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Hiker Comments for the GRT Wildlife Management Area Hike - 1 to 30 of 30   
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 26, 2015
First of all, never had to pay a fee to hike here also there is many parking spots to access this area. Yes, there is a sign that says you need a fishing, hunting or boating licenses which helps fund the place, but no front person asking any money. Funny thing, there is no donate box that I can find...

Anyways back to the hiking! I went today with a group of people from Sunday Funday Hiking Group in Front Royal. We did the full loop but parked a car at Ted Lower parking lot if we wanted to switch things up. We never encounter any knee deep mud like others talked about (even yesterday rain storm), also the parking lot (lake) is big compared to other locations. The Trillium trail was blooming and seen a lot of trillium on the AT too. We also found morel mushrooms throughout our hike :)

The trails need a little work on but most of the trails were at some point logging roads back in the day. Little trails here and there from deer and hunters, so keep an eye on your map. Some trees are on the trail but not much, I counted about three. Didn't see any weeds up to my chest then again it's April.

By: Katie Brainerd Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 10, 2015
Such a crappy place!! All these trees everywhere and mud up to my knees!! I'm 5 feet and I almost drowned in the mud. Plus parking was terrible. I recommend NOT to attend😡😤

By: Ellen and Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 12, 2014
There is no hunting on Sundays. Hunting schedule is here: We have been hiking Thompson for years. One of our favorite hikes. We amp it up a bit by turning right on the AT and hiking down to a small trail that leads back to the main trail that comes up from the lake, so we are doing a loop that adds some mileage and also takes us up that climb twice. Today was clear, only slightly chilly. Beautiful day to hike. Some parts of the trail up from the lake and the AT in between the two fire roads were in bad shape due to downed trees/limbs. The wind storm apparently snapped off the tops of many trees and brought down lots of limbs. We spent a fair amount of time climbing over this stuff or, in some cases, bushwhacking around it. Still loved this hike anyway.

By: GinaLo Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 31, 2013
This is a fee area, which we paid online before heading out to the hike. The parking area is not marked from the road, but we did not have too much trouble locating it. The lake was full, and we saw one fisherman. All started well, but ended quickly. The trails are not kept up at all at this time of year, weeds up to your waist and chest at some places. Not fun nor comfortable for us or our dog. We only made it about 30 minutes before deciding to turn around when conditions did not improve. The trails are more suited for hunting in full coverage clothing, in the fall/winter, not hiking in late summer. Not impressed that we used a paid area with worse trail maintenance than any of the other (20+) hikes in the area we have tried.

By: Hans und Heidi Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 5, 2012
This is a "fee area" now. You must have a license to hunt, fish or boat in Va. or you can call 866-721-6911 or go online to to get a pass to hike here. Hardly worth it as we think there are more scenic places to go. We found the woodlands here not so pretty. The trails have many wildflowers and we came for the trilliums, but they have barely begun to come up yet. In two weeks they should be in full bloom.

Also the sign on the road is down, so if you don't know this place look for the lake on the left just before the car park entrance. In previous reviews the lake was leaking dry, but now it is fulled up and stocked with trouts. We saw many trouts swimming about and several fishermen but the fishes were doing a smart job of avoiding the fishermen.

By: john applin Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2012
Overall a pretty good hike, dog friendly.  First went to grt the last day of hunting season.  big mistake.  Returned today - serene.  Trail appears to be well managed.  Evidence of clearing debris from the trail.  One suggestion, however, would be for blazes to be painted along the grt trails.  The AT was clearly marked, of course.  The grt trails were difficult to follow.  Getting lost would be easy were it not for following the paths of others who'd gone before, leaving a path through the leaves. 

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2012
This is a good hike for those of us not yet ready for long distance routes.  Initially, the trail winds around the back of the mountain behind the lake.  You warm up quickly on this stretch.  Grades aren't steep, just long.  Don't look for any trail blazes as there aren't any.  Taking a left onto the AT is comforting for the multitude of blazes. This comfort vanishes with the return to grt trails.  I got nervous crossing streams and going through thickets that weren't on the directions.  That nervousness increased when I never saw the ruins mentioned in the directions.  Again, blazes here would've eased my anxiety.  A blue blaze (the only one on the trail) identifying the last third of the trail was overwhelmingly comforting.

Take this hike.  Its a good one.  Pay more attention to the written directions than the map. They're spot on where the maze of trails on the map I found confusing.

By: Andrew in DC Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 3, 2011
We decided to give this trail a try based on its proximity to the city and to I-66. While we enjoyed the hike, and saw only a couple of other hikers during the day, we found the lack of maintenance of the trials greatly impacted our overall enjoyment of this otherwise great woodland hike.

A couple of things to note. First, the lake is no longer there, what is left is more of a stagnant pond. We weren't sure if this was the result of a dry and hot July or of a decision by the park management. Certainly a disappointment to us, and probably more so to the two thru hikers on the AT who wandered down for a swim. Second, as noted on the trail directions, the first 200 yards or so of the trail have multiple trees down over the pathways. As the trees have been down for some time, there is a lot of vines and other plants crowding the trail. The trail is clearly underneath it all, and if you push through the plants and light branches you'll be in the clear in a few hundred yards. In a few more years, this section will likely be impassible without some clearing. That said, once you push through this section, you get to the very best part of the hike.

After the downed trees, the trail gradually gains elevation as you approach the AT section. Near the junction with the AT and shortly thereafter, the observant may notice some very interesting trees. Along this section of the trail is a grove over very old Tulip Trees (Liliordenron). One tree was massive with a split trunk that had to be at least 6 feet or more in diameter, as such it has probably been around for a few centuries. There are other large, fine specimens of Tulip Tree along the trail, with a very large, now deceased giant right along the trail. This was a great surprise and a very memorable part of the trip.

Following the downed trees and through the AT section of the hike is the highlight of this circuit. After turning off onto the Vernon Smith Trail (VST) the trail, like the terrain, begins to go down hill rather quickly. From this point on the trail does not appear to be maintained at all. We waded through growth the ranged from a ankle to shoulder hight and consisted of everything from soft grasses, to lots of wild raspberry and rose. In addition to some very minor scratches, we spent a good portion of this hike thinking about ticks (which thanks to the dampness and DEET did not turn out to be a problem). While we never had to go more than about 50 yards without a clear trail to follow, the growth makes long pants a must.

The trail will take you to the very edges of the park where you will be provided with nice views of horse farms and vineyards, but also areas where land owners are clear cut their property for whatever reason. This was a reminder as to how quickly the development is pushing up against the first range of peaks to our west and made us thankful of preservation efforts to protect areas like the GRT Wildlife Park.

That said, due to the growth I would recommend this hike as one that is best done after a fall frost has killed of the trail growth. If you go in the summer, long pants would be worth considering. That said, despite the variable conditions, the AT section and the grove of ancient Tulip Trees made this a worthwhile hike. A little trail maintenance would make it one we would do on a more regular basis.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 3, 2011
8 PATC Wednesday hikers were here today.  It was the perfect hike to sneek in before the rains.  We finished in about 3 hours.  Driving directions are spot on.  I suggest you watch the mileage after you get off I-66.  It is NOT the first well marked parking lot.  At 3.9 miles watch closely for a sharp left turn.  There was NOT a sign and I could not see the parking lot from the road but it's there.  Trail Directions are also accurate.  At the last turn off the AT you'll be happier if you've worn long pants as some of the brush is over 5'. Next time you have a free Wednesday consider joining us

By: LarryP Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 20, 2011
We hiked this circuit on a Sunday, so there was no hunting activity.  The first part of the hike going up from the lake was difficult because of all of the blow downs.  We had to do a lot of bushwhacking to get around them.  The trail was also fairly overgrown - I think it might be nearly impassable in places when the vegetation comes out in the spring.  Once we got on the AT, though, the trail was very nicely maintained, and we really enjoyed ourselves.  We only encountered a few people on the trail, so we really felt like we had the place all to ourselves.   I think this is a good hike to do after hunting season and before everything starts sprouting in the spring.

By: jmidden Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 15, 2011
This hike was a nice getaway from the city.  Note that it is hunting season and best to time your hike so that you end well before dusk- and wear hunter orange. We definetly needed the topo map and directions provided here. Especially near the end.  A compass came in handy as well.  The trail is suffuciently marked most of the way, but some blazes are hard to spot once you depart the AT. Highly suggest againt trying to do this one in reverse- much of the GRT trail is not marked in both directions Nice hike to take the dog on- but again be mindfulthat it is hunting season through the end of Jan.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 2, 2010
Two of us hiked this trail today and I thank the other reviewers a million times over as they suggested long pants.  I was definitely glad I wore them.  AND absolutely bring both a Topo Map and the explanation Tony put together.  It is difficult to understand his directions but I can't think of any to improve the process.  It's just a hard to figure out hike.  Not sure we weren't lost at times but we did get back and we did enjoy the adventure.

1.  There is barely any water in that hole....certainly no lake at the moment

2.  The barn is now a home & painted white

By: WC Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 8, 2010
Although I enjoyed the solitude on this hike, some of the trails were almost not passable due to grown-up brush. We started at the parking lot by the lake and took the left trail up the hill and passed the grape vineyard (the gravel road  from the parking lot leading to the lake dead ends and you have your choice between 2 trails). That trail was fine, as well as the Appalachian Trail, but the trail from parking lot #7 (PATC map-2006 edition) was covered with grasses, weeds, and thorns nearly 5 feet tall. From the lake parking lot, the right trail also was pretty overgrown (after you get around the lake). If you are interested in taking the trail less traveled, make sure to wear long pants.

By: Frederick Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 1, 2010
There's another bit of confusion in addition to the poor trail markings mentioned.
This hike description needs to be specific about which parking area to start from.  There are 2 parking areas for the GRT Wildlife Management Area.  The southern one I now realize is for the Lower Ted Lake area, but that wasn't clear when approaching from I-66 heading north on rt 688.  I stopped there first, walked around in circles for a bit puzzled why there was no dirt road or any sign of a lake.  You need to park at the northern (Thompson Lake) lot.  Can this description please be updated to indicate the correct parking area?

But still was a pleasant Saturday afternoon hike, crystal clear skies, and especially scenic on the AT with wild flowers in peak bloom.

By: Ellen and Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 19, 2009
We were regulars here for a couple of years and are looking forward to returning very soon. Some things you might want to think about. Most important - this is a WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA, not a park. That means there is hunting. Lots of hunting. The only day you can be sure of no hunting is Sunday. Otherwise, be sure to check the long and complex hunting season schedule here: because something is in season nearly all year long. And if you are hiking on a day when hunting is permitted, wear lots of blaze orange including hats and vests. Second, I've noticed people who are hiking in the fall commenting on the relative lack of scenery. Be sure to try this hike in the spring, when the trillium are in bloom. Third, there is an error in the directions given here. What is being described as the stone wall trail is actually a left turn, not straight. I am quite sure this is what is being called the stone wall trail because indeed, this is the steepest part of the hike. This turn and the trail are actually pretty obvious - it is wide and open (unlike the trail to this intersection which is often overgrown) and you will see several stone walls very soon after you make the turn. There is a small and very overgrown trail and it is definitely not steep, so that's another reason I think he's got it backwards. We actually didn't realize there was a trail there the first few times we hiked here - if you continue straight and it will also take you to the AT. If you take this small trail, and then want to get back to the hike described here, then turn left on the AT. This stretch of the AT is really pretty. Anyway, you will eventually end up back at the intersection of the stone wall trail and the AT and then you've got a long and fairly flat section of the AT. Fourth, when you make that left turn down the short, steep hill after the walk along the edge of the property (seeing the houses, barns, vineyard, and cows), you can actually continue straight and walk around the back of the lake. This area is quite pretty - but also very wet at times.

By: Becky and Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2009
A nice hike with some elevation closer in to the Northern VA area. Going from the lake to the AT was fairly steep, but not technically difficult. More of a forest floor view through most of the hike, but some nice mountain vistas are viewable off an unmarked path past the clear cut area off the second dirt road that intersects the AT. The unmarked trail goes on about 1.5 miles, mostly downhill, and reconnects to the lake circuit trail that empties out onto route 688. Look for landmarks as the trail has no blazes, but is pretty easy to follow. Recommend printing out trail guide with map AND description to take with for reference (we encountered hikers with a map and no trail description who were totally confused/lost on the unmarked trail). The trails in this area are supposed to have a lot of wild flowers in early May bring sunscreen, shade on the AT portion of the circuit varies.

By: KRH Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 1, 2009
This was a pretty nice hike in the winter. There were a couple of guys ice fishing on the lake and the cutest little puppy running around. The hike itself was a bit more difficult than expected, but that was probably due to the snowy conditions more than anything. Some trees/branches in the trail but my friend and I (former trail crew members) did our duty and cleared a bunch of them. Not too many views on this trail but it does, like someone said, have a lot of character. I can't wait to come back in the spring for the wildflowers!

By: Southern Preacher Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 21, 2008
I have some terrible news about Lake Thompson that I wanted to make sure your readers know about.
I recently ordered my yearly fishing license from the Virginia Department of Games and Inland Fisheries. When I asked about the licenses needed to fish for trout at Lake Thompson, I was alerted to the following press release:
Lake Thompson Is Draining
Fauquier County, VA — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) recently discovered the water level was dropping at Lake Thompson, a 10-acre lake on the VDGIF's G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County, and immediately began an engineering assessment of possible causes. VDGIF, in consultation with contract dam safety engineers, determined that the bottom drain attached to the base of the principal spillway had failed somewhere along its course, near the lake bottom, upstream of the riser. Attempts to locate the source of the leak and to render an economical, quick fix have not been successful and, unfortunately, it appears the lake will slowly drain.
Thompson Lake's water level is dropping at a rate of approximately six inches per day and is expected to be nearly dry within the next few weeks. VDGIF will monitor the lake level and dam as the water continues to drop and will conduct additional assessments to evaluate potential long-term repairs.
Smallmouth bass have been and will continue to be removed from the lake and transported to the Department's Front Royal Fish Hatchery to serve as brood stock.
Anglers are advised that fishing access to the lake is becoming difficult each day as the water level continues to fall and more mud is exposed. However, there are a few rocky areas that can provide access to the water's edge. All visitors and anglers should use extreme caution under these changing conditions.
I was told that the dam at Lake Thompson will be further evaluated after it completely drains. I was also told that there is no guarentee at this point that the dam can be fixed and Lake Thompson restored. Apparently, at this point, no one really knows what the associated costs are going to be.
This is such a beautiful lake and one of my favorite places to visit during the winter. Lake Thompson freezes over during the winter and it's terrific fun to ice fish on the lake, which I did last year.
I hope everyone will call and write to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and let them know how concerned you are for the future of Lake Thompson.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 11, 2008

MRSHyker and I got this hike done just before the heavy rains moved in. We had some sprinkles and high wind and about 45 minutes of bright sun right at the end of the hike. The wildflowers are unbelievable. If you are into wildflowers this is a "must do hike" in early May. The climb to the ridge was pretty gradual, helped by stopping to look at all of the flowers on the way up. Once on top the terrain is flat or rolling with only one other steep, but short climb. During the peak Trillium Viewing Season expect a lot of company, espesially allong a one mile stretch of the AT that is close to a ridge top parking area. On either side of that segment we were all alone.

There were literally millions of Trillium (Janet described them as fields of trillium in the forest and that's a pretty apt description.), thousands of Showy Orchis and a family showed us where to find some very impressive Yellow Lady Slippers in their prime. We even saw a rare double flower on one plant. They are only in one small area on the ridge. These were the most exotic plants. There were also Rue Anemone, May Apple and Wild Geranium - too many to count, several varieties of violets, a lot of Sweet Cicely, Star Chickweed, Fleabane, Dogwood, Blood Root (Out of bloom now but the leaves are quite obvious.), a couple varieties of mustard, Wood Betony or Louse Wort, Gold(en?) Alexander and way to much of that invasive garlic mustard. Don't know what blooms there in the summer but I thought I saw some Wild (Smooth) Hydrangea leaves and we found a lot of False Solomon's Seal that should be blooming in a couple of weeks..

Except for the AT the trails are not signed or blaze so take a map and these trail notes with you. I will definetly be bringing a group up here next spring.

By: Southern Preacher Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 26, 2008

My wife, 7-year-old son and I hike this route this weekend.

The Trilliums were impressive this past weekend. The forest floor, near the Upper Ted Lake parking area, was covered with them. The wild redbuds in bloom were impressive as well.

A thunderstorm rolled in over the mountain around 3:00PM. By luck we were less than 1/10 of a mile from the Manassas Gap Shelter on the A.T at the time when the worst of rain hit. We darted down the path to the shelter and found 13 other hikers at the shelter waiting out the storm. The 3 of us made 16 folks cramped into the shelter.

God bless the good people of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club for mainting these shelters. Although crowded, it was a great place to wait for the storm to pass. All of the hikers were very generous in sharing food, drink and stories. A group of 7 hikers from South Korea entertained all of us with music, including one who was hiking with his guitar in tow.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, February 28, 2008

 I had taken this hike with my wife and daughter in November 2006 and had a hard time finding the way. The first mistake was second guessing the Stone Wall Trail. There were so many downed trees and no sign that I thought it could not be the right way so we continued to walk on the Lake Trail until we came to the AT. The second problem was a new logging road. I was uncertain of the way until we saw the metal shed.

 Last Thursday my wife Terri and I and two friends, Herb and Mary, parked one car at the parking lot below the lake then the four of us road to a parking lot near route 50 and started walking south on the AT. I made an extra effort to look for the Stone Wall Trail as it intersects the AT and I think I know where it is but it was not cleared, no signs, and I was not sure. This was our first early out to walk down to the lake and to the car. We continued to walk  on the AT and we soon came to the intersection of the Lake Trail. We again elected to continue south and pick up this loop trail. I was shocked to see the trail was still unmarked.

 After hiking this two times here is what I think you need to know to find your way. When you come to the logging road (This is the second dirt road on the AT)  turn left and stay on it to the clear cut area with a great view. Walk straight towards a tree with blue paint then go slightly right down hill for about 100 yards then turn left on an unmarked trail. Ignor the blue painted trees. I think they are just survey lines. This trail will come to a dry steam bed that is the trail for about 100 feet. You will soon see the ruins of a small water dam? on the right then the metal shed on the left where there is a new great!! view to the east.

Also note the red barn where you turn left is now white?

This hike has a lot of character and solitude if its not hunting season. I am going to see if I can volunteer to care for and mark these trails.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 24, 2008
We had a beautiful winter day to hike this trail.  All in all it was a great trail, but our hike was somewhat spoiled by getting lost a few times.  We've done about five of the recommended hikes so far, and this was the first time we had trouble following the directions.  We ended up coming out of the woods onto a fairly busy road that according to a local is the AT for a while.  We had to catch back up with the trail by some radio towers which we were lucky to find.  I don't know if we missed a turn or if this was what we were supposed to do.  Then it got worse where the loggers have been through and we saw another gentleman and both of us had a very difficult time finding the entrance to the trail.  For approximately 2 miles we didn't know if we were even on the right trail.  At the very end we wound up on the road again to hike the last quarter mile.  It would have been a great hike except for the constant confusion.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 24, 2008
We got a late start (12:00) and stayed on the Lake trail to where it intersects the AT to shave off a little mileage.  This was a long steep slog, a couple of downed trees that were easy to get around, but as we were preparing for a multi-day trek in a few weeks we had fairly heavy backpacks and the uphill was brutal.  The AT was pretty with patches of snow, but the trail overall is not very scenic.  We likewise lost the trail at the logged area and attempted to pick it up by following blue blazes which led us through the tangled trees in a miserable circle.  Unable to find the trail we were forced to return the way we came, which made for a 15 mile, 8 hour  hike with the last two miles after dark. I think that HU should consider removing this hike from the site until it can be done reliably using only the maps and directions given here.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 2, 2008
This was an okay hike, and I agree with everyone that it's pretty much just a walk through the woods, with no big views or scenery.  One plus when we hiked was that there had been a big ice storm the day before and all the trees were coated in ice.  It was eerily beautiful, that is until the sun broke through the clouds and ice chunks began raining down, but that was our fault in planning, not a problem with the hike. 

The logging down near the southwestern boundaries of the hike was pretty unattractive.  What I assume were heavy vehicles chewed up the dirt over a portion of the trail.  This coupled with the wet weather the day before created one big mud pit for about 0.5 mile. 

I will warn anyone against following the GPX file linked above too closely.  Many of the waypoints are not within 200 ft of the trail.  With some others they're so far off I believed we were hiking on the wrong trail.  As far as I can tell we followed the written directions, and our experience matched up with the map above, but the route in the GPX file is way off in my opinion.

From John thanks for the info on the inaccurate .gpx file, and also for the update version you provided. Both the .gdb and .gpx files here have been corrected.

By: Southern Preacher Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 26, 2008
My wife and 7 year old son hiked your proposed route this past weekend. Lake Thompson was covered with 4-plus inches of ice. We had an opportunity to visit with two gentlemen who were ice fishing on the lake before heading up to the Appalachian Trail. I want to emphasize how important it is to be aware of the hunters. On the way up to the A.T. we passed two young hunters with rifles coming down from the A.T. That was kinda of alarming, as I thought weapons were not allowed on the A.T. More alarming was the fact that when we passed back by Lake Thompson there were two other young hunters on the same side of the lake that we we on that were firing at the ice with their rifles. By this time the ice fishermen had left. That was paticularly alarming because directly across from their line of fire is another trail and there's always the possibility of a bullet richoceting off the ice. It's a great place to hike in the winter, but I would strongly encourage you to be very careful.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 8, 2007
This was my second time doing this hike this year. This time it was a early afternoon Saturday in the beginning of December month.   When I arrived at the GRT park right off Rte 688 I was surprise by the amount of cars there. They were all there to fish at the lake. I’m probably giving out a well kept secret, but this got to be a good fishing spot. The temperature was mid 40’s and with the fog it was hard to see the lake. Anyway I trek along with my Garmin Vista eTrex cx and the Garmin Foreman 305. I downloaded the hike from this site in the GPS’s. My plan was to use the GPS as much as I can and not the look at the paper direction. For the most part I did use my GPS and I do recommend either one if someone is the market for one. To sum the hike up I enjoyed it. I did not see anyone on the hike. There is not a lot of scenery, but the solitude is great. I heard turkey’s in the woods and it is hunting seasoning.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 27, 2007

It rained all night Friday night & Sat. morning so I started this hike at 3 PM.  Fantastic time.  I was not able to print the details so I managed to make some wrong turns but ended up just doing the Vernon Smith Trail backwards.  It is not detailed in the directions but, unless I was in the wrong place, some logging or clearing has occurred on the VST and it gets lost for a few hundred feet (saw about 4 deer right here though).  I ended up back at the lake at about 6:30 and it was perfect.  Also, the old building mentioned at the end of the VST has an excellent view of the valley.  Saw 2 bow hunters and one rifle hunter.    I thought this was a great hike and the ensuing dusk made for a great atmosphere coming down the hill.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 11, 2007
Hike the entire trial on a nice sunny Saturday afternoon. I have been to the lake a couple times, but never hiked the trail. I printed out the trail map and direction from this web site and I was set. Upon walking along the lake and veer right uphill. The terrain on some parts was really rocky, but on the most part it was nice. There are really no view or good scenery. I did find a good view of the mountain side, but that was because I took a wrong turned and ended up somewhere where I got a good view. I eventually found my way back to the right trail (about an hour later). Overall it was a nice trek. Wouldn’t recommend for kids. I plan on coming in the winter to see how it during that time.

By: Bob KT4KS Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 15, 2005
Good Morning Fellow Hikers. I hiked the entire 7.9 miles exactly as posted on the map in this web site. I did like the hike, but will mention that there were no long-distance views. Generally, the hike is just a long walk through the woods. During my 4 hours and 15 minutes on the trail, I saw a group of 4 lady hikers, two other women on two horses, another woman riding a horse while leading a second horse, a man wearing fatigues who was toting a shotgun and looking for wild turkeys, and a man who was hiking all the way to Maine from NC; so there are people out there on a weekday. I should mention that when I was in the area around Kettering Run, the trail seemed to literally dead-end at a body of water (actually, a stream, and maybe even the beginning portions of the Run itself). From that point, I could not see at all where I was supposed to go. It was only after walking around that I found that the water was literally over the trail, and that I had to walk straight ahead and along the water about 60 feet before I could see where the dry trail clearly started up again. If anyone wants to take the 8 mile loop, in addition to copying the map in this web site, he should also copy every photo and mark the corresponding portion of the written description of the trail. This helped me greatly. I looked for the Radio tower indicated on the map, but was not successful in finding it. That was a disapointment. Overall, while not terribly strenuous, honestly, I can't really recommend this hiking trail due to the lack of long distance scenery. I don't think kids would like it. However, the lake was sure neat, and I do expect to visit that with either fishing pole or portable ham radio station. Best wishes from Alexandria, Bob

By: j Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 19, 2005
A friend and I did this hike on Saturday, which was sunny with a clear sky. Generally speaking, I thought it was a pretty good hike only about 1 hour's drive from DC. The lake was pretty and the view at the farm (complete with cows, barn and rolling hills) was good, although this hike suffers somewhat from lack of views (in winter you can catch glimpses of the mountains through the trees). With regard to the directions, we missed the turnoff at .8 mile, but it was fine because we continued on the Lake trail, which incidentally is fairly steep, and reached the AT. Also, we initially missed the turnoff onto the AT when it meets the dirt road--unfortunately, the tree at the turnoff with the white blaze was down. We continued walking on the dirt road for a while and realized that there were no white blazes, so we retraced our steps and found the turn. After the hike, we went up the road to the Naked Mountain Winery and did a wine tasting and sat on the winery's sundeck, from which there is a wonderful view. All in all it was an enjoyable outing on a winter's day.

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