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                              Last Updated: 10/18/11


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Welcome to a web site full of information on hiking in the Mid-Atlantic Region (PA, MD, VA and WV) ... topo maps, 3-D maps, elevation profiles, GPS data, directions, trail notes, photos.... everything you need to prepare for an excursion into the wilderness. Information for 277 hikes and over 3,332 trail miles are now available. Venues such as, but not limited to, Shenandoah National Park/VA,  George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, VA and WV, the Monongahela National Forest in WV, state forests throughout PA, Green Ridge State Forest in MD and regional, state, county and federal parks throughout the Mid-Atlantic region are represented.


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"Yet in the walks I take through nature in quest of truth and demonstration, I recognize a poetry in earth and sea and sky, ruled in their cycles of harmonious actions, deeper and more sublime than ever muse un- taught in science could inspire." William B. Rogers: First State Geologist of VA, First president of M.I.T. and namesake of Mt. Rogers, Va.



Latest Published Hikes

Watoga State Park Wilderness Adventure, WV

Reddish Knob Summit Backpack, VA

John P. Saylor Backpack, PA

Stone Tower Loop, PA

Dolly Sods Trans-navigation, WV



Bulletin Board


M.R.Hyker's 2011 Year in Review


M. R. Hyker's Latest Adventure(s)

09/17-20-2011, Watoga S.P. Car Camping and Hiking: At over 10,000 acres Watoga is the largest state park in West Virginia. It offers everything: a swimming pool, lake, two modern campgrounds and one primitive one, standard and modern cabins, a restaurant (in season) and over 33 miles of maintained trails including 5.5 miles of the long distance Allegheny Trail. The real draw for this hiker, though, was the recently (2009) designated Spice Run Wilderness (SRW) which is approximately 1.5 miles south of the southern park boundary on SR 21.

We set up camp on what has to be the largest, flattest site in Riverside Campground. The only downside was that it wasn’t along the very scenic Greenbrier River. We took a drive in search of an old road that lead to the river close to where I would have to ford it to enter SRW. We found it with no problem but, as our luck would have it, it was gated and heavily posted. So much for plan A. Plan B was also out because it included six miles of hiking the Greenbrier River Trail, a scenic rails to trails route popular with bikers. Although easy it would make for a very long day. That left me with plan C, besides the 12.5 wilderness loop I had planned it would include a four mile out-and-back on the heavily rutted SR 21 mentioned earlier.

The next morning I packed extra water, snacks, fleece and head lamp just in case I would get stuck in the woods after dark. P-Hyker and I parked the truck out the far end on the Laurel Run primitive campground and began our trek.

Immediately we were plunged into the darkness of a Hemlock grove and two easy fords of the run. The road then passed through a large meadow with a wonderful view of Pyle Mountain. It then re-entered the woods, fording the run one last time. Initially the road made for a nice hike through Calvin Price State Forest with a few ruts and mud puddles to negotiate. The last 0.3 miles were quite the opposite. It appeared that local ATVers had brought in a piece of heavy equipment and created huge “tank traps” - giant, scooped out mud puddles, reinforced with clay and log dams on the downhill sides to prevent drainage. It seemed more like an obstacle course like you would see on TV than a State Road. I was OK with all of this destruction because in mere minutes I would be back in my element … the wilderness, or at least so I thought. We arrived at a clearing with a giant pine tree in the middle and a sign post (with the map removed) next to what was once upon a time an old jeep road used by hunters that traversed Spice Ridge. It was my plan to use this old road to deposit us at the confluence of Greenbrier River and Spice Run. From there we would hike up the run returning to SR 21. Keep in mind that this road has existed for something like 30 to 50 years, serving as the boundary between the Monongahela N.F. and Calvin Price S.F. Although it might be considered a scar in a wilderness area it had ample time to heal and was at least partially naturalized with an assortment of several species of wildflowers, ferns, mosses, lichens and herbaceous shrubs reclaiming their spot in the forest. Words cannot express my dismay to find that the Forest Service had bulldozed all six miles of it as part of a mandate for “Wilderness Reclamation”, roughly grading it to match the contour of the ridge it followed. We hiked up it for about 0.5 miles hoping that it was merely a brief effort to keep mechanized vehicles out of the wilderness but, indeed, the devastation was complete. This short part of the hike was like walking uphill, on a beach with combat boots on, in the middle of a heavily shelled war zone. It was difficult and plain ol’ U.G.L.Y. It would take another 30-50 years for this new scar to heal and it will probably not return to the hardwood forest it was once before but will most likely be replaced with unwanted species such as Striped Maple and Sassafras, both miniature trees that grow in dense thickets preventing desirable species from ever taking hold.

We began a hasty retreat to the truck. I tried to purge my mind of what we had just experienced but it was very difficult. I probably won’t get another chance to visit Spice Run again and I was still in need of a wilderness fix. As we approached the large meadow we had walked through earlier I remembered an old boundary road on the U.S.G.S. maps in my software that roughly followed Laurel Run as it separated Calvin Price S.F. and Watoga S.P. We found it after we forded the run. I didn’t have that particular map with me but “What the heck!” We followed it downstream past a majestic old maple tree. The meadow constricted here but soon opened up again and then “Bingo!” we were standing on a wide rocky road. We followed the road through more meadows, beautiful stands of Pine and Hemlock a couple of stream crossings and scenic streamside views for about 1.5 miles. I suddenly realized that I was breaking one of the tenets of safe hiking that I constantly preach to novice hikers: “Tell a loved one where you will be hiking and do not deviate from your plans in case rescue is needed.” So here I was, 1.5 miles off of my designated route and on a trail that nobody working in any of the involved government agencies knows about. I had been recording the route on my trusty GPS so ended this little side bar adventure and returned to camp confident that come tomorrow I would experience my wilderness fix after all, leaving thoughts of the more civilized Watoga hike on maintained trails for another time.

The next day we drove to the Ann Bailey Trailhead (Ann was a British born lady who became a scout during the Indian wars after her husband was killed.) and proceeded down the double track woods road. The road climbed gently for 1.25 miles as it passed through mature hardwood forest to the junction with the Burnside Ridge trail (also an old road) which we followed for another mile. Here we turned left onto the South Burnside Ridge Trail until we reached the crest of the ridge. The adventure began as we left the road to the right, descending into an un-named drainage. We stayed a bit up on the hillside for a while, avoiding several serious blowdowns. As the valley opened up we began to follow the dry stream bed, at times walking in it and at other times walking on narrow deltas created by past flooding. Following the topography was pretty easy albeit different from much of what I had hiked in the past. I felt sort of like AegisIII and Jmitch … hiking where no man has hiked before. In 1.1 miles the streambed steepened as it deposited us, as if on a sliding board, into the middle of mostly dry Laurel Run. “On yeah, this is just the ticket!” I gleefully thought. As we looked upstream we had our left feet in the park and our right feet in Calvin Price S.F. Also to our right was a flood plain. I thought perhaps we would find an old grade there to hike on but the entire thing was covered in impenetrable Rhododendron thickets. We returned to the stream and proceeded to follow it toward the GPS track we had created yesterday. We were only about 0.5 miles away. During the spring this portion of the hike would probably be what I call a “Waterwhack” but the gentle grade of the stream and the flatness of the rocks would make it an easy one. (BTW, we saw several such rocks turned on their sides … an obvious result of bear looking for their favorite crustacean … crawfish.) We explored a few more deltas but the time and energy spent was not worth the effort. I committed myself to the stream which actually proved to be an excellent decision as we passed bouquets of violet Asters, vivid specimens of intense scarlet Cardinal Flower, assorted goldenrod species, Sneezeweed and Wingstem. As we approached yesterday’s track on the GPS I zoomed in as much as the unit would allow. “Dang it!” I missed the end of the old road by about 30 feet. I knew the road crossed the stream at the next bend in the stream but, being the perfectionist that I am, hastily backtracked through a deep pool, doing my best P-Hyker imitation as water finally poured into my boots, marked the stream exiting point with a cairn and in about five steps stood once again on the familiar moss covered road. With the next two miles being a “No Brainer” and yesterday’s trek through the tall goldenrod still evident, I could spend more time focusing on our surroundings. The “Leader of the Pack” in the open meadows was obviously the Sharp-leaved Goldenrod, chest high most of the time, but the towering Giant Ironweed and the much more diminutive Monkshood proved to be rewarding accents. Once we spotted that old magnificent Maple from yesterday we made a bee line to the primitive campground and temporarily borrowed a picnic table for some nourishment and rehydration.

The Kennison Run Trail, the final leg of our adventure, is described as an old railroad grade that crosses the run many times. Although blazed with faded yellow circles it was difficult to follow. It obviously gets much less use than the other park trails and that is exactly what I was hoping for. Initially we had to work around some huge fallen trees and then mistakenly turned right up a steep, rocky dead end ravine at a double blaze. It seems that in the park a double blaze might not necessarily signify a turn but in this case was meant merely to point out a stream crossing. Only after crawling under a large trail obstruction I finally realized my error. Precious gave me that look of “non-confidence” that only a canine can give as we crawled back under it. We corrected our mistake but still had trouble staying on trail. As we continued to cris-cross the trail while trying to follow the stream my hiker instincts started to kick in. Railroad grades in stream valleys are all pretty much the same wherever you go. While a waterway is able to follow the path of least resistance on its serpentine track down the valley a railroad grade generally has to follow the more gentle contours of the valley. By nature it cannot make the sharp turns that the stream makes. Once we spotted the next yellow blaze I began to follow my nose, the occasional blaze and some very old log cuts from long ago trail maintenance. While I was figuring all of this out we were walking through a near continuous stand of pine and Hemlocks. The trail was still overgrown in places but eventually gave way to an understory of low growing ferns or plain leaf mulch where Rhododendron tunnels precluded any form of vegetative growth. At 3 miles the trail made an abrupt left hand turn and climbed more steeply to the T.M. Cheek or South Entrance Road. Here we turned left onto it and in another 150 yards turned left again onto the Ann Bailey Trailhead Road. We were back at the truck by 3:30 full with that sense of accomplishment one gets after a true wilderness exploration.

We returned to camp for one last sumptuous meal and an early bedtime. A light rain fell throughout the night, ending the orchestral cadences of Katydids and crickets while punctuating the end of another great adventure.



10/08/11, FMF, Volkswagon Loop: I was a little lazy getting up this morning but P-Hyker and I still found ourselves at the Hamburg Road trailhead by 9:15, plenty of time to enjoy a 7 mile hike. The temperature would top out in the high 70s, humidity was low and the sky was as blue as I’ve seen it in a long time. We started off on the wrong trail and my mistake was soon confirmed when we spotted a familiar “No Trespassing” sign. We had hiked this trail with Sixteen Penny when we did the Four Ponds-Rock City Loop over the winter.

We backtracked to the road and immediately found the blue blazed Catoctin Trail. We were going to have to make a right hand turn on a bike trail in a short distance but I had no idea if it would be obvious or not. A passing mountain biker made the turn in front of us. We followed at a distance although P wanted to run with him. The trail was flat and well maintained but the constant bends and sharp curves made the Salamander Trail seem like a ruler. P was even having troubles staying on trail. The architect of this trail was making sure it went over every flat boulder worthy of riding over or jumping off of. Talk about getting your internal gyroscope messed up! I was considering naming it the Worm Trail since Salamander was already spoken for and a snake couldn’t possibly undulate this much when we came upon a lawn ornament with the plastic head of some kind of doll on it. The head seemed to be of a character out of a cartoon or animated movie … sort of like a Kid Neptune or something or other.

 The undulations stopped briefly as we came upon a 4X woods road intersection. We continued straight although in about 5 minutes we realized that turning right would also have worked, both putting us back on the continuation of the bike trail. In about a mile (about a half mile as the crow flies) we crossed Hamburg Road and joined an old haul road that followed the edge of a ridge for a while. After passing the namesake of the trail and crossing a stream on a biker bridge it began a gradual descent until we arrived at another 4X junction. Any direction would work depending on the distance you want to hike. We turned left onto the Catoctin Trail and then left onto an old skid road and followed it towards Clifford Hollow, my favorite section of the forest. The road was maintained in sections but where it made a sharp left turn a biker trail left it and then crossed it further on, ending with a steep descent to the stream. We crossed and took a jerky break on a nice flat rock. P rather enjoyed immersing herself in the cold mountain stream. Another mountain biker came by and chatted with us a bit. He was going to climb a steep biker trail and then downhill on the section of the Catoctin Trail we were going to go up. He was sure he was going to run into us again but this would be the last we saw of him. The hike along the stream was mostly on a gentle old haul road and out of its sight except where we crossed it. We could still hear it and feel its coolness as we walked past the Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron. In a handful of minutes we arrived at a junction with the Catoctin Trail … again. We were again on familiar ground. We had hiked this next section with Dot Com while doing the Clifford Hollow Circuit. We weren’t in a race nor was I trying to catch up with someone or trying to maintain my pace for fellow hikers so we just took our time, stopping twice to check the map and GPS, the whole time knowing exactly where we were. We turned left onto a shortcut trail just before cresting the hill, walked through a grassy stretch lined with dead trees and left onto the same skid road we used to descend to Clifford Hollow earlier. After a very short, gradual climb the road flattened out and alternated between walking through Mountain Laurel Tunnels and young open forest. I should mention here that throughout our hike we enjoyed some nice fall colors. They weren’t that “take your breath away, I can’t believe this is a real photo” kind of color display. The reds, oranges and yellow were more subtle, diluted by the still green oak forest. Somehow the mind has the ability to  filter out some of the green, concentrating the colors on some internal canvas and providing a very soothing sensation. I don’t think there is a camera capable of doing that. A second highlight of the hike was to be a series of three ponds. When we arrived at the breast of the first and largest we found that it had been drained. A biker whom we talked to at the parking area told me that they always dry up in the summer but, upon noticing that the drain pipe had been “spiked” several times along its length, I doubt that it will ever fill up. Perhaps this is one of the ponds that had been drained during the long ago Anthrax investigation. There was another “spiked” drain pipe at a pond along the Salamander hike. After crossing the dam we veered of to the right, joining another bike trail. This in turn connected with the Catoctin Trail and soon deposited us back at our starting point. Just before arriving there we were passed by a guy on a dirt bike. I tried to explain to him that he was committing a big no-no but then his potty mouth started up. I decided not to get too confrontational and ruin our day so I just let him go on about his way. Except for that little distraction it had been a most excellent day in the woods.

Read More Adventures Here!


Latest Outing Critiques

Name: Keith Selbo                                                                                         Hike: Brown Mountain - Rocky Top Loop
Date: 10-15 to10-17-2011                                                                                     Rating: 5

Critique: Perfect for a fall hike. Cool temperatures, leaves falling like multi-colored snow, grand vistas, roaring rapids, peaceful valleys, dappled autumn shade and a harvest moon you could read by -- what a hike!



Name: Steve Appler                                                                                      Hike: Hybrid - Roaring Plains Circuit-modified
Date: 10/7-9/11                                                                                                      Rating: 5

Critique: My brother Greg, my son Austin and I just enjoyed a backpacking trip using mostly the trail described here as the MNF-Roaring Plains/Hidden Passage/Canyon Rim Loop, but we didnt turn off at the Tee Pee Trail, but instead followed the Canyon Rim Trail all the way to its junction with the Roaring Plains Trail before returning on the Roaring Plains Trail route.

This was an arduous backpack trip and for those who would prefer to enjoy the spectacular views without the chore carrying a heavy pack through some very difficult terrain I would suggest setting up a base camp as described in Roaring Plains Base Camp and Day Hike and make the Canyon Rim Trail a day hike. M.R.Hyker suggested that to me, but I had to try it.

We reached the western end of the South Prong Trail (also the FR19 end of the Boars Nest Trail) about 5:15pm on Friday and started hiking down the South Prong Trail at 5:35pm. I had not thoroughly read the hike description on this site. Don't make that same mistake. Instead, I followed the trails that came with my Garmin GPS. We got into big trouble. We turned left before reaching the South Fork of Red Creek (this was the mistake) and followed what we thought was the South Prong Trail for some time before it disappeared. (Disappearing trails was to be a frequent theme for this whole weekend trip). We knew we needed to eventually ford the creek, so we bushwhacked our way down a very steep slope through very dense laurel thickets until we reached the creek, crossed without much difficulty and then had to contend with even more dense thickets on the other side. Eventually, we struggled up that steep slope and found a very faint South Prong Trail. By now it was getting dark and we donned our headlamps. We crossed FR70 in the dark and found a group of cars parked there. Ive backpacked there numerous times over the last 20 years and have usually found the gate to FR70 to be locked at FR19, so dont count on driving down this road for a short-cut. We climbed the steep slope up to where there is a great streamside campsite (as described in MNF-Roaring Plains/Hidden Passage/Canyon Rim Loop) and we kept moving on. Very shortly after that we located (actually, my GPS located it and I was damn happy about that) the intersection with the Hidden Passage Trail. I had downloaded the trip coordinates from this site which were extremely helpful throughout the trip since trails were constantly disappearing. (We ran into some hunters training their dogs to hunt bear who said that there were 9 of snow up there the week before and that had obscured many trails by beating down grass and foliage over the trails).

We followed the Hidden Passage Trail (generally) for awhile until we simply lost it. By this time it was about 9:00pm and we decided to give up on the trail and just walk straight to the waypoint of our campsite destination. That wasnt easy since theres a lot of spruce in the way, but we emerged into a semi-meadow area where we found a trail and finally a spectacular site with moonlit views of about 180 degrees. We set up camp and we collapsed. It was about 10:30pm.

We woke to an extremely beautiful scene. Mountaintops far below us rose above mists in the valleys. The leaves were near their colorful peak. The cranberries and blueberries were fiery red and the sunrise lit this spectacular scene magnificently. In my 30+ years of backpacking this was among the most impressive campsites I've experienced. My thanks to M.R. Hyker for bringing this (among many other great trips) to my attention.

We packed up in the morning and enjoyed an easy hike through very Dolly Sods-like plains cranberry & blueberry low-growing brush with grasses and low laurel thickets interspersed with spruce groves until we arrived at the pipeline where we turned left. We delayed making our turn onto the Canyon Rim Trail so that we could enjoy the overlook we found at the top of the pipeline rise. Then we turned back and turned left into the Canyon Rim Trail. Or, so we thought.

If you read the trip description here you will read that the Canyon Rim Trail is the most difficult trail to find. That is VERY true. First, do not follow the obvious trail through an established streamside campsite and down the mountain. Its seductive, but its wrong. We only missed doing that because my son, Austin, pointed out that going down just didnt match the topo there. We then widely and systematically scoured the area looking for any sign of trail and found nothing. (There was another hiker who was looking for that dead tree with a sign in it as described on this site that tree must have fallen down. We met him a long time later coming in from the other direction because he could not find the trail). We had just decided to give up finding the trail and to simply bushwhack our way from GPS waypoint to waypoint starting with a small meadow when the aforementioned hunters came through the meadow towards us. We asked if they knew where the trail was and they responded that we were on it. That's when we learned that the previous weeks snow had caused many mountain trails to be obscured. Once we made our way across the meadow we found and lost the trail numerous times in the dense laurel thickets. We followed the advice of the hunters and MidAtlanticHikes.com and kept the canyon rim close on our left and this worked fine, though the hiking here with packs was exceptionally difficult in the brush and with the constant, though gradual ascent.

There are spectacular overlooks all along the Canyon Rim Trail. The Point is especially beautiful and wide ranging. There were so many views that we started to pass some by and others provided wonderful excuses to remove our loads and to spread ourselves on the cool rocks in the warm sun. It was glorious weather.

We passed a couple nice campsites along the rim, too, though none had the open views of our first nights site. We came across a long section where we had to jump from rock to rock to stay on trail. Thank you to each of you who placed the cairns along that path or we could possibly still be there. That section seemed endless and the trail promptly disappeared again on the western end.
We never noticed where the Canyon Rim Trail met the Tee Pee Trail, but we found the dry campsite that was mentioned there. We knew we were nearing our destination for the night at the junction of the Canyon Rim Trail and the Roaring Plains Trail and since that area was said to be dry we chose to pump water from a small spring under a rock near the dry campsite. We could actually hear the water running behind the rocks. M.R.Hyker had warned me that the water was dirty there, but it looked clear. Of course, he was right and it clogged my filter even through my pre-filter. I found the same thing back in June when I pumped water out of Red Creek down near The Forks. There's some kind of mineral in that water that just clogs filters badly. We got enough water to get by, though, and kept on going.

We collapsed on one more rock outcropping and not long after leaving there stomped through a bog at the edge of some clearings in the spruce and followed the trail up a gentle grade until we finally made it to the trail junction where we found about 20-30 tents already set up. Apparently there was a Washington Backpacking club who came in via the Roaring Plains Trail. There was plenty of room for us, though, and we set up on the edge of the camp with a nice overlook of the valley to the southwest.

The wind howled all night. Over the years Ive found that is typical of most of the Dolly Sods and the Roaring Plains area. We camp in hammocks, so we got a nice rocking motion all night. That is, when we didnt feel like we were being blown out of the trees. We packed up late Sunday morning, doubled back to the Roaring Plains Trail which was our first clearly marked trail of the weekend. It was well blazed and wide open. As a matter of curiosity we found that end of the Tee Pee Trail as we passed by. There were colored flags hanging in the laurel there and my GPS confirmed we were at that junction. We stayed on the Boars Nest Trail, descended, found the pipeline and turned right, and shortly after that came to the end of FR70 onto which we turned left. There were about 10 cars parked there which we passed and shortly afterward we turned left onto the Boars Nest Trail.

The Boars Nest Trail is well marked, wide open and from FR70 climbs steeply for short time before leveling out. There are some great views across the open mountains, meadows, more spruce groves, more laurel thickets and brilliantly lit deciduous forest all around us. Then, we began the painful descent back into the South Fork of the Red Creek valley that lasted more than a mile. I had photography equipment and my load was much weightier than I prefer. Going downhill hurt. We finally made it to the creek and rested. Then we turned our sights to that last very steep climb back to the car. We headed out to Seneca Creek to eat badly and drink great beer in celebration of one more excellent trip.

I'm going back there, but next time I'm going to alter my route and trim my load back to my normal almost ultra light weight. I like long distance backpacking trips, but this trip was long, difficult and with a heavy backpack it wasn't as easy to enjoy the magnificent sites as it would be with a lighter daypack. I'll probably make base camp near where we spent our first night this trip, take the Canyon Rim Trail (now that I know how to find it) as a day trip, turn off at the Tee Pee Trail (if I can find that end of it), turn right onto the Roaring Plains Trail and when I reach the pipeline turn right and walk the mile back up the pipeline until I turn left onto the Hidden Passage Trail and back to camp. Look for me there in a few weeks.



Name: gale                                                                                                      Hike: Bull Run Mountain Conservancy
Date: 10-16-2011                                                                                                    Rating: 5

Critique: this trail for me was perfect in distance, and the incline to top, with absolutely a beautiful view on top..-- this has to be a secret for Northern VA!! I had found through searching on web-- & never heard of it before....



Name: Donna Miller                                                                                       Hike: Big Schloss
Date: September 30 - October 2, 2011                                                               Rating: 5

Critique: This is one of my very favorite hikes. We usually do a 1-2 night backpack on it. Parked at Little Stony Creek Parking lot.

Walked Little Stony Creek Trail to Tuscarora Pond Run Trail, to Half Moon, to Half Moon Lookout. Camped at Halfmoon Lookout (not the greatest/flattest site, also dry, you'll need to fill up on water 1 mile before--but the views off the cliffs and up top Halfmoon Mt. are incredible).

Next day, reverse, same trails to Mill Mt. Took Mill Mt. to Big Schloss, nice campsites up top BS, if you can get them (dry, too). We kept going on Mill Mt. to the mountain ridge above Wolf Gap. Social trail goes off to left when trail goes right off/down ridge. Social trail leads to several nice tent sites. Again, dry. You'll need to walk down to Wolf Gap (steep) for water. Worth it though.

Last day, we hiked back out on Mill Mt., to Big Schloss cut-off trail, back down to FR 92, 1/2 mile to Little Stoney Creek Parking Lot, and our car.

Loop of about 20 miles total. Very, very pretty, not taxing, great views when leaves are down. Temps Sat 45 degrees, with rain and wind. Blah. Woke up to 35 degrees Sunday. All in all, in was a miserably fun trip.



Name: Tom O'Donnell                                                                                   Hike: Tuscarora-Standing Stone Loop
Date: 10/09/11                                                                                                       Rating: 4

Critique: I looked at several of your posted hikes in this area and decided on this one in hopes of getting some ridge top views of fall color. I missed the peak of color, probably a week early, but that really didn't detract from the enjoyment of the hike.
The trail is easy to follow, well blazed, with junctions marked with signs. The climb up Todd Trail wasn't as bad as it appears from the elevation profile (climb took 30 min.).
Description of "Extremely Rocky" is appropriate for the ridge-top portion. Rain or ice/snow could make this section treacherous. Views are spectacular and many interesting rock formations.
There is some road noise from Allens Valley Road on the Tuscarora Trail section, but the Standing Stone portion seems very secluded.
Although there were hundreds of people in the park on a beautiful fall day I saw only one other hiker until I got to the Knobsville Road section where I saw some folks headed to the overlook. Really enjoyed the hike, Thanks for posting. I'm looking forward to the other hike from Cowans Gap SP in the future.



Name: Jonnie                                                                                                            Hike:  Roaring Plains Base Camp and Day Hike
Date: Oct 6-9, 2011                                                                                                 Rating: 5

Critique: As FR 70 was open to the pipeline, we 4 brothers ages 61 to 69 drove to the pipeline and set up camp 100 yards up the pipeline. Next day, we hiked up the Roaring Plains trail, missed the left turn on the TP trail to the rim as there was an attractive young gal standing in front of the cairn and the trail was overgrown, hiked ~2 miles farther to a nice spruce sheltered campsite on the rim with fire ring and overlook. Reversed direction on RP trail, turned left on unknown trail that we were told would take us to the pipeline a mile from camp. But the trail petered out after a rock field so we reversed again and arrived back at camp.
Next day, hiked southeast on the pipeline to where the "jeep trail" meets the pipeline (nice site nearby with fire ring but no water). Using map and compass (bushwhack needed) we took a heading of 220 degrees from north to end up where we wants to be on the rim, crossed Roaring Creek, eventually picking up the rim trail for the next mile or so.
Views along the rim were gorgeous--deciduous trees in a riot of color down to the bottom of Long Run Canyon, blue ridge after blue ridge to the horizon, deep green of the spruces, scarlet blueberry heaths, grey sandstone rocks, deep blue sky--doesn't get any better.
Continuing on the rim trail, we passed a couple of nice sites with fire rings but no water, missed the TP trail turnoff (what else is new?), carefully picked our way down the "mother of all talus slopes" following the cairns, lost the trail at the bottom, bushwhacked up to and along the rim for another mile or so til meeting the Roaring Plain trail again, and back to camp on the RP trail.
Many folks camping there that weekend , including a group of 16 Washington Backpackers who filtered in between 8pm Friday and 2 am Saturday, and 2 truckloads of bear hunters and bear dogs on Saturday.
The TP trail needs clearing at both ends, rock/boulder fields tricky, several unmarked trails present, map/compass/GPS recommended.



Name: Matt                                                                                                               Hike: Roaring Plains Base Camp and Day Hike
Date: 10/5-7/11                                                                                                      Rating: 5

Critique: Great hike but you really need to study the maps and trail descriptions. You can easily get lost if you miss a turn. Some of the trails seem like animal paths because they are so narrow. The description provided is excellent as long as you have a good sense of direction.

I lost my way for a moment when I took the group down the Tee Pee Trail to cut over to the Roaring Plains Trail. The problem is the Roaring Plains Trail is only blazed in one direction (three times over 2 and a half miles). So if you take this shortcut be sure to turn right when you hit the trail junction with the old log in the ground. There were two orange markers in the trees to mark the trail head.

I managed to lose my Canon digital camera somewhere between The Point and the intersection of the Tee Pee Trail with the Roaring Plains Trail (taking the Tee Pee Trail instead of continuing on the Rim Trail). I know this is a long shot but if anyone finds a camera please
contact me.



Name: Mark T.                                                                                                          Hike: Susquehannock Loop (23miles)
Date: October 8 - 10, 2011                                                                                     Rating: 4+

Critique: Wonderful hike. Total solitude. No bears. Delicious organic apples on trees from old farmsteads long gone. Gas line side hike was much tougher than description said. Straight up and down 4 - 5 ridges. Twin Sisters Trail is a good exercise in finding trail blazes non-existent at times. Big Pool and Hammersley Creek were beautiful. Fall views from the meadow were awesome. Do the hike in the fall. And...the Bubba Burger at Bea's Biker Bar after 23 miles in 2 days on a lean diet was awesome.




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