Appalachian Trail Town Spotlight: Waynesboro, VA
Featured Image Photo Via Hannah Comer (Instagram: @hmabryy)
The Trail Town Spotlight series continues with Waynesboro, Virginia! This very hiker-friendly town sits off of Mile 862 going northbound, at the south doorstep to Shenandoah National Park.
Approximate NOBO mileages:
785: Glasgow, VA
806: Buena Vista, VA
862: Waynesboro, VA
969: Front Royal, VA
1,023: Harpers Ferry, WV
Waynesboro is about four miles off the AT and is an essential resupply point before entering Shenandoah. Look for a trail angel list when you get to Rockfish Gap. These kind people will pick you up and drop you off in town (the first of many signs of Waynesboro being friendly to hikers). A good drop-off point is Ming Garden Buffet (more on this food-topia in a bit).
Many hikers spend at least a night or even a zero day here. Food, lodging, and supplies overflow in abundance. So head into town, fill your stomach at Ming’s, do a resupply at the Kroger grocery store, and then head over to whatever place you choose to stay and kick your feet up.
Places to stay
The most popular hiker lodging in town is probably the pet-friendly Quality Inn with its hiker rates and free breakfast in the morning (but no laundry machines). The Waynesboro YMCA generously offers free camping and showers to hikers. Stanimal’s 328 Hostel is hiker-run and has everything, including laundry and pick-up/return to the trail, but is a bit northwest of town. His location is easy walking distance from another Kroger and Dunkin’ Donuts though. He offers a variety of slack packing.
Rockfish Gap Outfitters is top notch and located between town and Rockfish Gap. Rocking R Ace Hardware is right next to the Quality Inn and I personally had an excellent experience there when I stopped in. The Kroger in Waynesboro is among the best of all grocery stores along the AT. You may not need to resupply as much as you normally would if you stop at waypoints along the trail through Shenandoah. After resupplying at Kroger, it’s an easy walk to the Quality Inn or the YMCA.
Whisperings of Ming Garden Buffet begin as soon as you get on the Appalachian Trail. Hikers like a good Chinese buffet restaurant, and this is widely regarded as the best one on the AT (by far). It’s basically a requirement that you go here when you are in Waynesboro.
Aside from Ming’s, Waynesboro has a true downtown with local options like Green Leaf Grill, Stella, Bella, and Lucy’s, and Heritage on Main. This is in addition to every kind of fast food there is. The Quality Inn is a short walk to all these options.
Things to do
You could easily walk from place to place in Waynesboro, resupplying and eating yourself silly. After you get enough of that though, check out the Zeus Movie Theater. The residents of Waynesboro are very friendly and stop quickly hitchhiking hikers. The movie theater’s owner gave us a ride back to Waynesboro as soon as he found out we might need a ride.
The people of Waynesboro have created a great experience for hikers. This town is a treasure along the AT.
I only covered a fraction of what Waynesboro has to offer. For a more comprehensive listing, click here.
Previous Appalachian Trail Town Spotlights:
Mile 543: Atkins, VA
Mile 1651: Manchester Center, VT
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