Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace, a term that resonates through the world of outdoor adventurers, is a conservation ethic that encourages all of us to minimize our impacts on the natural world when participating in outdoor activities. The Leave No Trace principles serve as a guide to promote responsible outdoor recreation, intending to safeguard our natural spaces for future generations.

Understanding and embracing the principles of Leave No Trace is not only about conservation, but it’s also about respect — respect for nature, wildlife, and fellow outdoor enthusiasts. To help you explore with integrity, we’ll delve into the seven principles of Leave No Trace.

1: Plan Ahead and Prepare

Planning ahead is vital to limit your impact on nature. Learn about the area you’re visiting before setting off. Understand its regulations. Be ready for extreme weather and emergencies. Effective planning ensures a safe journey. It also protects natural resources.

2: Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Always stick to established trails and campsites. Camp 200 feet away from lakes and rivers to protect them. Off-trail? Choose durable surfaces like rocks or gravel. Avoid vegetation or muddy terrain.

3: Dispose of Waste Properly

“Pack it in, pack it out” is a simple, powerful concept. All trash and litter should leave with you. Use designated areas for human waste. If none exist, dig a small hole 200 feet away from water sources.

4: Leave What You Find

Preserve the joy of discovery for others. Don’t pick flowers or move rocks. Don’t disturb historical or cultural artifacts. Leave the environment as you found it.

5: Minimize Campfire Impact

Campfires can cause lasting impacts. If you need a fire, use established fire rings. Keep fires small. Only burn sticks that can be broken by hand. Always make sure the fire is completely out before you leave.

6: Respect Wildlife

Wildlife watching can be thrilling. But remember, we’re guests in their home. Observe from a distance. Never feed them. Feeding wildlife hurts their health and alters their behaviors.

7: Be Considerate of Other Visitors

We share the outdoors with others. Respect this by keeping noise levels down. Yield to other hikers on the trail. Treat others with courtesy and respect.

By embracing these principles, we protect our natural environments. We ensure that future explorers can enjoy vibrant, living landscapes. So venture with care and consideration. Through our actions, we preserve the integrity of our wild spaces. We also inspire others to do the same.

It’s all about outdoor adventures that leave no mark.

Appalachian Trail Festival in The Gap 2023

Appalachian Trail Festival in The Gap 2023

We’re thrilled to announce the Appalachian Trail Festival’s return. It’s back, and it’s better!

Why Celebrate the A.T.?

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,190-mile footpath, spanning over 14 states. We in Western Loudoun are fortunate. We have this breathtaking beauty right in our backyard.

In 2019, we celebrated a special event. It was Round Hill’s official recognition as an A.T. Community. Today, we have more exciting news. We’re bringing the festival back in 2023. But this time, we’re growing and collaborating with Hillsboro.

Festival Details

We’re teaming up with Hillsboro, another A.T. Community. Together, we will host the festival at a new venue. The Gap Stage and Old Stone School in Hillsboro, VA, will be our location.

So, clear your schedules on June 10th. Join us in celebrating the Great Outdoors and the A.T. in its entirety.

Activities for the Entire Family

The festival this year is bigger and better. It’s packed with activities, performances, exhibitions, and enlightening talks. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect on Saturday, June 10th:

Festival Opening

The festival kicks off at 10:45 a.m. on The Gap Stage. Here, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy will recognize Hillsboro as an A.T. Community.

Festival Grounds Activities

From 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., there will be plenty to do and see. Enjoy a variety of food, music, and trail talks. You can also engage with local hiking and environmental groups.

Art Exhibition

There will be a ‘Wild Beauty’ exhibition at the Old Stone School auditorium. The art show will feature seven artists inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Raffle Tent

Drop by our raffle tent for a chance to win exciting prizes. Buy a T-shirt or raffle tickets to support the festival.

Children’s Activities

Kids can enjoy fun-filled activities from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They can indulge in nature crafts, pony rides, and more.

Live Performances and Hiking Talks

Enjoy live music performances by popular bands. Listen to tales from seasoned hikers. Learn about yoga for hikers and explore nature printing. Get gourmet camp stove cooking tips too.

After Party

Don’t forget the after-party from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Enjoy more music, food, drinks, and fun times.

So, whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or someone looking for a fun, community event, the festival is the place to be. Come and join us in celebrating the Appalachian Trail and the Great Outdoors!

For more information, check out the festival website.

See you there!

Nature Inspires: 6th Annual Appalachian Trail Art Show

Nature Inspires: 6th Annual Appalachian Trail Art Show

Are you looking for inspiration? Perhaps you’ll find it in the artists of all ages who submitted their work to the 6th Annual Round Hill Appalachian Trail Art Show.

You might be wondering, why does Round Hill have an A.T. art show in the first place? Well, since Round Hill became an official A.T. Community, we’re committed to promoting and protecting the A.T. and all the other beautiful green spaces that surround our town. One way we do this is by helping people see the beauty of nature.

And let me tell you, the wealth of talent and creativity among our local artists is truly remarkable. They’ve captured the beauty of the A.T. and the wild nature all around us in their stunning works. Every year, the show keeps getting better, and we’re proud to showcase the amazing talent in our community.

You can see this year’s art show in person at the Round Hill Arts Center through March 12th, or you can view entries in the online gallery on our website. And if you’re feeling inspired, why not participate in our “People’s Choice” competition? Visit the Arts Center or go online to select up to five works that you think best capture the spirit of the Appalachian Trail and the beauties of nature. The winners will be displayed at the upcoming Round Hill/Hillsboro Appalachian Trail Festival on June 10th:

So what makes you want to “get outside”? Is it the feeling of the sun on your face, the smell of fresh pine, or the sound of a babbling brook? Whatever it may be, we hope the Round Hill A.T. Festival can help you connect with nature and find your inspiration.

Hike: Keyes Gap to David Lesser Shelter

Hike: Keyes Gap to David Lesser Shelter


6 Miles

Route Type

Out & Back




A simple walk in the woods along the Appalachian Trail starting from the Keyes Gap parking lot turning around point at the David Lesser shelter – an excellent example of an Appalachian Trail shelter used by thru-hikers walking from Georgia to Maine. It’s the perfect midway point to relax and eat your lunch, complete with a picnic table and swing. Just downhill from the shelter is a stream where you can collect water (filtration recommended).

A little local history on Keyes Gap from Wikipedia:

Keyes Gap or Keyes’ Gap is a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountain on the border of Loudoun County, Virginia and Jefferson County, West Virginia. The gap is traversed by Virginia State Route 9/West Virginia Route 9. The Appalachian Trail also crosses the gap.


Originally known as Vestal’s Gap, the 906 feet (276 m) gap is one of the lowest crossings of the Blue Ridge in Virginia. During the colonial period the main road between Alexandria and Winchester ran through the gap. As such, part of General Edward Braddock’s army under George Washington crossed through the gap on their way to Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War.


By 1820, the main route west became the newly completed Snickers Gap Turnpike which crossed the Blue Ridge to the south at Snickers Gap, and Keyes Gap lost its prominence. Despite this, Keyes Gap was still of strategic importance during the American Civil War, as it provided an alternate “back route” from Virginia to the key point of Harpers Ferry.



Coming from Round Hill, on the right side (north) of Route 9 right at the WV / VA border. Parking spaces are limited, so carpool when possible.