National Trails Day

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Date: May 21, 2009
Contact: Laura Buchheit, 540-999-3500 x3723

Celebrate National Trails Day with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) at Shenandoah National Park on Saturday June 6. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club invites new hikers and experienced backpackers to learn new trail skills at PATC Trail Patrol’s “Beyond the Trailhead” event at Byrd Visitor Center (milepost 51 on Skyline Drive). Come participate in hikes, demonstrations, and presentations throughout the day.

The event is designed to give novice hikers the information they need to leave their cars behind and venture beyond the trailhead to enjoy this area’s numerous hiking and nature trails. Even experienced backpackers can learn new skills at the information tables and discussion groups on Leave No Trace outdoor ethics, hiking techniques, and equipment. Hands-on demonstrations of traditional tools, such as crosscut saws, used to maintain trails will be offered by Shenandoah National Park trail crew.
A variety of hikes guided by experienced Trail Patrol members will be offered for people of all ages and experience levels: hikes suitable for families with children; easy, moderate, and advanced hikes for adults. Hikers will need to meet at the registration table at Byrd Visitor Center 15 minutes before the hike time to sign in. Hikers should wear appropriate footwear and clothing for the season, and bring food and plenty of water.

Hikes leaving Byrd Visitor Center:







Story of the Forest Nature Trail





Appalachian Trail Hike





Dark Hollow Falls Hike





Lewis Falls Hike





Rapidan Camp National Historic Landmark (Camp Hoover) by Mill Prong Trail




Pre-registration is encouraged but you may also register on June 6 at Byrd Visitor Center. To pre-register, send an email to PATC by June 4. Please include your name and which hike you wish to join. 

A presentation about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Appalachian Trail Reflections, will be offered as part of the National Trails Day event. Maryland backpackers Georgia Harris and Randy Motz will share their 2006 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail by describing what trail life is like, relating what it takes to accomplish a thru-hike, and showing photos of their journey. The one hour presentation will be given three times:

  • Saturday, June 6 at 1:00 p.m. at the Byrd Visitor Center auditorium
  • Saturday, June 6 at 8:30 p.m. at the Big Meadows amphitheater
  • Sunday, June 7 at 10:00 a.m. at the Byrd Visitor Center auditorium

PATC and Trail Patrol are charging no fees to attend or participate in any hike, workshop, or demonstration connected with the event; however, there is a $15-per-car entrance fee to the park (good for seven days). Byrd Visitor Center lies within the park at milepost 51 on Skyline Drive between the Thornton Gap entrance on Highway 211 and the Swift Run Gap entrance on Highway 33. For more information about the event, visit the PATC website, or contact Trail Patrol via email. For more information on the park, visit the park’s website at “Beyond the Trailhead” celebrates the annual National Trails Day organized and sponsored by American Hiking Society.  

Trail Patrol is the education and outreach arm of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). Trail Patrol members hike area trails to offer information and assistance to hikers and backpackers who need their help. Trail Patrol volunteers report trail conditions to PATC trail maintainers and offer public classes in beginning and intermediate backpacking, hike leadership training, and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. 

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is the volunteer trails maintenance group headquartered in Vienna, Virginia that maintains 240 miles of mid-Atlantic Appalachian Trail and 730 miles of other trails in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, southern Pennsylvania, and eastern West Virginia. PATC volunteers build and maintain trailside hiker shelters and rustic rental cabins; publish detailed trails maps, hiking guidebooks, and books detailing the history and folklore of the Appalachian region. For more information about PATC and the Trail Patrol, visit the club’s website as

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835


(540) 999-3500

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