Gathland State Park was once the mountain home of George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist. In the late 1800's, Gathland featured a unique collection of buildings and structures designed and constructed by Townsend. Two of the structures, the Main Hall and Lodge, were partially restored in the 1950's. A large stone monument dedicated to the memory of Civil War correspondents is the outstanding attraction of this day-use park. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail traverses the park and passes the monument base.

The low rating refers to the inept description by all trails, rather than the trail itself. it is a lovely trail with a challenging but rewarding uphill hike and a view that is hard to beat. The map from all trails on the other hand, is complete garbage in this case. For starters, this trail is not a loop. again, THIS IS NOT A LOOP. Going straight up a trail, going around a group of trees, and coming back on the exact route one which one came in, is not a loop. also, according to the map, the trail starts in the middle of a road. infact, at a 4 way intersection. I spent literally a half hour looking for the trailhead and realizing that this is not a stand-alone trail, but a section of the Appalachian Trail. On a normal day, this would not bother me, except that a point to point was not what I planned for. Furious with all trails. The trail itself was lovely.

Ed Garvey shelter can be very crowded. Steep 0.5 mile descend to get to water source

6 months ago

Although I've never hiked this as a single 10 mile loop, this area is one of my favorite local places to hike. The climb up Lamb's Knoll is a good workout and most days you are rewarded with a nice view of the valley, the ridgeline, and hawks soaring on the thermals. A loop trail to a locked cabin provides a nice training hike if you're planning a trip on a more rugged section of the AT. Don't miss the Civil War exhibit across the road from the trailhead on Reno Monument Road, or the ruins at Gathland State Park if you use that trailhead.