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Day Hikes Along Southwest Virginia’s Appalachian Trail

Program Number: 17351RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/8/2013 - 9/13/2013; 9/7/2014 - 9/12/2014; 5/3/2015 - 5/8/2015; 5/31/2015 - 6/5/2015; 9/27/2015 - 10/2/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Pembroke, Virginia
Price starting at: $640.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; Natural History Activity Level: n (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Snaking through thickets of uncultivated blueberries, sweeping mountain vistas and blankets of dazzling wildflowers, more than 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail lie in Virginia, the most of any state. Undertake a five-day quest to discover the best hikes along the trail. Trek to Wind Rock, War Spur, Dismal Falls and McAfee’s Knob and re-energize with picnic lunches at overlooks 4,000 feet up.




Highlights

• Get instruction from expert naturalists and AT thru-hikers on local flora and fauna, packing tips for long-distance hikes, "leave no trace" ethics and more.
• Enjoy evening presentations on wildflowers, nature journaling and making your own backpacking stove.
• Hike along Dismal Falls and enjoy a picnic lunch next to this 15-foot, step-like waterfall.



Activity Particulars

Hiking 5-7 miles a day on steep, uneven and rocky terrain. Elevations of 4,000 feet.




Date Specific Information

9-8-2013, 9-7-2014, 5-3-2015, 5-31-2015, 9-27-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by The Mountain Lake Conservancy.




Pembroke

Situated at an elevation of 4,000 feet in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Pembroke encompasses 2,600 peaceful wooded acres that surround the only natural lake in the region, which is also home to rural Appalachian culture and traditions.



Accommodations
Resort accommodations in cottages or historic hotel overlooking the highest natural lake east of the Mississippi River; famous as the site in the movie "Dirty Dancing."

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Leonard Adkins

Leonard Adkins has hiked more than 19,000 miles through the backcountry areas of North America, Europe and the Caribbean, including five treks of the entire Appalachian Trail. He has authored 16 books on the outdoors, including five on the Appalachian Trail, and has served on the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club’s board of directors and as a Natural Heritage Monitor and ridgerunner for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He has been sharing his knowledge with Road Scholar for more than 10 years.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Mountain Lake Lodge
  Pembroke, VA 5 nights
 Mountain Lake Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Discover the ultimate outdoor retreat in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain Range and the center of a 2,600 acre nature preserve. This winter, Mountain Lake completed renovation of many of our guestrooms and cabins, added new recreational activities including an Aerial & Zip Line Adventure Course, new 18-hole Disc Golf course and increased our special events! Mountain Lake Lodge is the ideal place for families, friends, couples and groups to recreate and relax amidst nature’s bounty. Arrive to an unhurried pace in a place faithful to the outdoors, where friendly service prevails.
  Contact info: 115 Hotel Circle
Pembroke, VA 24136 USA
phone: 540-626-7121
web: www.MtnLakeLodge.com
  Room amenities: Private bathroom, coffee, coffee machine, hairdryer, free wifi internet access. Our buildings are not air conditioned as this is not necessary with the elevation and cooler temperatures. Rooms are equipped with ceiling fans and additional window fan units.
  Facility amenities: New Harvest Restaurant; Lounge area & public computers with access to internet; Mary's Barn (billiards, ping pong, foosball, arcade games); Outdoor swimming pool (seasonal) & snack bar; Tennis court; lawn games (volleyball, badminton, tether ball, croquet, oversize lawn chess/checkers); 22 miles of multi-use trails; canoing & kayaking, fishing, water-dependent; artisan and gift shop, retail and outfitter shop, and Mountain Lake Conservancy Visitor Center.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Begin at $99 Price may vary with season and holidays.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Begin at $99 Price may vary with season and holidays.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in at 4:00 pm at Hotel Library You will be staying at Mountain Lake Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Check out at 11:00 am. You will be staying at Mountain Lake Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Mountain Lake Hotel is on private property and adequate, free parking is available to all guests.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Pembroke, VA
  Nearest city or town:  Pembroke
  Nearest highway: Rt. 460
  Nearest airport:  Roanoke Regional
  From End of Program
  Location: Pembroke, VA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Roanoke, VA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Roanoke Airport Transportation Service
phone: 800-288-1958

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

109.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

   

Please reserve in advance. Credit card is required in advance

 

Mountain Lake, VA

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Roanoke Airport Transportation Service
phone: 800-288-1958

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

109.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

   

Reserve in advance. Credit card is required in advance.

 

Mountain Lake, Pembroke, VA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Mountain Lake Lodge Shuttle
phone: 540-626-7121
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

56 miles

   

MUST RESERVE THROUGH MTN LAKE AT LEAST ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE. Only one departure from the airport to the hotel on Sunday, September 8. Shuttle will pick-up at Roanoke Regional Airport at 1:30pm to depart no later than 2:00pm. Shuttle will arrive at the Mountain Lake Conservancy & Lodge by 3:15pm.

 

Mountain Lake, Pembroke, VA

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Mountain Lake Lodge Shuttle
phone: 540-626-7121
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

56 miles

   

MUST RESERVE THROUGH MTN LAKE AT LEAST ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE. Only one departure from the hotel to the airport on Friday, September 13. Shuttle will depart the Mountain Lake Conservancy & Lodge after lunch and check-out at 1:00pm and will arrive at the Roanoke Regional Airport at approximately 2:15pm.

 
Driving Directions
  I-77 Take US 460 East at Princeton, WV. 460 E, 36 miles crossing into Virginia, past Pembroke to left on Rt. 700, Mountain Lake Road. Follow Rt. 700 for seven miles to Mountain Lake.
  I-81 Take exit 118 B, Christiansburg/VA TECH. Follow US 460 West, including bypass around Blacksburg. Take right on Route 700 for seven miles to Mountain Lake.
Elevation Note: The elevation will range between 2,000 - 4,500 feet in the Appalachian Mountains of SW Virginia

Equipment Requirements: Sturdy walking shoes or sturdy hiking boots, day pack, polypropylene clothing, wool/quick dry hiking socks, hat, sunscreen, appropriate rain gear, travel coffee mug, binoculars, camera, walking stick/hiking poles, insect repellent, water bottles, bathing suit, snack items for the trail, trail and field guides and anything else to make your stay more comfortable.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Upon your arrival and check-in to Mountain Lake, join for a wine and cheese mixer to meet fellow Road Scholars. Enjoy dinner in Harvest Restaurant, a brief orientation and A.T. presentation to prepare you for the week's adventure!
(Sunday, September 8)
   
 Arrive To: 4:00 pm - Check into Mountain Lake Lodge at the Reservations Desk in the main lobby. Program registration and packet pick up in the lobby from 4-5pm.
 Afternoon: 5:00 pm - Wine and cheese social on the Lodge veranda to mingle with program participants.
 Dinner: 6:15 pm - Buffet dinner in Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:45 pm - Introduction to instructors and the week's itinerary - enjoy a multi-media presentation, "2,000 Miles along the Appalachian Trail" by 5x thru-hiker, Leonard Adkins.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Learn the "Essentials of Backpacking" with instructor Leonard Adkins in the morning, then "Hike the Views of Mountain Lake" in the afternoon. Make your own backpacking stove during our evening session.
(Monday, September 9)

Note: Hike to Bald Knob, the highest point on Salt Pond Mountain, and Bear Cliff overlooks on the Mountain Lake Conservancy trail system. Just under 5 miles total on rocky terrain, gaining over 500 feet in elevation.



   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Breakfast buffet in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 - 11:30 am - "Essentials of Backpacking": Learn on how to properly plan a hike of any length- where to go, what to bring, resources to help you, food choices and precautions.
 Lunch: 11:45 am - Lunch in Harvest Restaurant.
 Afternoon: 1:30 pm - Join Naturalists as you hike the scenic vistas of Bald Knob and Bear Cliffs on the Mountain Lake Conservancy trail system. Hikes total 5 miles in length and are rated moderate in difficulty. Terrain is rocky and steep in some sections.
 Dinner: 6:15 pm - Dinner in Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:30 pm - "Make your own backpacking stove" with Leonard Adkins.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Depart in the morning to Bland, VA to hike the A.T. along Dismal Creek, and rest near the 10-foot Dismal Falls for lunch. Return with some free time in the afternoon, then enjoy an evening presentation "Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail".
(Tuesday, September 10)

Note: Dismal Falls hike is approximately 4.4 miles round trip, an easy hike that winds along the mountainside with some rocky terrain and minimal elevation change.



   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Breakfast in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 am - Shuttle to Dismal Falls trail head in Bland, VA (1 hour drive). Participants will hike approximately 3 miles to the Falls of Dismal. Hike with an ornithologist to take advantage of several fantastic birding opportunities. Enjoy the 15 foot step-like waterfall and a picnic lunch by the waterfall.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch near the Falls of Dismal.
 Afternoon: Continue hiking 2 miles to the Trent store along an old railroad grade. This is a one-way hike along this section of the A.T. Shuttle back to Mountain Lake, stopping at a local Amish store on the way. Purchase of goods is optional and not included.
 Dinner: 6:15 pm - Dinner in Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: 7:30 pm - Presentation "Wildflowers along the Appalachian Trail" by Leonard Adkins.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: A morning presentation "Images of America: Along Virginia's Appalachian Trail". Head to Wind Rock along the A.T. for a picnic lunch, then hike through old-growth forest along War Spur Loop. Learn about Appalachian geology during the evening.
(Wednesday, September 11)

Note: This hike encompasses two breath-taking vistas in one day! The hike to Wind Rock is short and easy, followed by a 1.7 mile hike along War Spur Loop with some elevation change and rocky terrain.



   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Breakfast in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 11:30 am - A 15 minute shuttle to the Appalachian Trail atop Salt Pond Mountain to hike the one-third mile to the Wind Rock Overlook.
 Morning: 9:00 am - Presentation with Leonard Adkins "Images of America: Along Virginia's Appalachian Trail"
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at the Wind Rock overlook.
 Afternoon: Continue North on the A.T. to the War Branch Connector trail to connect with the War Spur Loop trail. Continue hiking the War Spur trail to conclude this 5-mile, one-way hike. Shuttle back to Mountain Lake.
 Dinner: 6:15 pm - Dinner in Harvest Restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening discussion on the geology of the Appalachian mountains.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Head out early towards Roanoke VA to hike the popular McAfee Knob, the most photographed vista along the southern Appalachian Trail! A breath-taking zenith awards your hiking effort. Take in a hearty meal at a favorite restaurant of hikers, The Homeplace.
(Thursday, September 12)

Note: The culminating hike of the program, McAfee Knob is 8.3 miles round trip, gaining approximately 1700' in elevation. Be prepared for an all-day hike on rocky and some steep terrain.



   
 Breakfast: 7:30 - 9:00 am - Breakfast in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 8:30 am - Shuttle to McAfee Knob trail head (1 hour shuttle). Participants will hike 3.8 miles to the McAfee Knob overlook. Trail is on rocky terrain and will gain approximately 1700' in elevation; Hiking poles will come in handy! Enjoy a view of the most photographed overlook on the southern Appalachian Trail!
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at the McAfee Knob overlook at an elevation of 3,130 feet.
 Afternoon: Hike another 3.5 miles back to the McAfee Knob to parking lot.
 Dinner: 5:00 pm - Finish your day with a southern style "down-home" buffet meal at the Home Place - a restaurant famous among thru hikers.
 Evening: Free Evening - Outdoor bonfire will set up for Lodge guests for the evening.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wrap up the week's program with your instructor, Leonard Adkins, to learn about volunteerism, Leave No Trace ethics, and what you can do for the Trail. After check out, enjoy lunch with the group in Harvest Restaurant.
(Friday, September 13)
   
 Breakfast: 7:30-9:00 am - Breakfast buffet in Harvest Restaurant.
 Morning: 9:00 - 10:30 am. Presentation by Leonard Adkins on Leave No Trace Ethics, volunteerism, and what you can do for the Trail. Program wrap-up and picture slide show from the week.

11:00 am - Check out of Mountain Lake Hotel and departure.

   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Walk in the Woods


Author: Bill Bryson


Description: The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in Americamajestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If youre going to take a hike, its probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaing guide youll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the wayand a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).



Silent Spring


Author: Rachel Carson


Description: Rachel Carsons Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carsons passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.



The Appalachian Trail: A Visitor's Companion


Author: Leonard Atkins


Description: Everything you would ever want to know or would expect to encounter on the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail: A Visitor's Companion provides a quick overview of the history of the trail and a concise description of how the Appalachian Mountains came into being and why they look the way they do today. Individual chapters cover the trees, flowers, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians found along the trail. In easy to understand writing, Leonard provides bits of information on how a plant reproduces, where it lives, why it looks the way it does, etc. The chapters on mammals, birds and reptiles not only give an identification description of each animal, but also how it goes about its daily life and what signs to look for to see if it has been in the area recently.



Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains AND Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail


Author: Leonard Atkins


Description: From a practical standpoint, this book is a field identification guide to the flora of the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail--and an excellent one at that. But it is much more than a guidebook. It is a work of art and a feast for the eyes. Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail is designed with grace and elegance and filled with exquisite, full-page color photographs. It is rare to find a guidebook where every photograph is perfect, but this is one. If youre traveling or hiking the Appalachian country, this is one book you dont want to be without. --National Outdoor Book Award





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