Trips & Trails: Union Springs

Photo By: Rick Stowe

Just north of Harrisonburg, Virginia you’ll find a section of George Washington National Forest with an incredible density of trails. This area really has something for every adventurer with great options for trail difficulty, camping, and other activities, all within relatively close proximity to each other. 

If you’re looking to explore the area around Flagpole Knob, the Union Springs trail is a great option. This moderately difficult trail stretches for 11 miles and tops out at just over 4,200-feet. It’s a relatively thin track that rarely offers opportunities to pass with dense foliage along both sides. There are also several creek crossings and mud holes that vary in depth based on recent rains. 

While the lower elevations of Union Springs are an easy forest road, don’t be surprised when you find rocky sections with drop-offs up to 18-inches tall as the trail climbs the mountain. There are several opportunities for dispersed camping along the route where it intersects with Dunkle Hollow.

READ MORE: The Value of the Overland Experience Pass at Overland Expo

If you’re looking for some tamer options, you can also access the same area through Reddish Knob to the southwest of Union Springs. Regardless of where you choose to explore in this section of the National Forest, you’ll have access to hundreds of miles of roads and trails, with everything from sweeping vistas to deep mountain hollows along the way. And if by some chance you decide you’ve explored enough in this area, you can take a couple of hours to head north into West Virginia or south to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Best of all, Arrington, VA, the home of Overland Expo East, is only this is only 90 minutes from here. You can easily spend some time exploring George Washington National Forest before or after the event.

What to Know:

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Distance: 11 miles
  • Fuel: Gas is available in Brandywine or Harrisonburg, Virginia. 
  • Highest elevation: 4,206 feet
  • Water: Water is available at natural sources throughout the route with proper filtration. 
  • Camping: Camping is available at dispersed sites near the south end of the route. Please practice Leave No Trace Ethics and check for required permits and fees. 

Photo by Brett Willhelm

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