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From the Field — East

Let our field scouts' beta fuel your next adventure from the wildlife-rich Sky Meadows State Park Loop, to thickets of mountain laurel in Georgia, and more.

James E. Edmonds Trail, Black Rock Mountain SP, GA
Meander through thickets of mountain laurel—blooming in late May—on this 7.2-mile loop to 180-degree summit views. Watch for turkey, deer, and grouse en route to 3,162-foot Lookoff Mountain at mile 3.5, scoring views to the Smokies across the Wolffork Valley. Option: Camp just 100 yards from the overlook at Lookoff Mountain site 2 ($9/person/night). Near mile 5, descend to the shoreline of placid Black Rock Lake; circle it on a 1-mile spur for catfish and trout fishing, or keep straight to close the loop. Trip ID 40830

“On a clear day, you can see all the way into Tennessee and to Asheville, 70 miles away.”

Trail Scout: Joey Thornton Mountain City, GA

Sky Meadows State Park Loop, Sky Meadows SP, VA
Trace wildlife-rich ridges and meadows on this 4.7-mile loop an hour west of D.C. Nab the best views .5 mile from the trailhead, overlooking the rolling hills and historic buildings of a 19th-century farming valley. Ascend 600 feet along a hardwood-forested ridge. (In late spring, watch for ruffed grouse.) At mile 3, scan the trailside pastures for the park’s 60 butterfly varieties, including swallowtails and monarchs. En route to the trailhead, take a side-trip onto the 1-mile, wildflower-lined Snowden loop. Trip ID 5681

“You can frequently hear coyotes calling near dusk.”

Trail Scout: Erin Brockmann Winchester, VA 

Appalachian Trail, Tyringham Road to I-90, MA
Follow this section of the AT for a 14-mile overnighter near the banks of a pristine glacial pond. Near mile 2.5, look for beaver activity in Knee Deep Pond; continue 2 miles to cross a wooden bridge over a swampy area frequented by moose. A .5-mile spur at mile 7 leads to campsites overlooking tree-lined Upper Goose Pond. Return the way you came. Trip ID 47444

“In May, you’ll find fewer crowds and bugs—plus spring’s ephemeral flowers, like delicate trout lilies.”

Trail Scout: Jim Pelletier Pittsfield, MA

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