Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Blue Ridge Parkway - Apple Orchard Falls Trail

These are scenes from a family hike taken on July 2 on the Apple Orchard Falls Trail just north of the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.

The Apple Orchard Falls Trail can be found at the Sunset Fields Overlook at Mile Post 79 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trail is a moderately steep downhill hike for approximately 1.4 miles to the falls. The hiker will then have to retrace their steps up hill to return to their car. You should allow at least 2 hours for a leisurely hike. Several other trails can be accessed from this area including the Appalachian Trail.
The area is a beautiful mixture of habitats and abundant in deer, bear, and turkey. As you progress down slope you will detect a thickening of vegetation and increase in humidity as the springs along the mountain side feed into a drainage producing the stream leading you to the falls.
The trail head is on National Park Service land, but the hiker will spend most of this hike on lands managed by the US Forest Service as part of the George Washington/Jefferson National Forests.

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