Blackwater Falls SP/Canaan Mountain Loop

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Description: This is a moderate 9.5 mile (8.3 if you don’t do the out/back to Lindy Point Overlook) hike using both park and MNF trails to form a loop. Of the total mileage only 1.3 miles of walking on CLR13 and the park road is required. The park trails are blazed with colored circles about every 20 yards, the MNF trails use sporadic blue plastic diamonds and the Allegheny/Davis Trail uses both blue diamonds and painted yellow rectangles as blazes. All but two stream crossing are over bridges.


The hike features a few modest climbs at the upper reaches of the Allegheny/Davis Trail and another one or two on the Plantation Trail, but nothing of serious consequence. The trek abounds in pretty streams, mature Red Spruce and Hemlocks, peat bogs and Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel thickets.


Follow signs to the Lodge. Start there. Optional starting points are at the Stable

which you passed on the left on your way in and the Lindy Point Overlook parking

area shown on the map

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Printable/Downloadable Map

Printable/Downloadable Map

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Trail Notes: From the lodge parking lot walk out to the sign at its main entrance. Across the road find a sign for Yellow Birch Trail (yellow blazes). Follow it for 0.7 miles to its intersection with the stable drive. The official route of the Allegheny Trail is up the drive, through the stable gate and left on a wide trail. A route more agreeable to one’s olfactory nerves is to cross the drive, remaining on Yellow Birch Trail. At this point you are actually also on Allegheny Trail-southbound. Cross Engine Run on a wooden bridge and soon arrive at a wide, unsigned or blazed trail. (This used to be a section of the Davis Trail. Its official trailhead has been moved further south at the park/MNF border on the Allegheny Trail.) Turn right here and merge onto the official Allegheny trail. There will be peat bogs to your left.


In 0.3 miles pass the park’s Stemwinder Trail on your right. It crosses Engine Run on a badly damaged bridge. Stay straight on the Allegheny Trail. Soon come to the park boundary and the official trailhead of the Davis Trail. Both it and the Allegheny Trail share the same tread through the Canaan Mt area.


Soon cross Engine Run on a foot bridge. The trail turns left and follows the drainage for a while. Over the last 0.3 miles or so the trail veers away to the right of the stream and ascends through a series of steep but quick climbs. At 1.2 miles from leaving the park boundary arrive at a wide, flat rocky area with a shelter on your right. In 70 yards reach the intersection with blue blazed Plantation Trail.


Turn right on the Plantation Trail and cross the west fork of Engine Run. In 1.2 miles from the last trail junction pass Fire Road #6 on the left, arriving at the Lindy Trail at another 1.1 miles.


The sign here states that CLR13-north is 1.5 miles away. Turn right here and quickly descend to CLR13, crossing Lindy Run near the halfway point.


Turn right onto CLR13 and cross Lindy Run again. At 0.6 miles from Lindy Run Trail arrive at the parking area for Lindy Point Overlook. Turn left onto the trail. In about 0.6 miles, come to a fantastic view of the Blackwater River drainage.


Return to CLR13 (paved at this point) and turn left. In another 0.56 miles arrive at the Ski Warming Hut on the right. Begin to walk up the sledding slope. To your left there will be a trail with a green metal sign stating that it is a “fee trail” (for skiers) and a wood sign marking this as Shay Trace Trail. Turn left onto this trail. The blazes are blue.


Cross the intersection of Cherry Lane (yellow circles) and red blazed Red Spruce Horse Trail (They come together at Shay Trace Trail) and then the access road for the cabins (0.45 miles from the warming Hut). You will pass cabins 6 and 5 on your right and 2 and 4 on your left as you cross the road.


Once again cross Red Spruce Trail and then orange blazed Balanced Rock Trail (shown red on the map). In 0.7 miles from the cabin road arrive at the west entrance to the Lodge and your vehicle.

Printable/Downloadable Directions and Trail Notes

Read about a recent trip to Blackwater Falls/Canaan Mt.

Critique this outing!



Name: .com                                                                                                                  Hike: Blackwater Falls/Canaan Loop
Date: 1/5/12                                                                                                                Rating: 5

Critique: Rusty Bucket & I about half of this loop. We left out Yellow Birch Trail and started on the Davis Trail behind the stables. The area just had some snow but temps were on the way up so the hike was snow-covered but slushy in many parts. The first crossing of Engine Run was made easy due to well-placed rocks in the water. Blazes were easy to follow, except the small part where the trail has been re-routed; use your intuition, keep to the right and ascend to the next set of blazes. We lunched at the shelter, then continued a bit on Plantation Trail until the seeps became more cumbersome than fun. We turned around and easily retraced out steps back to our car.


Name: .com                                                                                                                  Hike: Blackwater Falls SP/Canaan Loop
Date: 7/9/11                                                                                                                Rating: 5

Critique: Camping at Deep Creek Lake Campground w/ my daughter & her friends, I planned a hike for myself. One hour's drive from DCL to Blackwater SP, right to BW Lodge. All trail directions were accurate, although at the first steep ascent, there is a minor trail detour. This is marked on the trail at both ends w/ a row of hay bales. Trails showed very good trail maintenance, except the Lindy Trail which was very narrow & overgrown. Still, blue blazes could be seen. The day I hiked, a huge storm had come through the day prior, torrential rain storms, so the entire trail & surrounding areas were very wet. Both Engine Run & Lindy Run were still draining, running very high. I had to remove my boots about 5 times to cross. All in all, this was a terrific hike! And I saw no one on the entire trail, wow!

Name: William Edwards                                                                                               Hike: Blackwater Falls SP/Canaan Mt. Loop
Date: 5/3/08                                                                                                                 Rating: 3.5

Critique: This is a good day hike with some great scenery. It did not have quite as many vistas as I expected but there were some very nice natural features along the way.

There were a few blowdowns at the beginning of the Yellow Birch Trail but they were easily negotiated as this trail is mostly through mature woods with plenty of open space. The trail does twist and turn quite a bit here so you have to keep a vigilant eye out for the yellow blazes.

We chose to bypass the stables and cross Engine Run on the bridge. Don't get too used to bridges however as you will do a lot of small stream and boggy area crossings by rock hopping. This was one of the wettest hikes I have been on and as far as I know they had not had an unusual amount of rain. Just choose the proper footwear and don't expect to stay pristine and there will be no problems.

We stopped at the Davis shelter for our first snack break. It is located at the intersection of the Davis/Allegheny and Plantation trails. For anyone that is directionally challenged I would advise them to make sure they use the same trail to enter/exit the shelter as there are trails leading to both the Davis/Allegheny and the Plantation trail from the shelter so it could be easy to assume you had re-entered the same trail you just left and actually be on the other one.

The Plantation trail was also very wet and has limited views. Most of it is a tunnel of rhododendrons and would be absolutely gorgeous if they were in bloom but unfortunately we were a bit early for that.

When we arrived at the Plantation/Lindy intersection we were greeted by a fresh-looking sign that warns that the forest service no longer maintains the section of Lindy Trail that you need to take north to CLR13. We did not have any trouble but depending on how much travel this section gets from here on out this could be a potential trouble spot and some bushwhacking or an alternate route may be required. It looked like the trail was still being utilized by mountain bikes so if they continue using it they will probably cut back the brush themselves.

The absolute best part of this loop is Lindy Point. You should plan on taking a long break here to enjoy the views.

I think it took us about 5 hours to complete the loop but we were in no hurry and this was my wife's first hike of that length carrying a day pack. Thanks MRHyker for this hike!


Name: I&K                                                                                                                      Hike: Blackwater Falls SP/Canaan Mountain Loop
Date: 8/25/2007                                                                                                          Rating: 3.5

Critique: Good Hike thru some beautiful country. We always start the hike at the stables even with the smells described in the trail notes. When beginning here you expect to find a bridge over Engine Run in about .2 miles, but it is now gone.  Someone has thankfully placed some rocks so the crossing is easy.
(M.R.Hyker Note: The Davis/Allegheny Tr has been rerouted. It is now across the stable drive from the Yellow Birch Tr, a few yards down from the stable. It crosses Engine Run on one of the standard, well built wood and steel park bridges.)

The climb to the intersections with the Plantation Trail is scenic and not difficult, but it has serious erosion.

The transverse of the Plantation Trail is beautiful and easy walking as is the down hill on the Lindy Run trail albeit a little soggy in places.

Be sure to make the side trip to Lindy Point.  In previous trips we did not and found that we were missing one of the highlights of the hike.  The views of the Blackwater gorge are amazing.

The remainder of the hike is pretty mundane; paved road for .6 miles and then a series of trails through the wood to the lodge.

From the lodge the Yellow Birch Trail is somewhat scenic but it is so convoluted that you have to constantly look for the numerous yellow blazes.

Time: 4 1/2 hours with breaks and lunch.


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