Hikers of the Appalachian Trail may be surprised to find Waynesboro on their map twice—once in Virginia and once in Pennsylvania. Both are designated Appalachian Trail Communities (Waynesboro, PA shares its ATC designation with Washington Township and together they go by “Greater Waynesboro Area, PA”). Hikers visiting both locales can expect a warm welcome when they stop to resupply, and visitors taking a faster mode of transportation will be equally charmed by the small-town culture.
The 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail (A.T.) travels through 14 states on its course from Georgia to Maine. A thru-hike along the length of the A.T. challenges hikers both physically and mentally and is frequently described as “life-changing.” 540 miles of the A.T. wind through Virginia, more than through any other state, and hikers often refer to the infamous “Virginia Blues” – the feeling that they’re not making progress and the state will never end. Appalachian Trail Communities like Waynesboro, Virginia, know how important support and rejuvenation are to the weary hiker.
“We had a great trail magic moment on Mother’s Day when we were hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A local woman brought an amazing spread of sandwiches, pastries, chips, fresh fruit, and drinks to a place where the trail crossed the Parkway. She kept saying, ‘Call your mothers and let them know that there’s another mother out here taking care of you!’ It was so sweet.” ~ Staige Davis and Andrea Parra, thru-hikers
Waynesboro, VA has long been a destination for outdoor adventurers. Residents and visitors alike share an enthusiasm for the city’s unique access to the beauty and opportunities of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. One of those nearby natural treasures is the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.
Two Thousand Miles and the Adventure of a Lifetime
What began as a proposal in 1921 is now a federally-protected national scenic trail stretching 2,190 miles between Maine and Georgia and crossing 14 states. Those miles of trail are protected and managed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It can take 5-7 months to hike the entire A.T., and every year thousands attempt the physically and mentally strenuous journey. Only 1 in 4 will complete a “thru-hike,” but most will agree that time spent on the A.T. is a life-changing adventure. Continue reading “Waynesboro, VA: Good Trails Meet Good Nature in this Appalachian Trail Community”