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Hiker Reviews for the Sky Meadows Hike - 1 to 63 of 63   
Review the Sky Meadows hike here!   Average Review Rating:

By: Medic-G Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 01, 2018
Did this hike on New Year's Day as part of the Virginia State Parks 1st Day Hike New Year Challenge where you could access the Virginia State Parks for free.  Even if you had to pay the parking fee, it is only $5.00.  Now to the review of the hike.

Ok, this is only a partial review of the hike as we did not hike the entire hike as described.  Due to us arriving at Sky Meadows around noon, the temperatures being in the 20's, light snow on the ground, and the shorter winter days, we decided to do a slight modification to the hike.  Instead of turning right on the blue blazed Boston Mill Road, we turned left.  Therefore, we did not hike on the James Ball Trail, Corporal Morgan Trail, and Hadow Trail.  This cut about 2.25 miles out of the hike making it about 4.85 miles long.  Even eliminating these trails, there was plenty of scenery and it made for a good day hike.

On the South Ridge Trail after you pass the homestead ruins, there is a side trail (about 0.4 miles on the South Ridge Trail) which leads to an overlook.  This trail is located at the bench after you pass the homestead ruins.  Taking this side trail to the overlook is a very short detour from the described hike and well worth it as you have a good view to the south/south west.  The overlook has a plaque honoring a park volunteer and a small area deliniated with a short split rail fence.  There is no bench here however, there are some large rocks you could sit on in the small fenced area.   This little side trail is not noted on any map (the one for the hike here or the state park trail map) however, it is easy to follow and very well marked.  At this side trail to the overlook, you are 1.1 miles from the North Ridge Trail according to the park trail signage.

Not really any any views along the North Ridge Trail or AT.  Once on the Ambassador Whitehouse and Piedmont Overlook Trails, the views return.  I have hiked Cold Mountain and as the hike summary states, these meadows are similar to the ones on Cold Mountain.  If you liked the meadows of this hike, I would recommend the Cold Mountain Hike to you.

In summary, this was a good day hike.  Although we made this hike a little shorter, I would agree with the difficulty rating of 2.  Keeping in mind we were doing this hike on a 20 degree day in January, I would give it a solitude of 2 as we saw a large group finishing a guided hike at the beginning and 5 more people along the hike.  There were many tracks in the snow and I could see how this hike could easily be a 1 or 0 for solitude during warmer, busier times of year.  Camping is only allowed in the designated camping area/"campground".   As I noted, there is only a short section of this hike where there are no views.  The views were good along the majority this hike and I would agree with the rating of 6.

A good hike to kick off the New Year!

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 16, 2017
Great hike - easy, nice change of scenery from meadows to open hills, forest and streams - even a community of goats helping to clear some invasive plants! And lots of nice views. It is also not too far from DC. Go early, especially on the weekends, to avoid the bulk of the crowds.

By: Haether Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 08, 2017
some parts are completely without shade, so plan accordingly for a hot sunny summer day, but I highly recommend July because the wildflowers were amazing. There are some pretty decent sustained hills, but no scrambles or any particularly difficult parts. Watch out for ticks

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 04, 2017
A really nice, simple hike that is easy. Bring a camera because there is a lot to see and experience. From the fields of wild flowers, to the large variety of birds, which include song birds and raptors, this 4th of July hike lived up to my expectations. We saw many Blue Birds. Toward the end, we came across a beautiful Gold Finch. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera. :( She would have made a lovely photo subject. Wild, raspberries and blackberries were abundant all along the trail. Since these berries are not indigenous to this part of Virginia, my friend and I gorged ourselves on the yummy treats.

By: Jim Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 12, 2017
Cold day - but the sun was shining bright - so I decided to get out before the forecasted snow. It's a good hike around the park with some great scenic views. Starts off relatively flat to get the legs warmed up, but you'll get a workout on the second half. You'll hike on some flat grass and rocky trails. Through the woods, past babbling brooks and open meadows. Overall, a good way to get some fresh air for a few hours.

By: Ott Mountain Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 04, 2017
Beautiful hike with a surprising amount of elevation gain over a short distance. The start of the hike takes you straight up the hill but there are so many beautiful views along the way, the pain is all worth it. The day we hiked it the weather was super cold but the sky was blue and visibility amazing. This is a very busy destination so i'd recommend getting there early and getting out on the trail. There aren't really any water sources along this hike so be sure to bring enough to get you through. Be sure to bring the trail map and follow HU directions because there are several spur or connector trails that could get you lost if you're not careful. You may end up at Springer Mountain if you don't make the turn back towards Sky Meadows. We did a video of this full hike, exactly as described by Hiking Upward. Check it out at our YouTube Channel "Ott Mountain" if you want to see a preview. Also, check out Barrel Oak Winery afterwards. It's a few miles south on rt. 17. It's dog friendly and also has brews. Have fun out there and see you on the trail!

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 01, 2017
The first 1.5 miles or so miles were deceivingly flat and easy. After that the unexpected upward ascension (around 2.5 miles of trail) seemed to never end. I did have issues with the instructions for Mile 4.0. I did turn left at the blue North Ridge Trail and went until I saw the Yellow trail. Appears something was not right so I turned back and went the opposite direction on the blue North Ridge Trail. It is very likely I read the instructions or markings incorrectly. Going down the North Ridge Trail had lots of rocks and some winding until you get past the livestock gate (a set of wooden stairs). After the gate it is downhill and that is when you start to see people once again. I started around 8:20 am and finished it in 3 hours with a few breaks. I did enjoy the views and the quietness (certain sections you can still hear a bit of road noise). The trails are well marked and maintained. It seemed most people started in the opposite direction in which I traveled. I liked the physical portion (the exercise) of the hike. I did not like that I did not feel secluded and on my own since at most points you can see the main park area.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, December 23, 2016
Would have rated this hike higher except for the unpleasant surprise of getting a parking ticket, despite the fact no one was manning the parking kiosk and the visitors center was closed so I had no way of breaking a $20. Had a lovely hike, despite the muddy trails, but definitely didn't appreciate getting hit with a $25 ticket for something I had no control over.

By: Steve from Winchester Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 22, 2016
This is one of my favorite hikes in the northern VA region. Given all the interconnected trails in Sky Meadows, you can extend or shorten the described hike. I like to extend the hike by taking the Old Trail for ~1.8 miles until it reconnects with the AT, then head south on the AT until it connects with the Ambassador Trail and then follow the described hike back to the parking lot. The trail is a little muddy this time of year given the night time freezing and daylight thaw cycles. Great views and well worth the time!

By: Mark Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 17, 2016
Second time going here in a week and although the majority of the trees had lost all their leaves there was still some color to see (especially from on top of the hill). Many different trail options depending upon what type of hike you are wanting to do. We started going up the big hill on the Piedmont Overlook trail which gets you right into some of the more strenuous stretches of the trails, but it's nice and wide open and fairly short so not bad at all. You quickly get into the woods on some fairly narrow trails with lots of stones and roots so you do have to watch your footing in the Fall as the trails can become covered with leaves. Once you get up the highest overlook the hike opens up into some wide open meadows on top of the mountain as you head towards the Appalachian Trail. You can do a good long loop or backtrack from there back down to the parking area while taking any number of routes. What we like about Sky Meadows is you can get there very easily from Northern VA and lots of parking with facilities and you can have some short intense hiking options or some longer more casual ones (or any combination). The views are great all over the park and the trails, some of the best in the local DC area without having to drive out towards 81. Great place to take dogs too as it is never too steep to do with dogs and you will often run into so many other dogs (as well as horses, cows, deer, etc.) along your hike.

By: Flat Lander Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 28, 2016
Loved it! Not too difficult...varied landscapes and 360 degree views of the valley...but wouldn't do it in summer. Our day was perfect weather

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2016
Just note that there is a visitor center lot and also a park office.  The trails are right by the Park office just down the road from the visitor center.  It took me longer than it should have to find the trails, but found the trails were very clearly marked the entire hike.  The first couple miles follow the 5k route which is clearly marked and a very easy, level walk.  Once you hit the South Ridge trail prepare for some fun.  The trail is all uphill, but there are a few wonderful overlooks to catch your breath.  Once you merge and hit the last 0.3 of the North Ridge trail, it all is pretty much downhill from there.

I arrived right as the park opened and only saw a few people until the last mile or so of the hike.  Swarms of people on the Piedmont Overlook Trail which also had amazing views.  I'm glad I got in and out when I did.  This hike, aside from the end, was much more peaceful than similar parks.

By: Patrick Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 17, 2016
My wife and I went for our anniversary and stayed in the campsites for the weekend. This place was amazing. The amount of hiking available will keep you entertained the entire weekend. The views were worth every second of the fairly easy hike up and extreme rewarding. all trails are extremely easy to find and well marked. it can get busy for those coming up for a day hike but the only crowded part is the parking lot, other then that you almost have the back trails to yourself.

The camping sites were really nice as well. you hike in about 1mile and set up camp in pre designated areas of your choosing. Non potable water is available and is very clean looking and smelling. They have pit toilets that are well maintained but please remember like all pit toilets that heat is your worse enemy ), so go early in the day. the camp sites for the most part are well spaced out and they even allow you to rent a giant wheelbarrow to hike in your cooler and stuff for $10. if you are camping you park in an overnight lot after checking in at the main visitor center. they state they provide water sanitation tabs at the gift shop, but they don't so please be prepared. We hiked in our water the first night and I realized that I wasn't doing that again so we drover to Wal-mart in Port Royal the next day which was only a 20 min drive.

if you are going for just the day or for the weekend this place is perfect for all experiences.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 15, 2016
This hike is a collection of shorter trails strung together. The trails are in good condition and take you through varied terrain -- flat and steeper, meadow and forest, some grassy areas, a short stretch on the Appalachian Trail. A previous reviewer called it easy -- I would not. I paused a couple times on the steepest portion to catch my breath, but it's not bad. There is water and restrooms at the visitor center. Near the visitor center in one of the storage sheds is a Pepsi machine and an array of brochures with other information about the parks' trees, butterflies, plants, etc. A gem of a park a little more than an hour from DC.

By: Ed Matthews Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 03, 2016
I always enjoy visiting Sky Meadows. Sunday we did the clockwise circuit hike which was about the easiest seven miles I have ever walked. Since I was there last, the trail signposts and blazes have all been re-done and the trails are extremely well marked. You would have to work really hard to get lost here. All the hikes pretty much originate directly in front of the park office which is an easy 100 yards due west from the parking area.

I really enjoyed the varied experiences in each of the different habitats from picking wineberries along the pastures, to listening to the bullfrogs call in the ponds, to the open woods full of red-headed woodpeckers (I saw 11), to the lowland habitat and paw paws along the creeks, to the upland wildflowers along the South Ridge Trail, to the balds up on the AT and the Ambassador Whitehouse trail, to the fields of wildflowers everywhere. It's hard to imagine another location where you can take in so much varied terrain in such a short distance.

Be forewarned that this park is very popular, easily accessible, and offers easy hiking, some of the easiest anywhere. You will have company especially up on the hills towards the Piedmont Overlook and that company will include a lot of kids and dogs. If solitude is your thing, avoid the weekends.

This is a gem of a small park. It's not "serious hiking" but it is a lot of fun.

By: Alyssa Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 02, 2016
I had a hard time finding the trailheads I wanted I wish they would have had clear signs near the visitior center as to where each hike started. My map was no help. I drove from the visitor's center back toward the enterance since I couldn't find what I was looking for near the buildings, parked on the left side, and hopped on the Corporal Morgan Trail and some of the offshoots to go down to the pond and back. Once I got to the trailhead, the trails were clear and well marked/ maintained and easy to follow. I lost my map right before I got to the actual trailhead, and had wished the trailhead I started at had more. There were some when I got to the pond. The trails I went on were relatively level and not difficult. It was a bit warmish without any tree cover, but it was a meadow so I expected that. I felt like the trails were something my parents could do with minimal difficulty, though there weren't a ton of resting benches along the way so it may be a bit too much for them. The view was nice upon arrival, but the trails were not so scenic, which again I expected for a meadow, so it was fine. I saw a few butterflies and insects and flowers, which is really about all I expect at a meadow. That said, I'm not itching to come back any time soon... My poor (tick and flea treated 2 weeks ago) dog has never had so many ticks in her life. She had 10-15 and I'm still finding ones crawling on her the next day that were hiding. It was awful. I didn't let her into the meadow weeds- all she did was smell along the edge of it, but she still managed to gather a gaggle of ticks. I sprayed myself with high level Deet to avoid it and I think I'm okay, but who knows- those little buggers hide themselves very well.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 20, 2016
My wife and I wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous weather so we decided to check out Sky Meadow.We had just gotten some new gear and wanted to test it out on an overnight. Overall the experience was great. Check-in for overnights is super easy and was $15 to stay at a designated camp site. The site says it is best to reserve spaces, but we figured since it was still technically winter, there wouldn't be many people. Out of the 15 campsites, 4 of them were used including ours. I would recommend reserving once the season kicks in.

There is specific parking for overnighters and the hike to the campsites is about 1 mile. A good mix between pull-in sites and complete back country camping. The sites are clearly marked and are all near bathrooms and a water pump of non-potable water (if you need any, plan to boil or treat). It was winter so the foliage wasn't the best for privacies sake, but the campsites are still a good distance apart from one another. Once we set up camp we decided to do a little more hiking. The trails are VERY clearly marked and easy to navigate. There is a wonderful scenic overlook not far from the campsite. There are various other trails to explore as well as a 3 mile section of the AT. Definitely will have to go back and stay longer.

Like I said, the weather was great Saturday. It was rather muddy and some sections of the trail to the campsite still had snow. Possibly 3-4 inches. Nothing major but proper footware was clutch. Overall a wonderful experience and I will definitely be returning.

By: Gary H Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, February 04, 2016
Walking through 6-9 inches of snow along the South Ridge trail and the AT. The Ambassador White trail and the lower part of the North Ridge trail are pretty clear. Didn't venture over to the Lost Mtn side of the park as I suspect the rains have the low lying areas very wet.

By: Mark A Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 31, 2016
Sky Meadows is a nice hike -- pretty easy, generally, and good scenery. The problem this time, of course, is that even a week after decent temps and rain following Snowzilla, all of the trails were covered in about 9 inches of snow. This made our seemingly-easy 7 mile hike into a strenuous, annoying hike. I'd probably recommend waiting until we thaw out (probably another week) before tackling this (or any, for that matter) hike, or at the very least, be realistic in terms of either your ability to hike or your ability to slug through deep snow and not get annoyed by your lack of progress.

Not really a knock on the hike as much as it's a knock on my own common sense.

By: Heather H. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 13, 2015
It was an unusually warm December day, 70 degrees so decided to take advantage of the weather with a hike. I have been putting off doing Sky Meadows as I assumed it was mostly walking through meadows and not really hiking. I was pleasantly surprised with actual trails and the views from the Piedmont trail. There were some challenging inclines as well so I felt like I was on an actual hike. I took a slightly different route then the one described here and did part of the Appalachian Trail. There were a decent amount of people at the park but it's so large that I didn't run into many people. I would like to come back in the spring/summer to see all of the wildflowers. However, I have read and heard from others that the ticks are really bad in the summer so that might dissuade me.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I choose a slightly different route than the one featured here but hit most of the same trails. It was a beautiful day for a hike. I got there right around 8:15 am and started on the Piedmont Trail. For the first 2 hrs I was completely alone. I would stop, take some photos, and no one was behind me or in front of me. I think I liked the Ambassador Whitehead trail the best. I was tempted to go north on the Appalachian Trail but knew I'd just want to keep going and then be made at myself when I had to turn back.

I completed almost 6 miles and can't wait to come back to Sky Meadows.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 25, 2015
This is a fantastic fall hike, just beautiful...I hiked early Sunday morning starting at 10:00, I had the trails almost to myself! I am coming off an injury and this is exactly what I needed! Also, there has been a lot of trail work in the park and the trails are in excellent condition.

By: Ani NY Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 06, 2015
Nice hike, would rate this 3.5 stars if I could. We hiked it on a beautiful Sunday morning. When we arrived at 9 am, the parking lot by the old house was already full, and we met some big groups of hikers on the trail after a couple of miles. Still, it was less crowded than I would have expected, and a lot less busy than e.g. the Billy Goat Trail on a nice weekend day. The hike felt a bit on the short side, so we did an extra little jaunt on the AT, where we met a hiker who had just seen a mama bear and cub. The views in the open sections are beautiful, particularly on the Ambassador Whitehouse trail, but rating it  "6" for views seems a bit too generous to me. Overall, though, this is a good hike that wins points for being so close to the metro area (took us about an hour from DC with very light traffic). It's not strenuous, but it feels like more than just a 'walk', so would be good for a mixed-ability group. We followed Joe's advice and wore long pants to avoid ticks. The trail was well maintained and the grass kept short on the meadow sections.

By: Joe Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 07, 2015
Nice hike overall. The first few miles seem a bit lame, as they're mostly on mowed grass near parking areas, but the hike gets better gradually as you move into the woods towards the AT and do a bit of climbing. It wasn't much of a workout for an avid hiker, but it's not too short or easy, either. The view was pretty nice, and it was easy to navigate. My main tip: Use bug spray and wear long pants, 'cause I was picking ticks off myself like crazy.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 07, 2015
Three of us departed from Tysons Corner to Sky Meadows State Park around 9AM on a Saturday morning. Weather was beautiful, with clear skies and temps in the 40s-50s. Lots of snow was leftover from a heavier snowfall that hit the region earlier in the week and it was turning slushier starting to melt. Paid a $5 due to enter, arrived at the parking area, used the convenient restrooms near the gift shop before embarking, and set off. Had a lot of fun early on playing in the somewhat deep snow that covered the entire length of the trails. Later this caused some mild discomfort with wet/cold feet but it was enjoyable overall. Got slightly lost at the point of arriving at the main picnic area and looking for the 'brown blaze', which is actually wood posts. SMH. Slushed and had fun in the snow taking pictures and taking in the beautiful day and scenery, stopping at the overlooks and views. Cool moments at the top of the hill and in the tree-less gap. At the top of the most 'sky-meadow' portion, we stopped and brought out camp stoves at the picnic table there and enjoyed cooking some cheap pad thai (ramen, PB, and sriracha) along with some chai tea and a ton of cocktail wienies. Working our way down the final open snowy hill we rolled snow boulders at each other and, having had our fill of fun, made it back to the parking area. Had a great time 'exploring' this park and it was mostly an easygoing, fun hike that was more enjoyable and less crowded because of the snow. Not too far away from the DC area as well which is a big plus not having to drive all the way out to Shenandoah or GW National Forest.

By: Tom Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 17, 2015
As avid hikers, my wife & I have put off this hike due to the low difficulty and solitude ratings. We headed out today thinking this would be a 'nice walk.' As soon as we started off walking through the meadow we said how nice it was to be walking in the meadow and how this a a bit different from walking the AT. Different in that you could look all around and see the distant landscapes. As we went on we were impressed by the total diversity of the hike meadows, woods, some decent inclines (and even a stint on the AT)and fabulous views all around. We will definitely go back in both the spring and fall to experience the seasonal changes.

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2014
Overall this was a nice hike with some nice views. The meadow trails go through the grass and were not always cut short. The start and end run through cow pastures and the amount of ticks our dog picked up ranged on the order of 40 and he was kept to the trail. I found no ticks on myself but this is not a trail I would revisit as a result.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 15, 2014
I did a two-day/one night here at Sky Meadows. You will hike in between .75 and 1.25 miles to the campsites. Overnighters park in a different area of the park near the entrance. You will hike in on Gap Run Trail to the camping area. Sky Meadows says they have primitive camping only. I would hardly call Sky Meadows primitive. They provide cut fire wood for 5 dollars (honor system) at different locations thought the campsites, non-potable well water (you will need a filtration system - its slightly brown coloring should be a clue), tent flats are in great condition with small pebbles, even a bag hang is provided. Picnic tables are provided at each site as well. There is very little animal activity in the camp area. There are some signs that there may be some coyote in the area but no howling at dusk or dawn. Sky Meadows seems like a busy place. I was camping in 30 degree weather and I had at least four other campers near by. Bathrooms are actual cinderblock buildings with doors and toilet paper provided (well maintained). NOTE: you are not allowed fires until after 4PM. As for the hiking its a really pretty trail. I hiked out to the Snowden ruins, then on to the south trail then looped back though on the both trail back to the campsites. All in all I would guess it is a 6-7 mile hike. After about 10 minutes on the trail you forget how close you are to civilization. The north trail is beautiful. I would strongly suggest looping from the south trail and back on the north trail. The north trail is rated as strenuous but is fairly easy when headed down hill. Careful some areas are rocky and there are a few stream crossings. These are well maintained and you should have to wade though any water. Over all the trip was worth it. It would be a great starter location for people who are beginning backpackers. I’m am considering coming back with my wife who doesn’t care for backcountry camping. This is a great compromise. I have a video review here: http://youtu.be/0k54o6gxT7U

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Great Hike, nice mix of woodland and meadows. Loved the views. We did get a little mixed up with directions though, where the Old Trail (purple) meets up with the AT:"...joining a forestry road. In 0.2 miles turn left remaining on the the purple blazed trail, then arrive at the junction of a private road in another 0.5 miles." The Old Trail seems to come to an end at this forestry road. We looked around and didn't see any other purple blazes, so we thought we were to turn right to join back up with the AT. Checking my GPS tracker after a bit I could see that we actually were to turn left onto the forestry road which further down does have a few blazes on it. Then you will see the right uphill to join up with the AT again. From then it's pretty well marked. Don't be tempted to skip the Peidmont Trail, the views from here were the best!

By: Matt Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 12, 2013
Loved this hike! The view of the valley below isn't breath-taking, but the meadow found on the North Ridge trail is beautiful in it's own right. The other trails didn't have the same sort of wide-open feel, but were pleasingly shady and peppered with wildflowers. Difficulty was moderate, depending on one's pace. Be sure to check out the historic homes while you're there.

By: Joe Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 04, 2013
It was nice. Not too challenging, but the North Side Ridge Trail had some steepness to it. It did get very narrow in spots and even though I'm not the best at spotting poison ivy, I felt like I was surrounded by it. Luckily I didn't come home with any. I saw some previous posts about the amount of ticks and I could definitely see how you could pick some up in the tall grass. Again, didn't come home with any. I over do it on the Off. There's only about three good views. I expected more being that there is a lot of open field at the top of the mountain. It is a very nice family spot.

By: Lisa Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 01, 2013
Took 2 of our scouts on this hike as practice for backpacking.  We liked this park very much and was worth the drive.  The trails were very well marked which we appreciated since we have never been there before.  The map from the park was actually better than the one found here so get one if you go.  Considering it was a hot day, the trees provided much needed shade although the hike back down was more open area with less shade.  Whoever placed the benches in the park is a genius because it seemed that each one was at just the right place when you needed one!  I would go back here again.

By: Dave Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 12, 2013
Skipped the Snowden loop and stuck to the AT rather than jumping off to the Old Trail. Went up the piedmont side first to whitehouse ambassador trail and back down the south ridge trail. This is a gorgeous area and would be near the top of my list on great hiking locations within an hour of DC. It is a popular destination-don't expect to have the place to yourself, especially on a nice weekend day. The high meadows, especially on the whitehouse ambassador side are really pleasant.  The trails are extremely well groomed and would be an excellent place for a trail run. The back porch on the main historical home by the parking area is really peaceful with some rocking chairs looking south over the valley. It'd be a great place to unwind after the hike and watch a sunset. Definitely would recommend this hike for all levels and ages-really beautiful.

By: Scout Leader Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 01, 2012
Great Hike today. We left the parking lot and headed up the red trail and then took the Ambassador Whitehouse Trail up to the AT. Stopped for lunch at the junction of those trails and then continued south on the AT until it meets up with the Blue Trail (North Ridge). We continued back down to the parking lot. It was a great day and not too crowded. The only downside was the haze/fog in the valley limited the spectacular views that are normally there.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 03, 2012
I have been meaning to hike this park and boy it was really nice.  The views are great when all the leaves are off the trees.  This would be a good beginners hike because it was really easy.   I would like to go back to the area to backpack.

By: BrianJB Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 07, 2012
Not a bad hike - fairly easy, and saw four people on a Friday afternoon. I'd skip the Old Trail segment - all the views are on the other side, so I'd just just use the AT to complete the loop unless you're looking for more miles. Other than the initial climb, pretty easy overall. Hike through the high meadows and view of the Piedmont (looking east) are the clear highlights.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 18, 2012
This was an ok hike was not amazing but also did not suck. It was a beautiful February day temperatures in the 60s so needed a great hike and we were not the only people who thought of this running into about 100 other hikers. The visitor center had some neat historical buildings and information, as well as clean restrooms. It was a great workout with 30 lb packs and we followed the map, versus the written instructions except for adding a little bit down the AT and followed the Iphone map for the Geocache down the fire lane, which we were not able to find  Also, when you get to the privately owned Piedmont Memorial Overlook, we went through the gate and followed the path to a really neat handcrafted iron vine along the stairs. We finished at 9.65 Miles in 4.5 hours

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, February 01, 2012
I finally made it out to Sky Meadows (my Dad had been talking it up for years) on this amazingly warm February day and was not at all disappointed. The Snowden loop isn't particularly interesting (interpretive trails never seem to be), but the rest of it is a great workout and the grassy hilltops give some incredible views over the valley. Highly recommended.

By: NathanT Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 26, 2011
My wife and I actually parked at the AT trailhead parking just off of Rt. 50 and hiked up into the park to avoid the park fee. Petty, yes, but saved a few bucks. The meadows are fantastic, and there is a great picnic table overlooking the village of Paris. Take a lunch, some water, and just enjoy the park for the day!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 27, 2010
Okay, hike number three (I'm becoming a veteran... ).   Anyway, I wanted to get out on the weekend and spend a few hours hiking without having to think too much and this hike was great!!!

Its different than others, of course, its heavily used and well marked.   If you're looking for solace, look elsewhere.   That said, I loved the mix of historical markers, beautiful views and exertion (mainly going up the South Ridge Trail) and the fact that you can really customize your distance with ease.   I cut out the Snowden Trail as recommended before.   The sign said it would take 1 1/2 hours and I couldn't see wasting time down there when I wanted to go UP!!!

It was a cold and windy day, but the wind was mostly obscured by the mountain until I hit the Old App Trail portion on the western side of the ridge...   Ooooo that was chilly!!!  There isn't anything to see per se on the Old Trail portion (There is a portion with two fallen trees blocking the trail upon which I stacked a couple of rocks to prove I was there... LOL!!!   ), but I just wanted to add some distance to the workout since I skipped the Snowden Loop....    It's popular, but if you can get by the fact that there's other people, its a great hike...  As an amateur I got tickled simply by walking a portion of the Appalachian Trail.

One note.   You do not have to go to the top for the best views.  In fact the better views are on the way up and on the way down IMO.   Most of the top was pretty obscured in late November, so I'd imagine it would be moreso with leaves on the trees.    Again, highly recommend this hike as long as you aren't looking to be alone.   One other note, it costs $4 to Park at the visitor's center..

By: Larry Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 27, 2010
We did this hike on a rainy, misty Monday.  It was an entirely different experience than others have described.  We saw one other hiker the whole time, probably because it was a weekday and wet.  There was fog and mist the entire time, which obscured the views (we could only imagine what the Piedmont overlook was overlooking).  The mist, though, gave us an experience like no others we have had.  Sort of like hiking in Brigadoon.  We didn't know about the interpretative trail loop, so we missed the extra mile - did the rest of the loop as described in about 3.5 hours, including a 20 min stop for lunch.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 11, 2010
Overall, a nice walk. Very gentle with little to no exertion. Beyond that, it was a bit too popular for me. For the first 2-3 miles or so, I was frequently running into people. After the third mile, though, I was virtually solo until the very end (people were understandably picnicking on the overlooks). The meadows were very neat, if a little too far into the hike and too few for my liking.

By: AH Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 04, 2010
This is a nice hike of medium to low difficulty.  It's not especially dramatic, but there are a couple of great scenic vistas and there's a good variety of different trails.  Did not see much (if any) wildlife.  My advice: skip the Snowden trail - it doesn't offer anything of interest.  And next time I would hike it all counter-clockwise to avoid the long uphill slog up the AT and South Ridge.  A low key and enjoyable way to spend a couple hours.  There is plenty of parking and there are restroom/picnic facilities as well.

By: Sporky Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 17, 2010
This is a great hike due to it's customizable difficulty/distance. Especially good if you want to take your four-legged furry friends. We did the South Ridge/Appalachian/Ambassador loop in a group of four (2 veteran (plus 55lbs dog), 2 novices (plus 30lbs dog), in just under 4 hours. The views are nice, and the altitude isn't killer for those out of shape. Our only advice: 1) When you cross from the North/South Ridge to the AT, make sure you go the correct direction! When the foliage is in bloom, you might accidentally end up going the wrong way because the correct direction is obscured. 2) If you do bring your dog, ALWAYS check them for ticks before you head home. The grassy field for the Ambassador White House trail is a breeding ground for deer ticks. In this short distance our mutt gathered 5!

By: Mike A Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sky Meadows is definitely different from most hikes I've been on--more family and pet friendly than most.  Not too long or too difficult.  The sky meadows and overlooks are really nice.  But if you're looking for solitude and 'nature' for a weekend trip, probably not the best choice.

We probably passed by someone the trail at least ever 20 - 30 minutes, except on the purple-blazed trail. 

Lots of wild flowers, but no wild life.  But really nice day to be outside, and not a bad place to be.

By: Cullen Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sky Meadows is probably one of the best hikes in this area.  With a lot of interconnecting trails, you can custom your hike to be as short or as long as you like.  The views are spectacular and the trails are well marked and well maintained.  There are benches placed at various places along some of the trails including in the meadows where the views are. 

The parking lot was full by the time we left at around 3:00 but the trails were not really crowded.  With the historic sites and multiple trails, I don't think crowds are ever an issue. 

This is a good place to go for all skill levels.  Some of the hills could be challenging to you if you are not in shape but not too tough to discourage you.  Some of the trails are rocky and can be pretty soggy after it rains so not all trails are good for little kids or small dogs. 

I will definitely revisit Sky Meadows many times

By: Gretchen Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, January 28, 2010
I am fairly new to the N. Virginia area, and so wanted to find a place to hike. I haven't hiked in over 10 years, so I wanted something I could do, but was longer than a small nature trail. This was perfect! I had so much fun and loved the solitude. I went even further than I had planned! Definitely recommend this park/hike, I will be in the near future.

By: MCT Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 23, 2010
Did this on a warm (40 degrees) January day.  The cold air made visibility from the meadows area great.  Make sure to save those views for the end!  There was some snow and ice at the top which slowed us down but didn't present any real difficulties.  There were many trees down which, combined with the snow cover, caused us to loose the trail twice.  We quickly fixed our errors though.  I'd like to go back to explore some of the other trails at some point.

By: Cathy and Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 15, 2009
Contrary to the previous reviewer, we did it in August and liked it. We had previously done a few of the trails that were mostly in the high meadows and expected more of the same when we did the full 8.4 mile hike suggested here. We were pleasantly surprised that about 80-85% of the hike was in forested shady areas. So the hot August temperature was not a problem. Also, hardly anyone else was on the trail. Yes, parts of the hike were along trails that were narrow and overgrown but we didn't see that as a big problem. And we didn’t see any poison ivy so shorts are fine.) On the Old Trail, we never saw so many spider webs as were strung along the trail. So we were constantly walking thru or under them. Some people might find that a big problem but we thought it was sort of fun as it was so unique.

By: Eric Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 08, 2009
I would not recommend this as a summer hike.  Most of the time it feels like nothing more than a slog through a jungle. Much of the trail is hemmed in by dense foliage that not only limits views but also makes things humid and VERY buggy.   Other parts of the trail are little more than a mowed swath through tall grass fields.  The "mountain meadows" are simply areas that had been mowed completely.  There is little of interest to see along the trail.  Yes, there are a few vantage points  that allow one to observe the surrounding countryside, but they are not really so special.  Most of the time (at least in the summer) you can only see the immediate surroundings and there are no notable water features (except for a really tiny creek) , almost no rock features, little in the way of vegetative interest, and the historic ruins are nothing more than an old stone wall and some very rudimentary remains of a house's foundation. 

By: Aaron Bagby Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I hiked this on a cold, windy day and had the whole place to myself. Foremost, unless you are looking for a quick jaunt or have kids, I'd skip the interpretive trail - it pales in comparison to the rest. Another thing to note is that there is a $3 entrance fee, but I'd say it's definitely worth it. The trail has a nice variety of historical buildings & ruins, elevation changes, and nice vistas. By following the route described (with the exception of Snowden), you get a very nice transition of scenery that just seems to get better as you go. The trail is incredibly well-marked and at no point did I feel the slightest bit lost (although a trail map is always a good idea, regardless). I'd say this is a solid 4 when I went, but I assume the crowds in the warmer months would lessen the experience a bit. Overall, this is one of my favorites in the area with easy access to DC.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 31, 2009
Did this hike last year with Mr. and Mrs. Hiking Upward. Today I returned with a crew of hearty Sierra Club hikers. The Sky was a clear blue azure without a hint of a cloud and the temps were in the low 20s as we left the parking lot of the Mt. Bleak House. As we crunched across the ice-covered lawn we realized the degree of difficulty would be much greater than if we were doing the hike without any snow on the ground. Although the sun shinning off of the unbroken ice made for a beautiful sight it was a challenge to hike on. We found ourselves intentionally breaking its surface with the heels of our boots as we walked along. We pretty much stuck to the planned route although I had prepared some bailout routes in case the going got too rough. We managed to see all of the vistas save one and although we had some falls and slips along the way there were no serious injuries. We were back at our vehicles and heading down the road by 3:00 o'clock having completed 8.4 miles with a 1600 foot elevation gain.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 22, 2007
We modified this one by by-passing the Snowden interpretive trail and adding a short section of the AT and the Ambassador Whitehouse Tr. The result was hiking trhough more open meadows and adding an additionial vista at the Paris View. Total distance was increased by 0.2 miles and the total elevation gain increased from around 800 feet to 1000 feet. A bit more mileage can be added by including a section of the old AT now called the Old Trail. This is definitely a good hike for families and beginners.

By: Countertop Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 11, 2007
Took my son here for his first ever "big boy" hike.  He just loved it.  Weather was gorgeous, views were stunning, leaves were pretty, and the variety of scenary and trail types (not to mention the periodic benches) made it easy to keep a 5 year old interested over the course of a long afternoon.


Highlights included the ruins, the view of the Piedmons, and sitting down to have lunch at the top of Gap Run Trail looking down the trail.

All in all, a great day. Perfect for the family and a perfect way to get a young kid interested in hiking some more.

By: Snoweater Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 29, 2007

Beautiful views.  We started out in the morning with kids 7 and 9.  There were only a few hikers by the time we finished the park was getting full.

A hard climb up for them but the views made it worth it.  There are benches here and there on the trail where we stopped and drank hot chocolate.  We are looking forward to doing this hike again.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 14, 2007
First, I'm assuming the Virginia State Parks System people are responsible for the signs in the area. They are, hands-down, the absolute best signs on a hiking trail I've ever seen. They're like little mini road signs. I wish all other parks in VA, heck the country, used these signs (Shenandoah are you listening?).

Anyway, a great hike for cooler seasons (lots of sun exposure). Even though the parking lot was pretty full when I returned, not many of those people were hiking. Thus, there was more solitude than I expected.

Make sure to go all the way to the Appalachian Trail and head north, for more "sky meadows."

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 16, 2007
Did this hike on a Sunday afternoon.  More crowded than I expected.  Made the hike a little less enjoyable.  I printed out the hiking route from this site and did that route.  Great scenery and well marked route.  If you have kids this is a good hike to take them on.  If your're out for a quite afternoon hike on a weekend pick another hike from this site.  One side note you do need to pay to get into the park.  I'm a life member for virgina state parks so I got in free.

By: Richard Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 22, 2007
A good hike with fantastic views of the piedmont area, which, I understand, will be preserved from development through conservation easments.  The weather was picture perfect - the first warm weather of the year.  Walking among the cows was a treat, especially for the "city folk" on our hike.  I live in Frederick, MD, and the drive was well worth it.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 16, 2006
Depending on when you go, this park will either be packed with people, or ghost-town deserted. I decided to go on one of the hottest days of the summer in the middle of the week, so of course I got the ghost-town. The best advice I can give is to heed the direction of the arrows on the map -- going the other way around is pure uphill masochism.

By: Rich Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 15, 2006
Very nice hike.  We got an early start due to the hot weather, but it seemed to be a very degrees cooler than DC out here.  We followed your hike exactly and appreciated the varied terrain and great views.  We stopped at Maxwell's Pub in Middleburg - not too great.

By: Judy Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Great hike even on a very very hot day.  We tried to start at 730am but the park gate is padlocked shut until 8am so don't arrive too early!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 16, 2006
We loved this hike. The wide trail, the expansive views and the loop hike. Winter time is perfect for this hike; I can see why the park would fill up in the Summer.

By: SaraJ Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 11, 2004
I was looking for a hike where I could take the kids, and this was it. Most of the trails intersect so you can cut it short if the kids get tired and the views are fantastic!

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