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SHARPSBURG, MARYLAND

Hike the Appalachian Trail in Four States!

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Road Scholar
Program #18537RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Challenging
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
All hikes are below 3000 ft

Equipment Requirements
Hiking shoes Day pack - hikers will carry own lunch. Hydration - either 2 water bottles or camel or similar hydration pack, Walking sticks are optional

Itinerary for Jun 22 — Jun 27, 2014

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Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated along the Potomac River and C&O Canal, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. This secluded site is a relaxing refuge for people and a haven for wildlife. Demonstration gardens, a Heifer Global Village, and more create an eco-friendly learning facility with worldwide scope.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple yet comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and most have a futon. A telephone is available in the common area. Each room has its own private bath along with individually controlled heating and air conditioning. Linens are provided, though there is no maid service during the program.

Facility amenities: Part of the charm of Shepherd’s Spring is “getting away from it all” to focus on meaningful activities and ideas. The site features a natural spring as well as nature and meditation trails for hiking. There is limited wireless Internet access, and a computer is available for guest use in the common area. TV and telephones only in the common areas. Free parking available on site.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45/ room
Call ahead for availability at (301) 223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, June 22 - Registration and introduction to the facilities. ...
Registration and introduction to the facilities. Get to know fellow hikers. A documentary video on the AT is shown.

Note: No physically demanding activities are scheduled. Our property does border the C&O Canal for those who are eager to get out and hike on their own.

Arrive To: Check-in from 3-5 p.m. in the Lodge main lobby. Receive information packet, including a detailed itinerary and daily hike information for the week.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet-style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Become familiarized with the program, the facility and one another during our general orientation.Get acquainted with the Appalachian Trail through a presentation by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. A patchwork of private, state and federal lands makes this National Park unique. Follow the trail through 13 states as we learn about the partnerships that make this park work.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated along the Potomac River and C&O Canal, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. This secluded site is a relaxing refuge for people and a haven for wildlife. Demonstration gardens, a Heifer Global Village, and more create an eco-friendly learning facility with worldwide scope.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple yet comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and most have a futon. A telephone is available in the common area. Each room has its own private bath along with individually controlled heating and air conditioning. Linens are provided, though there is no maid service during the program.

Facility amenities: Part of the charm of Shepherd’s Spring is “getting away from it all” to focus on meaningful activities and ideas. The site features a natural spring as well as nature and meditation trails for hiking. There is limited wireless Internet access, and a computer is available for guest use in the common area. TV and telephones only in the common areas. Free parking available on site.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45/ room
Call ahead for availability at (301) 223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, June 23 - Hiking in Pennsylvania to the posted midpoint of ...
Hiking in Pennsylvania to the posted midpoint of the AT. Our hike will end at historic Pine Grove Furnace, an iron furnace with historic links to the Revolutionary War and the Underground Railroad. We may stop in at the AT's only museum located on-site.

Note: This day's hike is approximately 8.5 miles long covering over 900 feet in elevation change. This section of the AT is very rocky terrain and sure footing is needed. Most of the significant elevation changes are downhill. This is our Pennsylvania hike.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet-style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room. Pack your own lunch from the variety of options available.

Morning: Ride into Pennsylvania for the start of our hike at the area known as Big Flats. Lunch is enjoyed about five miles down the trail at one of the AT shelters. We hiked through Michaux State Forest and lovely hemlock groves.

Lunch: Delve into the lunch you've packed and carried at the Tom's Run Shelter along the trail.

Afternoon: Ride into Pennsylvania for the start of our hike at the area known as Big Flats. Lunch is enjoyed about five miles down the trail at one of the AT shelters. We hiked through Michaux State Forest and lovely hemlock groves.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet-style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Be inspired by the adventures of a local thru-hiker. From preparation to completion, follow his adventures and challenges along the way. Maybe you'll be inspired to plan your own hike, learning from his experiences. Hope you like peanut butter!

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated along the Potomac River and C&O Canal, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. This secluded site is a relaxing refuge for people and a haven for wildlife. Demonstration gardens, a Heifer Global Village, and more create an eco-friendly learning facility with worldwide scope.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple yet comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and most have a futon. A telephone is available in the common area. Each room has its own private bath along with individually controlled heating and air conditioning. Linens are provided, though there is no maid service during the program.

Facility amenities: Part of the charm of Shepherd’s Spring is “getting away from it all” to focus on meaningful activities and ideas. The site features a natural spring as well as nature and meditation trails for hiking. There is limited wireless Internet access, and a computer is available for guest use in the common area. TV and telephones only in the common areas. Free parking available on site.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45/ room
Call ahead for availability at (301) 223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, June 24 - This day the AT crosses the three historic passes...
This day the AT crosses the three historic passes that Union forces crossed before engaging Confederates at the battle of Antietam. The starting point will be at the nation's first monument to George Washington and cross over a vista at Lamb's Knoll.

Note: This hike will cover 9.5 miles. A signifigant elevation change occurs in climbing Lamb's Knoll, when we ascend more than 800 feet in just over a mile. The main ascent is fairly rocky, though the remainder of the trail is fairly clear of rocks compared to the other hikes. This is our Maryland hike.

Breakfast: This hike will cover 9.5 miles. A signifigant elevation change occurs in climbing Lamb's Knoll, when we ascend more than 800 feet in just over a mile. The main ascent is fairly rocky, though the remainder of the trail is fairly clear of rocks compared to the other hikes. This is our Maryland hike.

Morning: Ride to the nation's first Washington Monument, where we'll catch a grand vista from atop South Mountain. Then hike southward following the path of Confederate soldiers who defended Turner's Gap and Fox's Gap during the Battle of South Mountain in 1862.

Lunch: Delve into the lunch you've packed and carried at the Rocky Run Shelter after a 4.25-mile hike.

Afternoon: Complete the hike over today's highest point at Lamb's Knoll ending at Crampton's Gap. Here we find the War Correspondents' Memorial Arch, created by Civil War correspondent George Alfred Townsend, who wrote under the pen name of GATH. The area surrounding the memorial is Gathland State Park and features what remains of Townsend's estate.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet-style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Lectures alternate between a presentation on the settlement process along the trail in the local area from colonial days to the present and the geologic importance to settlement or a presentation on the edible plants found along these sections of the Appalachian Trail.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated along the Potomac River and C&O Canal, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. This secluded site is a relaxing refuge for people and a haven for wildlife. Demonstration gardens, a Heifer Global Village, and more create an eco-friendly learning facility with worldwide scope.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple yet comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and most have a futon. A telephone is available in the common area. Each room has its own private bath along with individually controlled heating and air conditioning. Linens are provided, though there is no maid service during the program.

Facility amenities: Part of the charm of Shepherd’s Spring is “getting away from it all” to focus on meaningful activities and ideas. The site features a natural spring as well as nature and meditation trails for hiking. There is limited wireless Internet access, and a computer is available for guest use in the common area. TV and telephones only in the common areas. Free parking available on site.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45/ room
Call ahead for availability at (301) 223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, June 25 - We will be hiking a portion of the AT known as th...
We will be hiking a portion of the AT known as the "Rollercoaster," which is a section of trail that many thru-hikers consider the proving grounds of the AT. A few vistas and a possible stop at a unique trail hostel are among highlights.

Note: This is one of the more challenging hikes. While only covering about seven miles, the terrain is rocky and elevation changes (ascents and descents) are numerous and dramatic. Approximate elevation changes go from 1,000-1,300 and 750-1,100 to 900-1,200 and 800-1,250 in our 6.8-mile span. This is our Virginia hike.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet-style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room. Pack your own lunch from the variety of options available.

Morning: Begin your "ride" on the rollercoaster of Virginia, a series of ascents and descents paralleling the Shenandoah River Valley at Snicker's Gap. After the first ascent, a beautiful vista of the Shenandoah River makes the climb worthwhile. A short side trail makes it possible to stop at Bear's Den hostel. An oasis for thru hikers with comfortable beds, laundry facilities and prepared food, it is easy to see why hikers have made this a popular stopover.

Lunch: Delve into the lunch you've packed and carried at the Sam Moore Shelter after hiking approximately 3.8 miles.

Afternoon: Continue on the rollercoaster with a series of ups and downs. Another lovely view of the valley awaits at Buzzard Hill. Though shorter in length, this is a challenging hike and one that provides section hikers with a real sense of accomplishment at day's end. Our return trip in the van passes by the Homeland Security outpost known as Mount Weather.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet-style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Enjoy National Geographic's tale of adventures on the Appalchian Trail. Be sure to watch for some of the stars of the film as we visit the headquarters of the AT Conservancy the next day.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated along the Potomac River and C&O Canal, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. This secluded site is a relaxing refuge for people and a haven for wildlife. Demonstration gardens, a Heifer Global Village, and more create an eco-friendly learning facility with worldwide scope.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple yet comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and most have a futon. A telephone is available in the common area. Each room has its own private bath along with individually controlled heating and air conditioning. Linens are provided, though there is no maid service during the program.

Facility amenities: Part of the charm of Shepherd’s Spring is “getting away from it all” to focus on meaningful activities and ideas. The site features a natural spring as well as nature and meditation trails for hiking. There is limited wireless Internet access, and a computer is available for guest use in the common area. TV and telephones only in the common areas. Free parking available on site.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45/ room
Call ahead for availability at (301) 223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, June 26 - Our last day of hiking on the AT will center arou...
Our last day of hiking on the AT will center around the historic town and National Park of Harpers Ferry. There will be time to explore the park and town. We will also visit the AT Conservancy HQ, the organization responsible for the AT's maintenance.

Note: This day is the only day in which there is an alternative hike available to participants. The scheduled hike is 6.5 miles and crosses over Loudon Heights, Va., and into Harpers Ferry W.Va. The elevation changes are sizable, from a 600-foot climb to an 800-foot decline. Should the participant opt out of this hike, there is an alternate hike where the AT coincides with the level C&O Canal towpath (one of very few places where the AT can be biked on). This is our West Virginia hike.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet-style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge.

Morning: Ride to Loudon Heights, one of the mountains surrounding Harpers Ferry, to begin today's journey. As the AT flip-flops between the state lines of Virginia and West Virginia, be sure to walk on the right side of the trail that is in West Virginia to get all four miles of the West Virginia trail. A short side trail will provide a vista of the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Descend into the Shenandoah River basin to cross at the new bridge. For those who've experienced enough ups and downs on the AT, an alternative flat hike that is also part of the C&O Canal Towpath is offered. This hike begins in Maryland and crosses the Potomac River bridge. Everyone will meet for a late lunch at the AT Conservancy Headquarters.

Lunch: We'll have lunch at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters at the end of the day's hike. There the employees of the conservancy will greet us and share some of their own stories regarding the trail.

Afternoon: Trace your steps from the week along the AT relief map or find pictures of friends or relatives who have thru-hiked the trail in the picture archives of the AT Conservancy. Then, return to the trail to the view that Thomas Jefferson described as "worth a trip across the ocean" at Jefferson Rock. The trail continues down the stone steps into Old Town Harpers Ferry. Complete the West Virginia miles by hiking to the point where the Potomac meets the Shenandoah River. There will be time to explore the museums and shops in historic Harpers Ferry.

Dinner: A farewell banquet dinner will be held in the lodge dining room.

Evening: Enjoy hammered dulcimers, guitars and banjos at O'Hurley's General Store in nearby Shepherdstown, W.Va. Music of the Appalachian region is played by a rotating group of local musicians who have gathered every Thursday night for the past 30 years! This is a real treat for the ears, not to mention easy on the feet.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, June 27 - There will be a bonus hike along a trail at Antie...
There will be a bonus hike along a trail at Antietam National Battlefield. This hike come after a brief driving exploration of the battlefield. Participants will hike near Burnside's Bridge, a turning point during the battle and a noted scenic overlook.

Note: The approximate three-mile hike along mostly level and clear terrain will take place after a 45-minute driving exploration of the battlefield.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet-style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room. No need to pack lunch today, because we'll be back to enjoy lunch in the dining room!

Morning: Drive through historic Antietam National Battlefield, stopping at several historic landmarks. Stops may include the Cornfield, the Dunker Church and the Bloody Lane. We conclude the morning by hiking one of the battlefield trails next to Antietam Creek by historic Burnside Bridge. The Burnside Bridge is considered the most scenic spot of the battlefield, offering not only a scenic overlook but a strategic view.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch with a salad bar in the Shepherd’s Spring lodge dining room.

Afternoon: Depart following lunch, about 1 p.m.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
15 meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
9 Field trips
9 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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