A Foggy Hike On Little Devil’s Staircase

IMG_5235 (1)Yesterday, I took my son Jack and my nephew Jake (from Florida) on one of my favorite hikes: Little Devil’s Staircase. Located in Shenandoah National Park, it is a tough hike up a gorge with wonderful waterfalls and rock scrambles. It was raining when we arrived, which is not ideal due to the risk of slipping and the water pouring down the trail. However, the rain and misty conditions added to the size of the waterfalls and made the hike even more beautiful than usual.

The hike has my preferred profile: the hard part is at the beginning with a two mile steep ascent and then becomes an easy descent. You crossed the creek repeatedly and, with the high water, it was a tad precarious at points and we had to go off trail a couple times. You end up in the Bolen cemetery, a sad and slightly spooky spot in the fog surrounded by a hemlock forest (with old stones showing the high mortality rate among children and women in the 19th and early 20th centuries).

It was glorious and we did it in only three hours (due largely to the pace set by my two teenage companions). Here are a few pictures:


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8 thoughts on “A Foggy Hike On Little Devil’s Staircase”

  1. Nick, I got mine. We recently spent 10 days in Wyoming(Cody and Yellowstone). Our 2nd trip out there, can’t wait to go back,

  2. Professor T,
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful images. Jack’s neon strip on his shorts reminds me of the old National Geo days when scenics with people in them, usually for the covers, were done with the subject wearing a red hat to discriminate that person from the environment and to help express the sense of scale.
    Thanks again for sharing.

  3. When you’re 62 years old you can get a lifetime National Parks Pass for $10. Tough to find a better deal than that.

  4. A couple of military-service buddies and I did a non-overnight canoe trip down the Shenandoah many years ago. A beautiful place.

  5. Very cool photos! Going to make a trip down there for a fall hike. Amen Bob, where would we be without our national parks? Thanks for the story Jerry!

  6. I did a 2 day camp & hike in Shenandoah during winter. Bitter cold & very spooky.

    The spookiest camping & hiking I ever did was Doodletown in NY. A ghost town.

    Back round:

    The settlement was a crossroads for soldiers during the Revolutionary War during battles at Bear Mountain’s Fort Montgomery when many hundreds of British soldiers marched through the tiny settlement prior to a bloody and significant battle with colonists. The Doodletown Road was used by troops accompanying Mad Anthony Wayne on his successful attack on Stony Point.

    In the 1890s, Thomas Edison bought a defunct iron mine in Doodletown to test his proposed technique for an improved method of refining ore. Nothing came of his project, although several iron mines had been successfully developed and abandoned in the neighborhood at a much earlier date.

    Ghosts: All trails are marked red & compass/maps useless due to iron ore. The compass needle spins.

    Made camp the 1st night in some kind of house foundation. Turns out to be house of a West Point Commandant who would ride horse to work at West Point Military Academy.
    Woke up early. Very fogy & swear I saw a horse on trail traveling north. There were even horse shoe prints in mud on trail, but no sound.

  7. National Parks. Certainly one of the greatest things this country has done.

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