Guess your ancestors remember the days when the American Chestnut Tree was all over those mountains. If you have photos, that must be great. I wonder if your ancestors were Scot/Irish/English? Have you been to Big Meadow or Skyland when Charlie Maddox is playing? He is an interesting man and has much knowledge of the mountains (it seems to me). Our granddaughters much enjoy listening to him.

Chicago
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6. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

Wendymath, that is so neat that you have such a long history in the area.You come from mountain folks!!! I will think of you and the Fraziers while nearby or walking on the trail.

Nazareth...
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7. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

I have to agree with yellowstone1 about Stony Man Trail. It's not an overly steep climb and the trail is wide and easy. It's less than a mile to the top. The view when you get there, IMO, is the best in the Park; the vista is nearly 300 degrees. Part of this hike is on the AT.

A close second is Hawksbill. It's a little longer and a bit steeper; the view is very nice, although not quite as stunning as Stony Man.

For something really easy, at the end of the Big Meadows Lodge parking lot there is an extremely short little jaunt to a surprisingly great view. I think it's called Blacktop. The trail is only about 100 yards long. Just beneath this rocky outcropping you can pick up the Appalachian trail and follow it for as long as you want in either direction. If you follow it to the left (I think it would be South) you will get to a lovely waterfall about 1.5 miles along.

If you stop at the Byrd Visitor Center near Big Meadows you'll find the park rangers are really knowledgeable about the trails. They can give you all kinds of suggestions. The also have good trail maps for any area you're interested in.

Hope you have a great time!

Warrenton, Virginia
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8. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

I agree with gladdismom, Stony (you would think I would know how to spell it) Man is the easier of the two (Hawksbill is steeper and longer and for a beginner, Stony Man is better). And the Black Rock Overlook just past the Mountain View Cabin at Big Meadows is a very short walk but worth it for the view.

Calabash, North...
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9. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

IF they let you walk in the meadow at Big Meadows, that would be easy. However, I'd suggest tick spray (for mosquitoes too). Not sure what's out there, but you don't want Lyme's disease. I haven't been to Big Meadows in several years.

Warrenton, Virginia
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10. Re: Short, easy hike in the Park

Yes you can usually walk in Big Meadows (unless on the rare occasion when there is a controlled burn) and they also have ranger guided programs (depending on when you visit). It is a nice easy walk; and I forgot that there is a nature trail walk that goes to/from Big Meadows campground (near the check-in station) to near the Byrd Visitor Center and there are narratives at various points along the walk. There are plenty of deer that feed/rest in the Big Meadow.

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