You may have noticed, I hike a lot when Nancy is away. Just a week after my last hike, I am at it again. Nancy left on Sunday morning for a business trip to St. Louis so after dropping her off at the airport, Jeremy and I headed to the Shenandoah for a hike. Last week I hiked the southern district so this time around I found a hike in the north. When I lived in Woodbridge and Stafford I would hike the northern district often because it was closer to my house. Now that I live in Ashburn, the same drive gets me to the southern district so that is generally where I hike. I can get a good drive in the country, a long hike, and be home by 6 for dinner.
This time around I didn’t have the luxury of time. We got a late start so I found a new trail in the northern district. All told Front Royal is only an hour from my house and the Dickey Ridge Loop is just 5 miles inside the park. The hike itself is a small one being just 3 mile and I would say it is a moderate hike. Lots of people on this one as well because of its location to the entrance and relative quickness.
From the trail head you head down a fire road towards Snead Farm. This was private property before being bought by the park service to become part of the Shenandoah National Park. I think the fire road is another reason the trail is popular. The fire road provides easy access to something you can “see.” Instead of taking the fire road to the farm, we took the path less traveled. We headed straight up the mountain instead of taking the fire road.
Going this way we ran into lots of people coming from the other direction. I honestly like to do the difficult part of the hike first to get it out of the way. Let me tell you however the hike up the mount was a strenuous one, had to take a couple breaks even. One nice thing is about halfway up the trail there is a clear cut section providing a nice view of the valley below. Once we got onto the Snead Farm Trail, things got a lot easier and eventually you get to the fire road at the farm. The farm has a few old building and a stone wall which are cool.
A great little hike if you don’t have a lot of time and its right at in the northern district of the Shenandoah. You can make this a simple in and out to the farm via the fire road or you can make it a loop with part of the trail a more strenuous hike which is nice.