Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: 50 Hikes in Southern Virginia: From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean
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on September 9, 2002
The local Roanoke paper poublished a review of this book, calling Leonard a "Great Hiking Writer." I agree. Yes, he tells you how to get to a hike, how difficult and long it is (he walked all of them with a surveyor's measuring wheel; how many other guidebook writer's do that!), and how much vertical rise you will need to negotiate. But, he also informs you of the history of the area you will be walking through and of the lives of the plants and animals that make their homes there.
I thought I was well-versed on the places to hike--and he covers those--but he also pointed me to some places I had never heard of. All in all, it beats any other book I've used for hiking around the southern part of the state. There are hikes as short as a half-mile to multi-day treks. And there's even a bit of humor thrown in from time to time.
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on May 16, 2012
Written as a companion to "50 Hikes in Northern Virginia" by the same author, this guide indeed describes 50 hikes ranging geographically from Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in the west to False Bay State Park in the east. In this author's reckoning, southern Virginia more or less means south of US 60.

All of the major hiking destinations in this region are given ample treatment, including Dismal Swamp, Mount Rogers, the Appalachian Trail, and of course the national forests. Hikes range in difficulty from a 1 mile boardwalk in Dismal Swamp to a 35.9 mile multi-day backpack to some of Virginia's highest summits. The trail descriptions are informative and detailed without being too technical, and each hike contains a map copied from a USGS topo map. Thus, the hiking information contained in this guide is second to none.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a couple of other areas. First, while the author does provide nice driving directions to the trailhead, they are not set apart from the rest of the trail description. Hence, you will need to either mark them off yourself or have a very good idea as to where you are going before you set out for the trailhead. Second, of the 50 hikes described in this guide, 17 of them are 9 miles or more in length, making them too long for a comfortable day hike. I appreciate the inclusion of backpack treks, but with so many such hikes, the guide would be more usable by dayhikers if the author would suggest some shorter options to the multi-day journeys. Of course, dayhikers could find these options themselves, but that defeats the purpose of buying a hiking guide.

In sum, I can't give this guide 5 stars for the reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't own it. Combining this guide with the Northern Virginia companion makes for the best available guide to Virginia hiking. I would buy either of these guides (let alone both) over the comparable Falcon guide.
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on January 6, 2015
I was pretty excited about the concept of this guide, but without any color pictures, and relatively little photography, it is hard to get a feel for the hikes. I like the page that has all the hikes numbered on the same map so you can compare where they are relative to each other.
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on August 28, 2005
If only this book was laid out like Hiking In VA. The maps are not as good, and there are no elevation profiles, but the hikes and their descriptions are wonderful..

I have utilized this book with the Hiking VA book to come up with some exceptional hikes.. I recommend the triple crown hike #33, But do Dragon's Tooth as a day hike. Park on 624 and do the 5 mile round trip. If you have 2 cars, park the other one on 220 (near Roanoke). After doing Dragon's Tooth, grab your backpack and head North on the AT, to get to 220.. Plan a good 2-3 days.

Other great hikes are the day hike to Buzzard Rock, as well as the hikes around Mount Rogers. Combine the info in this book with that in Hiking VA and create your own trip. But whatever you do, you have to hike the Pine Mountain trail.. It is awesome..

The Appomattox hike is also great as you see some things the everyday visitor misses..

Over all an exellent book. The hikes are super, and while the maps could be slightly improved it is still a great guide.
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on June 1, 2004
I live in Southern Virginia and hike often, but have to admit I never knew about many of the places the author writes about. I wish I had had this book years ago as it's great being able to discover all of these new places. I also like the way he writes. Hike descriptions are easy to follow and there is a ton of information on what you are going to see, why you should go there, and sometimes almost poetic phrases about the beauty and natural world of the place. The book cover says the author has won several writing awards and it's easy to see why. This is not just a dull "turn left, ascend 300-feet, turn right" kind of guidebook. I look forward to many happy outings using the book.
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on April 1, 2012
This book has great trails for hiking around Richmond and good descriptions for navigating the trails. I definitely would recommend this book.
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on April 21, 2013
I bought this as a gift for a dedicated hiker and the recipient was delighted with it. It is concise but contains lots of good information.
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on January 10, 2014
Got the book on time. It was in super good condition like it said. Excited to read it and try hikes.
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on December 24, 2015
Found a lot of great routes in this one
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on February 1, 2016
Good
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