"Green Acres" it ain't, but we love owning and visiting the Hawksbill Cabin, near Stanley and Luray, Virginia, and a wealth of outdoor activities, including: the "World Famous" Shenandoah River, Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, Luray Caverns, and Massanutten Resort. From time to time we'll post about other stuff, too.
As the number of blog posts grows, we've added a few navigation tools in the right column to facilitate getting around the site.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Turk Mountain: An Easy SNP Day Hike
At the summit of Turk Mountain
As I mentioned yesterday, I took Tessie out for an inaugural
hike in Shenandoah National Park recently, and chose the easy Turk Mountain
summit hike as our destination. Earlier
we’d warmed up a little on Calf Mountain after entering the Park from Waynesboro,
and afterwards we drove a few miles north on Skyline Drive to the trailhead for
There is a more challenging Turk Mountain hike described on
Hiking Upward, and linked below. They
list their version as a 10.4 mile loop with multiple stream crossings and
2,400+ feet of altitude gain. That’s not
the hike Tessie and I took – ours started at the Turk Gap parking area,
milepost 94.1, and we did a 2.2 mile out-and-back with only about 480 feet of
altitude gain, net.
This is a well-maintained trail that runs along the AT for
part of the way. In fact, Tessie and I
encountered a pair of north bound AT section hikers taking a lunch break at the
parking area. What a wet day it was – I’m
sure that was keeping that appetite up, but I didn’t have any trail magic to
share with them.
As you can see from the sparseness of my photography on this
trail, I was pretty focused on working with Tessie on her leash for the
route. Still, we did enjoy the
rhododendrons in bloom, and made note of several geologic layers that the trail
passes through, including a couple of talus fields. The rainy day really brought out the colors
of the lichen that covered many of these stones.
Upon reaching the summit, given the rainy day and overcast
skies, there is not a lot I can report about the views that are supposed to be
the highlight of this hike. I’m one who
doesn’t mind not having the view if the effect of the weather is interesting
enough, and here it was, with wispy clouds blowing through the tree
This stony ridge is narrow and tough for footing, and my
little dog looked up at me for guidance in some of the areas up there. We had a good bonding experience – I’ll take
her back on the trail sometime soon, and hopefully will be able to join my
friends at Appalachian Outdoors Adventures with their dogs by the end of the
As far as the trail goes, this one offers a very typical
experience for Park visitors. It is a
good one down in the Southern District, where there aren’t typically many
crowds on the trails, so it has that going for it. A hiker who has done the research on the
vegetation, wildlife, and history of the Park will certainly find a lot here;
and if you take the time to dig into the geology of the Park there is a lot to
ponder in the nearly 500 feet of elevation gain here – you probably cover two
or three hundred million years of geological history.
It’s one I definitely will do again, and I may even take up
this route from Hiking Upward: