Hiking (Backpacking) Hiking (Backpacking)
Hiking (Day Hikes) Hiking (Day Hikes)


  • Oct 1
  • 02:45 PM
  • 116 Washington Avenue - A.K.A. Shred Shack


  • Oct 2
  • 06:00 PM
  • 116 Washington Avenue - A.K.A. Shred Shack


  • Sep 29
  • 11:00 PM


  • $free


  • St Mary's Wilderness, Raphine, VA, USA


Tired of school already? Let the forest distract you from all your exams and assignments with a pre-creekathon backpacking trip! (This is in no way affiliated with creekathon.) The destination is St. Mary’s Wilderness, a beautiful forest just 1 hour away from us that used to be heavily mined. It’s a perfect place to get an intro to backpacking, but THIS WILL NOT BE AN EASY TRIP! To be clear, beginners are welcome, but you should be able to comfortably hike at least 10 miles on a day trip (feel free to ask us any questions in the questionnaire).

Read more about St. Mary’s Wilderness (and roughly our route) here: https://www.hikingupward.com/gwnf/stmaryswilderness/

The plan is to park just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (see the parking area in the above link), then hike down 4 miles to the intersection with St. Mary’s Falls trail. Around there, we’ll find a campsite for the night and leave our gear there. We’ll then hike 0.75 miles to the falls and maybe eat there (you’re not supposed to camp at the falls), then come back to our stuff (1.5 miles total) and set up camp. On Saturday, we’ll hike a 10 mile loop out of the Wilderness and on a jeep road to get back to the car. If we have a second driver, Saturday’s hiking can be shortened by 1.5 miles; please let us know in the comments if it is important to you that we hike 8.5 vs 10 miles and we’ll do our best to accommodate requests.

We figure our time plan will look something like this, but we advise against planning something else for Saturday night since we don’t know when we’ll be back:

2:45pm – meet at Shred Shack and head out
4:15pm – on the trail
6:15pm – at campsite
6:45pm – at the falls
8pm – back at the campsite

Saturday (obviously contingent upon our departure time, this isn’t a strict schedule)
9:30am pack up and head out
2:30pm back at the car with a break for lunch
4:00pm back home nice ‘n’ smelly

It’s important to come prepared for this trip since we’ll be in the backcountry and far from help. At a minimum, you should bring the following items (almost everything can be checked out at the gear room):
– mask for car ride
– sturdy hiking shoes
– water (at least 2 liters, since we might not be able to replenish after we leave camp on Saturday) – we recommend being able to carry more than 2 liters (like 4) of water but only carrying 2 liters on Friday
– food for yourself: dinner (Fri), breakfast (Sat), lunch (Sat), and snacks for the trail
– a way to cook/heat your food if you need to **if you have never backpacked before we highly recommend bringing food that does not need to be cooked**
– Backpacking backpack (not your school backpack)
– sleeping bag
– sleeping system (either tent + sleeping pad or hammock); think about if you would be comfortable sharing your tent with others, this means you have to carry less!
– headlamp
– layers and maybe a hat/beanie, ideally wool or synthetic so that it dries if you get wet or sweaty (current weather forecast is 48 degrees Friday night)
– change of clothes to sleep in (feels so nice and you never know when you might get drenched crossing a creek)
– extra pair o’ socks (putting on wet socks is one of the worst experiences)
– toothbrush, toilet paper, and other personal things if ya want
– recommended: long pants/sleeves for ticks & the sun
– recommended: camp shoes
– recommended: cards to play at camp or a musical instrument

We’ll bring first aid supplies and water filtration gear for everyone.

If you need to pick things up from the gear room, here’s the schedule for the rest of the week:
Tues: 5:00 pm —> AJ
Weds: 6:15 pm —> Eliza
Thurs: 3:45 pm —> Phillip – come chat with me about the trip!
Fri: 10:30 am —> Sophia

Drivers get priority off the waitlist and get gas reimbursed + a 50% tip ($20 max)! Please arrive with a full tank of gas.




Trips Attended: 68 Trips Led: 50



Trips Attended: 75 Trips Led: 21

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