Sunday, July 17, 2011

Onemile Run Trail: July 11, 2011

If Shenandoah National Park had data on the relative popularity of every trail in each of its three districts, I bet the Onemile Run Trail would be one of the least hiked trails in the Southern District.  There are probably other trails that see fewer hikers, such as the Lewis Peak Trail, but unlike Lewis, the Onemile Run Trail starts at the Skyline Drive.
Elevation profile of Onemile Run Trail hike.
I hiked the Onemile Run Trail with my friend Marit and the dog on a warm, muggy July morning.  Projected high temperature in Charlottesville was 98 degrees.  Both of us had to work that afternoon.  Later in the week was projected to be much cooler, but you can't always choose the day you can hike.

We got to the Twomile overlook on the Skyline Drive and headed off on the trail by 8:10 AM.  There was a wonderful breeze blowing on the Drive, but we knew it would end quickly!  It was a short walk along the drive to the trailhead, then a steep drop.  We started at 2812 feet and dropped to 1800 feet over just over a mile.  First, the trail drops along a ridge, then it cuts sharply left at a point where topo maps show another trail continuing straight to the top of Twomile ridge.  None of the trail maps show this, however.  After the steep drop, we kept dropping more gradually, as we dropped off a ridge to the Onemile Run stream at 1.3 miles.  This point is very visible on the elevation profile.
Hiking along Onemile Run

Reaching Onemile Run means that the stream crossings start.  One account of this hike I read stated that there are twelve crossings each way, but I didn't keep count.  From my perspective, the stream crossings ere great - they gave the dog an opportunity to keep hydrated.  We made sure to stop at each crossing to see if the dog would drink from the stream.

At about the 3 mile mark, the trail strays away from Onemile Run and heads toward the SNP boundary.  We only hiked as far as the boundary, even though the trail looks like it keeps going.  Unfortunately, the PATC map and the ATC Shenandoah Guide both discourage proceeding, even though I've read accounts online of hikers continuing to Twomile Run, then hiking back into the park on the Twomile Run stream bed.  After reaching the boundary, we turned around and retraced our steps.

Because we were down in the valley for the entire hike, there weren't any views to speak of.  Neither were there any waterfalls along the trail.  For this reason, I'd rate this hike below most others in the southern district of the park.  It is a great workout, though, especially since all of the climbing is at the end of the hike.
View of Onemile Run Valley from the parking lot at the beginning of the hike.

Hike Details: Onemile Run    
July 11, 2011
PATC Difficulty Factor 154.7
Total Altitude Gain 1617 feet
Total Distance 7.4 miles
Lowest point 1379 feet above sea level
Highest Point 2815 feet above sea level
Time:   3 hours, 52 minutes

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