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5day AT hike through Shenandoah in March - ADVICE??

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5day AT hike through Shenandoah in March - ADVICE??

A friend and I are planning to spend our spring break (early-mid March) hiking part of the AT in Shenandoah. We're specifically looking at Swift Run Gap to Wildcat Ridge (33 miles) over about 4 days - slow and steady pace. But we're not sure what weather to expect/pack for.

Also, if anyone has advice on different trails or what to expect we'd appreciate it. Also, is hiking and camping in the backcountry (off the trail) permitted? Or do we need to sleep at designated camp sites?

Thank you!

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1. Re: 5day AT hike through Shenandoah in March - ADVICE??

Sounds like a nice trip. I haven't hiked that section but SNP trails including AT are usually quite scenic. Take care to plan for water, it can be scarce along the trail. Weather in early-mid March can be a bit of everything; follow weather forecasts as trip nears and plan for very cold nights. Days may be cloudy, partly sunny, and sunny, hope for the best. You will need a SNP backcountry permit which is free and it's always a good idea to leave your trip plan with someone so if you are late returning, they will know to take steps to find you. In the backcountry stay on the trail when hiking but start looking during daylight hours for a suitable campsite (no designated campsites). Use bear bags for food, trash etc. and follow Leave No Trace principals. Here is a link to a hiking/backpacking couple's blog, I use it every time I plan a trip. They write detailed trail descriptions, provide photos, great stuff, scroll down the trail index to Shenandoah NP and see if part of your trip is shown....

http://virginiatrailguide.com/trail-index/

Here is a link to SNP backcountry permit info, etc.......

nps.gov/appa/…feesandreservations.htm

Many hiking or backpacking meetup groups, local clubs, and outdoor retailers (REI, etc) offer Backpacking 101 and Advanced Classes if you are interested.

There is lots of other information online to help you plan the trip too so enjoy backpacking in Shenandoah.

Hope this helps. Happy Trails.

2. Re: 5day AT hike through Shenandoah in March - ADVICE??

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