June 2, 2018


National Trails Day is a celebration of trails sponsored by the American Hiking Society and many other national, regional, and local organizations including the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.  The PATC is joining in the celebration by sponsoring at least two events on June 2.

National Trails System 50th LogoThis year, National Trails Day includes a celebration the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act. This law established the framework for a national trails system that includes four trail categories.  It placed the then developing Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail into a new category of National Scenic Trails, and gave them a special status of Congressional authorization for sustained Federal funding of their trail operations.  Other trail categories include National Historic Trails, National Recreational Trails, and Connecting and Side Trails. A number of these are found in the PATC region.

National Trails Day seeks to introduce new users to the trails and highlight the importance of protecting and maintaining these valuable resources. The goal is more trail users, more maintainers, and more supporters.

PATC’s two events are designed to commemorate and further the goals of the day.  Each includes fun activities for the whole family. The events will be held in the Shenandoah National Park and at Bears Den in Northern Virginia. 

See below for information on each event:  Bears Den | Shenandoah National Park


Bears Den Hostel
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Bluemont, Virginia


The Northwest Federal Credit Union, in partnership with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, and REI will celebrate National Trails Day with a fun-filled schedule of hikes, crafts, snacks, and other activities at the Bears Den Hostel in Bluemont, Virginia.

Enjoy numerous hikes, some with specific themes such as photography, history, birding, invasive species, and flora and fauna. There will also be trail maintenance demonstrations, multimedia presentations on hiking and invasive species, Leave No Trace information, talks about monarch butterflies, kids’ activities, entertainment, and food. The participating organizations will also have information tents set up on the grounds where attendees can speak with representatives about what their organization does to protect, preserve, and maintain the trails and wildlife that we all enjoy so much.

The first 100 people to visit one of the information tents will receive a free bandana, compliments of REI.

No pets are allowed in the lodge or hostel. PLEASE, no disposable water bottles! Please bring your water in a reusable bottle to help save the environment!

Important Parking Note: This is expected to be a popular event and parking at Bears Den is limited, so carpooling is strongly encouraged. Suggested parking fee: $3.00/car. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash at all times and under control. In the case of the Bears Den parking lot being full, there will be a shuttle from the parking lot at the intersection of Rte. 7 and Rt. 601 (Blueridge Mountain Road). Stop by the Northwest Federal Credit Union Welcome tent in the Rte. 7 parking lot and request the shuttle to Bears Den.  Directions to Bears Den


  • 8:30 am - Photography Hike on the Appalachian Trail (3-4 miles RT) - Led by Terri McLellan (PATC)
  • 9:00 am - "Warbler Walk" Birding Hike led by Loudon Wildlife Conservancy
  • 9:00 am - Hike on the Appalachian Trail (3-4 miles RT) - Led by Simon Newberry (PATC)
  • 10:00 am - History Hike on the Appalachian Trail (4-6 miles RT) - Led by Bob Pickett (PATC)
  • 11:00 am - Family Hike (1-2 miles RT) - Led by Lee Sheaffer (PATC)
  • 11:00 am - Presentation in Bears Den Hostel - "Backpacking in the Southwest" - Bob Melchoir (PATC)
  • 11:00 am to 2:30 pm - Entertainment (Michael Kelly)
  • 11:00 am to 4:00 pm - FREE sandwiches, chips, cookies, sodas and water
  • 12:30 pm - Invasive Species Presentation followed by a Hike on the Appalachian Trail to locate invasive species (2-3 miles RT) - Dewey Clark (PATC Naturalist)
  • 1:00 pm - Hike on the Appalachian Trail (3-4 miles RT) - Led by Lee Sheaffer (PATC)
  • 2:00 pm - Flora & Fauna Hike (3-4 miles RT) - Led by Kit and Karen Sheffield (PATC)
  • 2:00 pm - Presentation in Bears Den Hostel - 14 State Challenge – Set the goal of visiting an iconic location or day-hiking each of the Appalachian Trail’s 14 states - Laurie Potteiger (ATC)


  • Trail maintenance equipment demonstrations - Dan Dueweke (PATC)
  • Try Your Hand at a Cross-Cut Saw
  • Leave No Trace Information - PATC Information Tent - John Noss (PATC)
  • Potomac Appalachian Trail Information Tent
  • Northwest Federal Credit Union Information Tent
  • Appalachian Trail Conservancy Information Tent
  • Loudon Wildlife Conservancy Information Tent
  • PATC Store Open - PATC Merchandise Available

For more information or questions, e-mail:

Byrd Visitor Center
Shenandoah National Park
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“Beyond the Trailhead”


Dark Hollow FallsThe PATC’s Trail Patrol, in partnership with Shenandoah National Park, is sponsoring “Beyond the Trailhead,” an opportunity to leave your car behind and experience the outdoors through hiking.

There will be guided hikes, hands-on demonstrations of the use of traditional tools such as two-man crosscut saws, and information on topics such as Leave No Trace and the safe and responsible enjoyment of our natural resources. Presenters will be PATC Trail Patrol members and Park Rangers. Events will be held throughout the day at Byrd Visitor Center (milepost 51).  Admission to the event is free (though the Park entrance fee will apply) and open to the public.

Hikes start from Byrd Visitor Center.  Please arrive 15 minutes prior to hike time. Please be sure to bring water, food, clothing, and footwear appropriate for the hike.

Difficulty Hike
Start Time(s)
Easy Story of the Forest Trail
1.8 mi
10:00 a.m.
Easy Appalachian Trail Ramble
2.0 mi
10:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m.
Moderate Dark Hollow Falls
1.4 mi
 9:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m.
Rose River - Dark Hollow Loop
4.0 mi
10:00 a.m.
Advanced Rapidan Camp Nat'l Historic Landmark 
4.0 mi
9:45 a.m.

Camp RapidanRegister
for a hike in person at Byrd Visitor Center the day of the event or pre-register for a hike by e-mailing by May 31.