Echols Dorm: Brick Wall By Side Door
Shenandoah National Park
New Plan: Park at the end of 662. Plan A: hike at 12 mile loop passing Bear Church Rock. Plan B: hike out and back to BCR for a total of 7-8 miles. Plan C: Hike somewhere else.
In full disclosure, I’ve planned this hike with Sergei. Despite what you may have heard about him or his trips, this trip should actually be reasonable.
Leaving from Echols at 10:30 am, we’ll drive to Skyline Drive MP 55.1, park, hike north on the AT to the Laurel Prong Trail, then the Cat Knob Trail to the Jones Mountain Trail until we reach the titular Bear Church Rock. We’ll reach this nice outlook in about 5 miles with only about 900 feet of climbing so far. (We’ll have dropped around 1000 feet for a total loss of 100 feet.)
After we look out for awhile, we’ll go back a different way. The back “half” will take us about 6 miles or so to take Jones Mountain Trail to a fire road which goes to a feature called the “Sag” and then out to our cars via Cat Knob (which we’ll top on our way in).
My guess for the mileage is 10.5 miles, so let’s call it 11-12 miles. The elevation gain/loss is right around 2500 feet. I’m going to call this moderately difficult. My estimate for the hiking time is around 4-5 hours.
Club provides gas for drivers + 30%. Drivers get off the waitlist first, etc.
If we’re short on park passes, we’ll work it out either be adding miles to the hike or splitting the cost some way to be determined later.
Warm layers. The weather is going to be sunny and cold. If it looks like rain, we’ll reconsider.
Lunch and at least 1 liter of water. We’ll pass some water on the way out in case anyone runs short, but that’ll be 7 or so miles into the hike.
Speed. I don’t want to exclude anyone, but it’d gonna be cold. Faster we move, warmer we’ll stay. Take this as your warning that we might move fast…
Money for dinner on the way back. We will very likely stop for dinner on the way back. Sergei has suggested we stop for Korean at a place north of town.
Optional things: Spare shoes and socks for the car (I can’t promise your feet will stay dry). Trekking poles for stability.
Headlamps (just in case we’re slow and get caught in the dark).
A ride there and back again. Gas + 30% for drivers. Park pass action if need be.
For amusement here’s Sergei’s original description
“Pick up the Appalachian Trail at mile 55.1 of Skyline Drive. Head north on the Appalachian Trail then take the following trails to reach Bear Church Rock: Laurel Gap Trail, Cat Knob Trail, Jones Mountain Trail.
Then drop to the fire road and head back up to the Sag and finally back to AT and parking
Total Distance — a few miles
Total Elevation Gain — a few feet
Total Elevation Loss — same as above
Rating — Ludicrously easy to ridiculously easy”
Mr. Egorov isn’t actually that far enough… Bear Church Rock is “just around the corner”…