There are a HUGE number of areas to hike and backpack within a 6-hour drive of Washington, D.C. The following list is expanding as time allows, so feel free to check it out on occasion for new entries. It takes a little time to get all the information pulled together, so the list is going to be short for now, but will continually grow.

What's so good about our listing?? Well, you'll find information on this page that's just not available anywhere else - including some areas close to the city that are often overlooked or bypassed by the general public. These write-ups have been created specifically for the PATC pages. The authors of each write-up have personally visited each location many times, thereby providing you, the hiker, with an "insider's view". We've been there, seen it, hiked it, and experienced it. Free maps are typically available at the bottom of each descriptive Web page, and pictures can be found with most of the descriptions.

NOTE: These descriptions are not intended to be a replacment for detailed information contained in guidebooks for each respective area. Hikers are strongly encouraged to purchase maps and guidebooks well before they leave on their trip, and study them closely. In many cases, guidebooks are listed on each descriptive page. In some cases, guidebooks and maps can be ordered directly from PATC.

Before you go, check out these National Weather Service forecasts (by zone) for:


Hikers and backpackers in our region should read this short write-up on heat stress before they head into the woods in the summer.

Getting ready for Fall? Check out these resources for catching the changing of the leaves in the Blue Ridge, and some worthwhile safety equipment.

Information on the hunting seasons is contained on the Buckmasters website.

We also have a quick and dirty article on winter clothing posted that you might find interesting.

 

Hiking Only

VIRGINIA -

Bull Run/Occoquan Trail in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Burke Lake Park in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Great Falls Park in Great Falls, Virginia.
Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Manassas National Battlefield Park in Prince William County, Virginia.
Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge in Fairfax County, Virginia.

MARYLAND -

Greenbelt Park in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, Maryland.

 


 

Hiking/Backpacking

WEST VIRGINIA -

Cranberry Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest
Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in the Monongahela National Forest
Laurel Fork Wilderness Area in the Monongahela National Forest
Otter Creek Wilderness Area in the Monongahela National Forest
Great North Mountain (80-mile circuit) in Virginia and West Virginia

VIRGINIA -

Laurel Fork Special Management Area in the George Washington National Forest (Not to be confused with Laurel Fork Wilderness in West Virginia.)
Prince William Forest Park in Prince William County
Ramsey's Draft Wilderness in the George Washington National Forest
New information on hiking the Tuscarora (Big Blue) Trail from Joan Johnson.
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
The Massanutten Trail in the George Washington National Forest.
Great North Mountain (80-mile circuit) in Virginia and West Virginia

MARYLAND -

Assateague Island National Seashore (also accessed from Virginia)
C&O Canal (Kathy Bilton's excellent Web page.) Maps and Guides are available from PATC's Online Store.

PENNSYLVANIA -

The Quehanna Trail in Moshannon State Forest - a story with 37 photos of the region.

An excellent overview of major hiking routes in our region can been seen on the Keystone Trails Association website. You can securely order the guidebooks and maps at PATC's online store.