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They’re the telltale signs that autumn is in full swing: plunging temperatures, falling leaves, and vanishing daylight. But the peak of the fall season is also the perfect time for many outdoor getaways. We get weekend tips for autumn adventures — from “leaf peaking” and foliage tours to fishing excursions and Halloween-themed fun.
- Candy Thomson Reporter, The Baltimore Sun
- King Montgomery Outdoor and Travel Writer and photographer
- Michelle Scheele Publicity Director, Capital Hiking Club
Hikes / Parks / “Hidden Gems” Mentioned on the Show
- The Patuxent Branch Trail (Howard County, MD) Five miles. Starts at Savage Park and ends at Lake Elkhorn. It’s a rail trail. Recommended by Candy Thomson.
- The Gold Mine Loop Trail off the C&O Canal. A little over three miles. No bikes. Start and end at the Great Falls Visitor Center. Recommended by Candy Thomson
- Cross Island Trail (Centreville MD) Just over the Bay Bridge. 5 miles. Asphalt surface. Great views of Chesapeake Bay inlets and wetlands. Recommended by Candy Thomson.
- Weverton Cliffs an Appalachian Trail hike to the Potomac River/Harper’s Ferry overlook. As a 12-mile out-and-back hike, park at Gathland State Park off Route 67 and follow the white blazes for six miles. Pick up the blue blazes to the Weverton Cliffs spur trail. To cut the hike in half, make it a shuttle with one car at Gathland and the other on Weverton Road under the cliffs. Or for a shorter hike, park on Weverton Road off Route 67 and take the AT from the south end of the parking lot to the top. It’s steep, with about a dozen switchbacks. Recommended by Candy Thomson.
- Huntley Meadows State Park (Alexandria, VA) Recommended by King Montgomery.
- Washington Monument State Park (Boonsboro, MD) Recommended by Michelle Scheele.
- Gambrill State Park (Thurmont, Md) Recommended by Michelle Scheele.
- Michaux State Forest (East Fayetteville, PA) Recommended by Michelle Scheele.
- Hawk Mountain (Kempton, PA) A private reserve, home to thousands of migratory raptors. Recommended by Candy Thomson.
- Patapsco Valley State Park (Ellicott City, MD)
- Mason Neck State Park / Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge (Woodbridge, VA)
Great Hiking without Driving
Capitol Hiking club is also running a “Moonlight Hike” along the C&O Canal on Friday, October 30th at 8:30pm
Finding the best Fall Foliage
Trail Voice has a useful collection of resources for “leaf peepers” and outdoor enthusiasts.
If you’re a first-timer or a seasoned angler, Candy Thomson and King Montgomery recommend checking out the Potomac-Patuxent Chapter of Trout Unlimited. They both highly recommend checking out Gunpowder Falls State Park. King recommends Backwater Angler in Monkton, MD.
Hiking with Dogs
In a previous “Wilderness in Washington” show, Candy and Paul Elliot discussed dog-friendly hiking. A listener recommended K9 Trailblazers, “a dog hiking club … dedicated to encouraging responsible hiking with your canine companion”.
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