For the past decade, Chris Scott has been leading trips in Harrisonburg’s backcountry backyard—the George Washington National Forest—through his outfitter Shenandoah Mountain Touring (mtntouring.com). Scott was willing to share some of his hometown’s sweetest outdoor escapes.
Quick Fix Day Hike
Hike into Shenandoah National Park from Port Republic and head up Austin Mountain. If you have time, you can connect the Appalachian Trail to Furnace Mountain and make a very nice loop. You’ll catch great vistas over Madison Run and the Shenandoah Valley.
From Elliott’s Knob you can see clear down to Whetstone Ridge and almost the full length of Shenandoah Mountain to the west.
Shenandoah Mountain Trail’s solitude is worth the effort if you have a full day; for a shorter jaunt, Trimble Mountain Trail’s contoured singletrack is divine.
Best Backcountry Camping
Bicycle camping along Virginia’s portion of the Great Eastern Trail is an amazing experience. For streamside car camping, head to the Cowpasture River. To hike in and leave it all behind, Bald Ridge in Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness Area is ghostly quiet.
The rowdy crew heads for the Tye River when it is running, while the views from the North River from Staunton Dam are well worth the shuttle.
Back in Harrisonburg, Jack Brown’s has that cool Breckenridge/Durango bar feel, while Clementine’s serves up more of Vail’s ambiance.
Fat Tires at the Nut
This month, Massanutten Resort hosts two of the best mountain bike races in the Blue Ridge. On May 1, fully padded riders will bomb down the resort’s ski slopes at the Yee-Ha! Downhill Race. At the Massanutten Hoo-Ha! (June 19-20), an international pro field will ride a rugged 40-mile cross-country course from the resort’s western slope. The 20-year-old race is the third event in this year’s U.S. Cup Triple Crown All Mountain Pro Series. massresort.com, Also check out http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=2540 for more information about Massanutten Resort