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Zero to 60 Charlottesville: Hiking Shenandoah National Park with Wild Virginia

CharlottesvilleTALK!  A real estate blog about home in Charlottesville.

Zero to 60 CharlottesvilleWe attended a series of environmental films at The Paramount Theatre earlier this year, supporting Wild Virginia, called The Wild and Scenic Film Festival.  Before that time, we were completely unaware of Wild Virginia...

Mission Statement: Wild Virginia is a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to preserving wild forest ecosystems in Virginias National Forests.

How?: Wild Virginia works to accomplish our mission through our Forest Watch program and by organizing people who care about forest protection.

In 1995, a group of University of Virginia students and local environmental activists organized as the Shenandoah Ecosystems Defense Group (SEDG). (People may say what they will about this country, but these grassroots organizations have become some of the US's greatest assets).  The name was changed to Wild Virginia in 2003,  but their goals have remained unchanged... Protection of Virginia's public lands, specifically the forested areas.  They have been instrumental in developing and promoting legislation that protects these critically important Virginia assets.

walk along trail in woods at Ivy Creek Natural AreaAn important part of Wild Virginia's effort to "get the word out", as well as to develop and maintain a cohesive and interested group of committed volunteers is by sponsoring hikes through the very lands their work protects.

From the website, the upcoming hikes are described...

Sunday December 4, 2011
Turk Mountain - Shenandoah National Park
Enjoy an easy 4.8 mile round trip hike to the summit of Turk Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. We'll begin at the Sawmill Run Overlook and hike on the Appalachian Trail to the Turk Mountain Trail, which we will take to the top of Turk Mountain. Bring plenty of warm clothes and lunch as we'll spend some time relaxing and enjoying the views from the rock outcroppings on the mountain.  Because this is a relatively easy hike it will be a great chance to come along for the first time if you've never been on a Wild Virginia outing before. If you would like to join us, but would prefer a shorter distance, please contact the hike leader as a 2.2 mile option is available.

Sunday, January 15, 2012
Hawksbill Mountain - Shenandoah National Park  

At 4051 feet, Hawksbill Mountain is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park. The stone observation platform at the summit provides commanding and panoramic views of surrounding mountains and valleys.  The area around the summit is one of the few places in the park where you find red spruce and balsam fir (trees more typical of northern New England and southeast Canada). A 2500 foot drop on the north face of Hawksbill into Timber Hollow is the largest elevation change in the park. Near Hawksbill peak is the site of a Peregrine Falcon restoration project and Byrd's Nest Shelter No. 2.  This hike follows the Appalachian Trail south along the ridgeline just below the summit. It then climbs gradually to the Hawksbill summit via the Salamander Trail and returns to the parking area via the Lower Hawksbill Trail. This circuit hike is considered moderately easy at 2.8 miles with 750' of elevation gain.

To learn more about these hikes, about Wild Virginia, and about their continuing work to protect Virginia's ecosystems, visit their website,

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