I know, it’s not summer yet. But it sure felt like it last Tuesday. It was almost 80 degrees in Front Royal and the thought of spending the day anywhere but outside seemed absurd. So, my boyfriend and I decided to explore one of Virginia’s many state parks - Sky Meadows. I had no idea what to expect and didn’t think many employees would be around since it was January after all. We drove about 30 minutes to the entrance, where as expected, no one was stationed to collect fees, but I was already prepared with the yearly pass I purchased in May. We grabbed a trails map, parked the truck and decided to embark on a trail that would take us on a portion of the Appalachian Trail that neither of us had trekked before. The beginning of our journey took us uphill on the Piedmont Overlook Trail through what appeared to be a cow pasture, but we stopped at the first overlook to take some pictures.
Our journey continued into the woods along a small portion of the North Ridge Trail and then up to a hilltop along the Ambassador Whitehouse Trail that overlooked the little sleepy town of Paris, VA. As we had started our trek later in the afternoon, and had decided to take on about 4 miles, we didn’t spend much time taking in the views, but continued on to our AT portion of the hike. Eventually we made our way back downhill along a pretty rocky and steep portion of the North Ridge Trail. We crossed a little stream, which always makes my day. I just love water!
The North Ridge Trail eventually led us back to the cow pasture and our truck parked in the visitor center parking lot. Needless to say, the park has plenty more to explore, including the Snowden Interpretive Trail, which in name alone intrigues a park ranger. I vowed to come back and hike more when the weather breaks, but what a great way to spend an unseasonably warm winter day in the Shenandoah Valley.