The Northern Virginia Hiking Club (approximately 650 members) typically offers several hikes of different levels each weekend. Day hike destinations include Shenandoah National Park, George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, and various other national, state and regional parks located around the DC metropolitan area, e.g. DC, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Special activities may involve farther destinations.
The members are a diverse group: men, women, teenagers, senior citizens, outdoor enthusiasts, those interested in a work-out, and people who want to enjoy a relaxing stroll in the park in company of others. The members pay an annual fee of $5 per person, or $8 per family. Guests are welcome on most Club outings. Guests pay a fee of $2 for the event.
Meeting Places And Times
Most hikes meet at well-known parking lots in Northern Virginia, such as Commuter Lots in Manassas, Centreville and Woodbridge, Vienna and East Falls Church Metro Stations and the Sterling W&OD Bike Trail Parking Lot. The meeting times are usually 8 or 9 a.m., depending on the hike and the leader. It is hard to predict how long the hikes last. Easy, close-by ones may end by 3 or 4 p.m., while the longer and more distant hikes may take much longer.
How Do I Participate In a Hike?
The Northern Virginia Hiking Club does not require any advanced reservations to participate in a hike. All that is required is that you show up at the designated meeting place, preferably 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled meeting time. Members can hike for free, guests are required to pay the $2.00 fee or can become a member at the meeting place. If you have questions about a hike, feel free to call the hike leader in advance.
Hikers should call the leader before going to the meeting place when conditions are questionable. The leader may cancel or modify the hike if weather, trail or driving conditions are dangerous. If the hike is canceled, the leader may not be at the meeting location.
Participation of Children
Children under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Both the child and their parent or legal guardian must sign and acknowledge the liability disclaimer on the sign-in sheet. Please call the hike leader in advance to verify that the hike is appropriate for children.
Pets are welcome on NVHC hikes as long as they are well behaved and kept under control at all times. Dogs should be current on rabies vaccination, wear identification, and be kept on a standard 6-8 foot leash. Please contact the hike leader in advance if you intend to bring a pet because pets are not permitted on some trails. All pooper scooper laws must be obeyed. Remember to bring water for your pet.
Carpool fees reflected in the schedule are based on 8 cents/mile/person of the round trip mileage. This rate was established when gas was ~ $4/gallon. If gas prices change significantly we may adjust the carpool fee at the meeting location.
Voluntary carpools are formed to take the hikers to the trail heads. A suggested carpool fee (typically $5-15 or less) is recommended for each hike. Each passenger pays the driver the suggested carpool fee. The leader may suggest an adjustment to the carpool fee based on the price of gasoline. Everyone in the car shares the park entry fee (unless one of the passengers has an entry pass) when assessed by the car or pays his or her share when assessed individually.
Hikes vary from easy walks in the park to day-long treks up and down steep mountains. Hikes are rated to help you choose. The ratings are: D - Easy, C - Moderate, B - Moderately Difficult, and A - Difficult. Typically, the more difficult the hike the quicker the pace of the group. Information about the terrain, such as stream crossings or rock scrambles are usually included in hike descriptions.
To enjoy the hike, it is essential that you are well prepared. Preparation includes, among other things, that you are medically fit; that you have done other similar hikes in the past; that you have enough food and water; that you have proper footwear; and that you are dressed for possible adverse weather. The club does not assume responsibility for anyone's safety; all participants must sign a liability disclaimer.
Schedules And Information
NVHC publishes a schedule of hikes each quarter, starting in late December. For more information try the following sources:
The club’s web page
The Weekend section of the Washington Post (published every Friday)