Summary: This hike makes use of most of the trails within one of Virginia's newest state parks. Sky Meadows, located on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge, was opened in 1983 and encompasses nearly 1900 acres of rolling pastures and woodlands. A three-mile section of the Appalachian Trail passes through the wester edge of the park.
A Visitor Center is located in the old Mount Bleak House, built around 1820 and furnished as a typical middle class farmhouse of the 1860's. It is open daily during the summer and weekends in the spring and fall. Tours are given on weekends.
Trailhead: I-495 to I-66 west; I-66 west to US 17 (Exit 23); north on US 17 approx. 7 mi. to park entrance on left. $3 entry fee (as of 08/08/03) (Lat:38.9925 Lon:-77.9679)
Trail Guides for Sky Meadows:
Circuit Hikes in VA WVA MD and PA
by Potomac Appalachain Trail Club (PATC)
60 Hikes within 60 miles of Washington D.C.
by Paul Elliott (Menasha Ridge Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Department of Conservaton & Recreation, Sky Meadows (540) 592-3556
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joe Cross, who has posted 56 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Larry on 11/16/2008
Hike with 3 kids. Best marked trails I've seen in area. Lots of open spaces on the bottom half of the trail, always nice on the East Coast. We went up to AT and back using North Ridge up and South Ridge back. About 2 hours. We passed about a dozen people on a 50 degree,nice day.
Reviewed by ydant on 4/22/2007
Quite a nice area with well marked and well maintained trails. There is a good bit of elevation gain going up to the AT, but it's nothing that a novice couldn't handle with a few breaks along the way. We took the North Ridge trail up to the AT, followed the Old Trail back to the South Ridge Trail back to the parking lot. I recommend this route, as it gets the harder (and rockier) uphill portion out of the way while you're fresh. The portion of the AT this takes you on is beautiful. Regarding the cows, you are walking through an active cow pasture for the first half of a mile or so, but we didn't have any problems with manure in late April.
Reviewed by TVB on 10/29/2006
We took our three boys on the Piedmont and North Ridge trails and found the profundity of cow pies to be really too much. One two-year old we ran across had stepped in a wet one and her shoe was completely covered. The hills are kind of steep and long but the views are worth it...the cow poop, however is not.
Reviewed by JE on 10/5/2006
This was as scenic a hike as any I've had in the area. And most of the best views are within a mile of the Visitor's Center. But hiking up to the AT and taking it north is well worth it, too. Most of the trail towards Ashby Gap is through a beautiful meadows full of wildflowers. I started out at 8:30 on the first Wednesday in October, and the parking lot was empty. I only ran into 2 backpackers on the AT and one day-hiker. When I returned about 4 hours later, the lot was nearly full. I imagine it's very busy here on the weekends. I hiked North Gap to Old Trail to AT North to Ashby Gap, back-tracked on the AT to South Gap, and didn't find it particularly strenuous.
Reviewed by M on 7/17/2006
What a lovely gem of a park! The weekdays seem to be the times when the park is the most devoid of people; my monday excursion only had me see one other person who wasn't a park employee. The trails are wide and very well maintained, but some are VERY steep and will thoroughly defeat you. Start early, take it *slow* and watch out for cowpies! (ick!)
Reviewed by Christopher on 6/20/2005
The Sky Meadows area is beautiful. The trails are very well cut and blazes are very easy to see. My wife and I did a day hike of it, and hiked about 4 1/2 miles in 2 1/2 hours. It was a wonderful workout and we even hiked all the way up to the AT, and met an older couple who was day hiking the AT. Had lots of fun. If you are looking for a good hike, close to DC, and beautiful views, this is the place. We also didn't see that many people out either. Though, we did start around 12pm, so I would suggest starting early, when we got back to the visitors center, there were many more cars there than when we had originally arrived. Happy hiking.
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Keys: Virginia Hiking, Virginia Trails, Virginia Hikes, Fauquier County Hiking, Fauquier County Trails, Fauquier County Hikes