Has anybody hiked Mt Rogers down south of Roanoke, Virginia's highest peak? What were your impressions?
One of my favorite hikes within the park is also Whiteoak Canyon - I've probably been on that 9 or 10 times now, at all times of the year. Twice, I've gone backcountry camping off of that trail. Just across the street is the Stony Man Mountain hike, which isn't the most strenuous hike but leads to a great view. And when you get done, you can stop at Skyland for a warm meal.
Near the Big Meadows campground, the Dark Hollow Falls trail is a good hike. Farther south, Bearfence Mountain is a nice hike/scramble up to the top for a great view. The last time I hiked this, we had to "abort" shortly after arriving at the top as summer thunderstorms started to roll in. You usually don't want to be the highest point around when the lightning starts.
In terms of campgrounds at Shenandoah, is Mathews Arm still closed? I can't remember. Big Meadows is the only campground that accepts reservations, so we usually ended up camping there to guarantee a spot. Lewis Mountain is probably my favorite campground - much smaller and quieter, more in the woods.
It's been a year or two since I've been to Shenandoah but I hope to make a trip or two this summer. Unfortunately, my friends from college are now spread across the country, so getting together for a camping trip is a lot more challenging.
In September, I'm hoping to take a couple weeks off from work and drive out west. This is still tentative, but I'm planning on filing near-daily "reports from the road" documenting my adventures in places like Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah.
There's some great hiking and mountain biking out there. Growing up in Colorado, I made quite a few trips to Rocky Mountain National Park, which wasn't too far from my hometown.
Here's a question for all of you: out of all of the National Parks you've visited, can you name a favorite? Which one?
Which ones have you visited? I think I've been to most in the continental U.S. except Big Bend in Texas. Although I was quite young on some of them (such as Yosemite.)