This hike loops around the entire G. Richard Thompson Wildlife
Management Area and is one of our favorites in the winter months. Almost
8 miles in length and with an elevation remaining under 2,200
feet, you can still have a great hike when the daylight hours
IMPORTANT NOTE: This hike is in a Virginia Wildlife Management Area which now requires a permit. Effective January 1, 2012, The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) requires an Access Permit for visitors to department-owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and public fishing lakes for anyone age 17 and older, unless they possess a valid Virginia hunting, freshwater fishing, or trapping license, or a current Virginia boat registration. All hikers who are age 17 and older, unless they possess a valid Virginia hunting, freshwater fishing, or trapping license, or a current Virginia boat registration, will need an access permit to hike on any Wildlife Management Area.
The one thing to keep in mind is that this area
is very popular during hunting
season, so make sure you wear some blaze
orange if you are hiking anytime from late November to the
end of January.
If you do this hike in nice weather a great way to top this hike off is to stop for lunch at Maxwell's Pub in Middleburg on the way back and grab a seat on their outdoor deck, which is dog friendly.
Start by walking up the dirt road to Lake
Thompson. Turn right
walking beside the lake and then veer right
will run into several large blow downs from tropical
storm Camille obstructing the trails.
After .8 miles come to the intersection
of Lake Trail
that turns to the left. Continue straight
on the smaller Stone Wall Trail for the steepest portion of
hike. In .5 miles the Appalachian
Trail (AT) will enter from your right.
Continue straight (which now becomes the AT) for 1.2 mile
where the trail branches,
stay left on the white blazed AT until crossing
the Lake Trail in another .3 miles.
In another .6 miles the
AT will cross a dirt road.
Rejoin the white blazed AT on the opposite side of the dirt road.
In .3 miles pass a side
trail on your
right. Start descending and in 1.1 miles you will reach the junction
of the Vernon Smith Trail (VST).
Turn left on the VST (the AT is part of this)
and in 70 yards the AT will turn to your
straight on the VST for 1.2 miles as it winds
around Wildcat Hollow before passing some
ruins and a small trail on your
left. Continue straight
on the VST for another .7 miles where it reaches a small
shed and intersects a dirt road.
Turn right on the dirt road for .1 miles until the road
branches, veer left as you continue downhill for another
.9 miles. This section of the trail runs
alongside a fence and private property as it descends the
A trail will intersect
from the left (private property with a red barn on your
right). Turn left downhill for 100 yards. Then turn right at
the four way trail junction.
In 150 yards, you will arrive back at
Thompson Lake. Continue straight back to the parking lot.