East Coast spring break trip

4:52 p.m. on February 18, 2011 (EST)
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My friends and I are trying to organize a mid-march hiking trip somewhere on the east coast. we're trying to find semi-decent weather and somewhere with a large network of trails, where we could maybe set up a base camp and do day hikes out of it. we live in New Jersey and we figure we're going south in order to find warmer weather. I've been to the great smokey mountains before and really liked the park, but the 12 hour drive might be a bit much. does anyone know of any good national parks/forests north of there that would have managable mid-march weather?

Thanks!

5:07 p.m. on February 18, 2011 (EST)
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I think you might be out of luck.

Shenandoah is about the only place that comes to mind between NJ and the Smokies. Only problem is the parks campgrounds do not open until March 25th.

6:12 p.m. on February 18, 2011 (EST)
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I think you might be out of luck.

Shenandoah is about the only place that comes to mind between NJ and the Smokies. Only problem is the parks campgrounds do not open until March 25th.

 To be honest Big smoke has it correct. Shenandoah is only about 6-7 hour drive for you. Your looking about March which is perfect weather here In Virginia..The wildflowers are starting to bloom and nights are still cool...They have great trails and it's worth the trip to see the wildlife..They also have Black bears so I would call the park to get info on what they require for a Bear bag and where their required in the backcountry..Worth the trip..

8:32 p.m. on February 21, 2011 (EST)
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You can back-country in Shenandoah any time of year but your base camp idea might not work since the car camp sites don't open until the 25th.

No bear bags required but be bear aware. We see the blackies all the time and love to see them. We just tree bag it and have not had any problems. The black bears in Shenandoah are very timid but will be hungry in March and probably a little less shy about approaching a campsite for a free meal. Be sure to cook a good 100 ft from your campsite and make sure you get your food bags up high and away from the tree.

3:27 p.m. on February 26, 2011 (EST)
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I second the vote for Shenandoah/Sky Line drive area, as it's an area packed dense with great hikes.

 

You can hit up hikingupwards.com for a list of all the trails in VA.

11:21 a.m. on March 8, 2011 (EST)
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I'd also recommend treeing the clothes you cooked in with your food too

12:03 a.m. on March 27, 2011 (EDT)
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There are some good trails in Western Maryland.  Cotoctin State Park (site of Camp David) is a good choice.

Anywhere West of Frederick (MD) is going to be fine.  It's going to be cold, with wind; so bring adequate windblocking shells.

4:00 p.m. on May 6, 2011 (EDT)
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The dogs and I love Shenandoah.

July 31, 2014
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