January 1st wasa beautiful day for the 'First Day Hike' at Friends made sure all theguests felt welcome and gave them lots of information about the park and everything it has to offer.
'First Day' hikers gather at the Bear Bottom Loop Trailhead
Although it started sprinkling rightbeforethe hike began, it stopped after only a few minutes. It seemedas ifMother Naturewas supporting our efforts to fulfill those new year resolutions.The sun came back outas we starteddown the trailto do our 2 mile hike through the woods. Everyone was having so much fun, that some of the kids even complained when we turned back; they wanted to keep going!In fact, some of the hikers opted to check out other trails afterthe hike ended.
Afterwards, everyoneheaded down to the visitor center to socialize and enjoy some hot chocolate, fruit and cookies, provided the Friends group president and his wife Jinny, currently hold the recordfor the most miles hikedin 2011. They logged a whopping 462.85 miles in the park! We'll have to see if anyone can beat this record in 2012!
LOCATION: The park is in Warren County, eight miles south of Front Royal and 15 miles north of Luray. It's off Rt. 340 in Bentonville.
- From Northern Virginia, take I-66 West to exit 13 (Linden). Turn left off the ramp. Go one block to a stoplight where you'll take a right onto Rt. 55 West. At the fifth stoplight, turn left onto 340 South. Drive eight miles; the park's entrance is on the right.
- From I-81 South, take exit 300 onto I-66 East. From I-66, take exit 6. Turn right off the ramp onto 340 South. Follow 340 South through Front Royal, then drive eight miles to the park's entrance on the right.
- From I-81 North, take exit 264 to New Market and Luray. Turn right off the ramp. Turn left at the second stoplight, go one block to another stoplight and turn right onto 211 East. Stay on this highway for 15 miles, where you'll take a right exit onto 340 North. Drive about 12 miles to the park's entrance on the left.
- Drive Times: Northern Virginia, two and a half hours; Richmond, two and a half hours; Tidewater/Virginia Beach, four hours; Roanoke, two and a half hours
Click here for a Google Map. Latitude, 38.854777. Longitude, -78.306552.