Hogback Mountain Hike

June 22, 2013

There are a few more pictures I wanted to share from our hike last weekend in Shenandoah National Park. With two young girls (ages one and three), short hikes work best so we opted for a short and scenic hike up Hogback Mountain.

Views

The trail starts off going through a pretty forest with lots of ferns as far as you can see. There is a side trail early on with nice views above the Skyline Drive Hogback Mountain Overlook.

Appalachian Trail Passing through the Ferns

Appalachian Trail Passing through the Ferns

Appalachian Trail Blaze and Ferns

Appalachian Trail Blaze and Ferns

Kristy and Cara on the Trail

Kristy and Cara on the Trail

This year the main cliffs at the top of Hogback Mountain were fenced off due to a Peregrine Falcon project. However, we were able to enjoy some nice views at the far end of the cliffs and a falcon project observer even took a nice family picture of us. The observer was there to monitor the young falcons that were released there, specifically their meals.

Closed for Falcons

Closed for Falcons

Hogback Mountain View

View from Hogback Mountain

Family Portrait

Family Portrait

Wildlife

The highlight of the trip (for me at least) was seeing a timber rattlesnake. This was only the second time I’ve seen a rattler in Virginia. The other time was on a hike at Wildcat Mountain northwest of Warrenton.

Timber Rattlesnake

Timber Rattlesnake

We also saw peregrine falcons flying at the Hogback Mountain cliffs. They can dive at 180 mph as they go after other birds to eat!

At the conclusion of our hike, we saw our first black bear of the year cross Skyline Drive but we did not get any pictures.

Wildflowers

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Some pretty blooms we saw this year include:

Recommended Backpacks

For carrying our kids, we used a Deuter Kid Comfort I Carrier for the three-year old and a Beco Baby Carrier for our baby girl.

The Author with Gretchen in a Deuter Backpack

The Author with Gretchen in a Deuter Backpack

Kristy With Cara in a Beco Carrier

Kristy With Cara in a Beco Carrier

Getting There: Directions

Entering Shenandoah National Park at Front Royal, we parked at a parking lot on the right side of Skyline Drive just past Mile Post 21. (If you’re heading north, the parking lot will be on your left.

Access the Appalachian Trail and head north on the trail. The Appalachian Trail will immediately cross to the east side of Skyline Drive through some nice ferns (pictured above) before recrossing to the west side Skyline Drive. After crossing Skyline Drive the second time, the AT continues on a fire road, but quickly turns off to the right. From here, it is a relatively short, and not very steep climb, up Hogback Mountain. The cliffs provide some nice views to the west. The scenery and ease of hiking Hogback Mountain makes it a good choice for travelers that want to do some hiking, but do not have a lot of time.

Nearby Lunch

Just three miles farther south along Skyline Drive, Elkwallow Wayside is a nice place to have a picnic lunch. There is no indoor seating, but sandwiches, sides, and drinks are available for purchase in the convenience store and there are picnic tables outside.

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4 Responses to Hogback Mountain Hike

  1. June 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Nice pics! Such cute kids! I would rather see a falcon than a rattler! I’ve seen rattlesnakes a couple of times , considered taking a picture, but then thought better of it and moved away.

  2. June 22, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Thanks! It sounds like you have better sense than I do. I didn’t take any pictures the other times I’ve seen one and regretted that a bit. No regrets this time especially since there were no bites. One of these days I’d like to get a decent zoom lens.

  3. June 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Gotta admit I’ve been a bit busy for reading other blogs lately but now have time today to catch up on yours. Nice pics! Also, that fern area would make a great backdrop for a camera-trap. Any bear news lately?

  4. June 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks a lot, Brian. I actually saw a bear this morning when I looked out the bathroom window but I didn’t get my camera in time. It might have been a year-old. I’ll check the trailcam tomorrow.

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