A year ago Larry led a trip down to Crabtree Falls in George Washington National Forest, with the plan of doing the Shoe Creek trail and then hitting the Walton’s Museum. However, the trail ride went a little long and so the museum was closed by the time they got there. Not one to give up Larry again hosted a trip down there again, determined this time to make it to the museum! Along for this trip were the following folks.
- Kevin Barnes and family, Land Rover Discovery, Members
- Larry and Berna Pope, Jeep JK, Members
- Robert Rixham and Fred Granruth, Toyota 4Runner, Members
- Andrew and Cherie Taylor, Nissan Xterra, Members
- Bob Weaver, Jeep TJ Rubicon, Member
Saturday morning Larry led a small convoy down from Gainesville, VA to the Crabtree Falls Campground. It’s a great little campground on VA-56 with the option of getting a spot right along the Tye River. Getting to the campground around lunchtime, everyone had a bite to eat and then set up up camp. Most of the group got sites beside each other along the water, which was nice as it turned into a group site essentially! Once ready, Larry led a small group to the trailhead for the Crabtree Falls hike just a few miles up the road. To get to the hike trailhead, simply turn left and head east 3.4 miles from Crabtree Falls Campground, then turn left onto Meadows Lane and go south approximately 3.8 miles down a dirt windy road. You’ll arrive at the parking lot and trailhead, about a 17 minute drive from the campground.
By the time the group got back to camp Cherie and I had arrived and set up camp. We arrived late because we were visiting her folks in Charlottesville. Saturday night was a relaxing one, and for those of us new to the campground we learned why everyone liked it so much, as it’s nice and quiet and quaint, but still has the amenities of home not too far away! Gigi purchased some Mystical Fire packets in the campground store for the kids and the colorful campfire that followed kept everyone thoroughly entertained until we were all too exhausted to watch! We turned in around 11pm.
In the morning we all got up, ate breakfast, and packed. With the goal of making it to the Walton’s museum by 3pm we had little time to waste dragging our feet in camp that morning. Bob was staying at a local hotel (his camper was too big for the campground) and he pulled into the campground parking lot in his Jeep just as we all lined up to leave. Also making the day exciting was Kevin’s newly set up M416 military trailer complete with rooftop tent, that was attached to the Discovery and ready to go on the trail ride with us!
Off we headed for the north end of the Shoe Creek Trail. The trail begins at the parking lot for the Crabtree Falls hiking trail, just continue on Meadows Lane, and the “road” becomes Shoe Creek Trail. The trail is a great one, a hidden gem in the George Washington National Forest. Although technically stocker friendly, there is a section in the middle that would take a skilled driver and/or skilled spotter to get some stock rigs through. Luckily we had all experienced drivers this day and just had a nice casual trip along the trail. Something else we found were several campsites along the trail, something we’ll have to keep in mind for future trips if we’re looking for a more remote campsite!
The trail is named Shoe Creek Trail after the creek that is parallels, and crosses, several times over its length. Water crossings are always fun, and the rounded rocks in the creek are very picturesque, with many of them covered in thick green moss! We also crossed the Appalachian Trail, not far south of the Crabtree Falls hike. The Appalachian trail crosses Shoe Creek trail at the top of a long hill, where they have placed small boulders on both sides of the road. Something else to get out and walk sometime we’re back.
To get us ready for the Walton’s museum Larry and had prepared a list of trivia questions for us to try and answer during the trail ride. As we rode along he asked over the CB and we answered. Unfortunately we found that the participants of the trip did not know the show quite as well as some of us thought. Unfortunately Cherie, our resident expert in all things Walton, hadn’t slept in 36 hours because of work and her brain wasn’t quite up to recalling trivia answers. When we stopped for lunch at the 2nd “playground” we finished the trivia. It was a fun and unique addition to the trip, even if we didn’t know all the answers! Cherie won by default, and Larry presented her with the grand prize – a can of SPAM! (thanks…??)
Just after lunch we got to the southern end of the trail, about 4 miles (and 3+ hours) from where we’d started. We pulled over at a wide spot along Perkin’s Mill Road to let everyone air up. From there it was about a 50 minute drive to the Walton’s Mountain Museum in Schuyler, VA. We got there in time and all got to go in and see all the interesting artifacts and memorabilia from the show, a very cool visit for fans of the movie’s and show. Afterwards, with our expedition over, we shook hands and parted ways in the parking lot. Everyone already looking forward to the next time we got to come back and visit Crabtree Falls Campground and the Shoe Creek Trail!
Trail report written by Andrew Taylor. Pictures courtesy of Kevin Barnes and Andrew Taylor.