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Last Updated: 10/17/07  

 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, references, photos.... everything you need to prepare for an excursion into the wilderness. Information for 145 hikes is now available. Venues such as, but not limited to, the GWNF-Great North Mt. (North-east and South-west areas), the northern and  central sections of the Shenandoah National Park/VA,  Massanutten Mt, VA, the Michaux State Forest in PA, the Monongahela National Forest in WV and Green Ridge State Forest in MD are represented.


"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bulletin Board


10/11/07 - Shenandoah National Park AT and Great North Mountain Water Supply: A fellow hiker and PATC Trail Maintainer, Catherine Kelleher, passed on this valuable hiking info. Review this table to find out if you'll have water issues on an up-coming trek. With regards to the Great North Mountain, VA she reports that the spring at Sugar Knob Cabin is dry. Chuck Randall reports that Sand Spring on Mill Mountain was a mere trickle 2 weeks ago. This means that the streams on Long Mountain are probably also dry.




Dolly Sods Bear Warning   


Update - 08/30/07: The U.S.F.S. has just published this Press Release.

Update - 10/02/07: The Ranger informs us that there has been no new reported cases. She reminds us to practice good bear safety when in the backcountry.



Attention Non - TOPO! Users: Steve Young (Not the retired 49s Quarterback but a frequent visitor to this site) has found a way to convert the National Geographic TOPO! GPS files used here into a format that can be opened by his Delorme TOPOUSA software. Here's the instructions. You can contact Steve directly if you have questions. His E-mail address is at the bottom of the directions.


I quickly examined the site Steve uses and found that it covers many of the popular mapping software packages and GPS units. Here is the site with the necessary downloads: Note: We at have no experience with this free software. Use at your own risk.




Latest Published Hike(s):

Laurel Fork Wilderness - Allegheny Tr Shuttle/Loop, WV

Dolly Sods Circumnavigation - mod 1, WV

Black Forest Trail South, PA

Rockytop - Big Run Loop, VA

Brown Mountain - Rockytop BP Loop, VA




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





More Photos




10-06 to 08-07 - Cranberry Backcountry Backpack Trip (Photos, maps and trail notes to follow): Initially we had 10 folks signed up for this trip but come D-day we were down to four. In a way it was a good thing since tent sites for both nights would be at a premium and we had over 30 miles to cover over 3 days. The longest would be a 14 mile day 2 with over 1400 feet of elevation gain. We would be doing some serious trucking. As Chuck, Lucas and I drove up the entrance road to Summit Lake we decided in unison that we would not hike up this 2.5 mile climb with packs on the final day. One or two of us would hitch a ride up to retrieve our cars. We could have set up a shuttle but overnight parking is not allowed at the North Bend Picnic Area.

Gadget Girl was already there when we arrived so we put on our boots, strapped on our packs and headed up a service road to the Pocahontas Trail. Once there we turned east and set a really good pace. This trail is mostly a combination of old woods roads once used by Native Americans and Pioneers. The tread was pretty smooth. When we arrived at Mike's Knob we had plenty of daylight left so we dropped our packs and made the quick detour. We were pretty disappointed when we reached the top. All of the grand views mentioned in the trail guide were grown in. In a way this was a good thing because it meant that the forest was successful in reclaiming its territory.

We grabbed our packs and once again assumed a brisk pace. We rolled into camp at around 5:30. I was concerned about water since all of the streams we had crossed to this point had been as dry as a bone. Fortunately the Left Branch was still flowing with a couple of deep pools to filter from. We set up camp and prepared our dinners. We called it a very early night since we knew we had to cover 14 miles the next day to reach a water cache that two trail angels had humped up Fork Mountain for us the previous Tuesday night. (Susan Chappell and Larry Kearns packed 48 pounds of water for over a mile and stashed it between a boulder and a rock.)

We were on the trail by 9:00 the next day. Since none of us have ever backpacked 14 miles in a day before we intentionally tried to retard our pace until we reached the top of Fork Mountain. The next section of the Pocahontas was more of a footpath than a road until we crossed Route 39. We crossed the headwaters of Hills Creek and climbed to the junction with the Fork Mountain Trail where we turned west. Upon arriving at the Falls we topped off our water and paid a brief visit to the first two falls. The slow trickle we encountered did not warrant further exploration of the lower falls. We still had around 11 miles and 1200 feet of elevation gain to complete before dark. After making use of the facilities at the parking lot we started the long climb up. The grade was moderate but all along the way there were these earthen bearms you had to climb over. After the first eight or so they were starting to get quite old. We reached the top but some how missed a turnoff and ended on a gravel road. The map and GPS said that the trail closely followed this road so we followed it to an intersection. To the left happened to be a pretty panoramic view and a couple in a pickup who quickly confirmed the location of the trail. We were back on it in minutes. Once on top we increased our pace again as we hiked through alternating hardwood and coniferous forests. Along one section the presence of busted rock and yellowish Red Spruce fighting to maintain a foothold was evidence of long ago strip mining. After passing through a field of huge boulders my eye caught the glistening of clear plastic at the base of a tree about 40 feet away. It was our water cache!!! We were quite relieved but too tired to gather up the water and schlep it to a campsite so we made do with the ground around us. By the time we hit the trail the next day we had used or replenished our reserves with all but two bottles. Chuck volunteered to carry one out and Pam packed up the other.

The final day was spent "roller coastering" up and down small knobs as we once again passed through magnificent stands of Spruce, Hemlock and hardwoods. There were several rock formations that, at times, looked more like miniature fortresses than rock piles. We came upon one gigantic vista but it was created by a massive clear cut logging operation. You could even see where the forest on the distant ridge had recently been logged. After a brief discussion of the pros and cons of clear cutting versus thinning we packed up our cameras and continued on.

We found the North Bend Trail easy enough and began our descent back to civilization. About halfway down we came upon a gravel road but no trace of trail signage or blazes. We turned downhill at first and cautiously walked for a bit. I continually watched the evolution of our track on the GPS and it indicated that we were walking away from the trail and towards last night's campsite but at a lower elevation. We reverse marched back up the road until we came to a dead end. The trail sign and blaze were right there. This little "jog" in the trail wasn't shown on any of our maps. Once assured that we were heading in the right direction we increased our pace again only slowing down to maneuver through or around some serious blowdowns. These little episodes were beginning to take their toll on us but eventually we reached the flood plain of the Cherry River. We were at the picnic area in about 20 minutes. As if on cue a retired couple in a truck was just getting ready to pull out when we arrived. They gladly gave me a ride back to the lake to retrieve my truck. I returned to gather up my hiking friends and drove Pam back to her car. We had done most of our freshening up at the picnic area so we said our quick good-byes and began our long drive back to MD and Ripley, WV feeling good about completing a pretty difficult adventure.


Latest Outing Critiques

Name: Kate                                                                                                  Hike: Dolly Sods Circumnavigation
Date: 10/13-14/2007                                                                                                Rating: 4

Critique: What an excellent place to go for an October hike. The fall colors were spectacular. Bring your windbreaker and your boots, because these trails are rugged, muddy, and very windy!

My group of 5 found these trails very easy. There was little elevation gain throughout. A few sections were pretty much the rockiest thing I have seen this side of the Mississippi, but they won't wear you out. We turned this into an overnighter by shortening the loop at the Lion's Head and taking the Rocky Point Trail. This loop also can be modified to begin and end at the Red Creek campground by taking the Blackbird Knob trail.

We did meet a lot of other hikers along the way, though. I was hoping for a little more solitude.

Thank you for good trail notes and a fabulous map!


Name: Raven                                                                                               Hike: Oregon Ridge
Date: 10/14/07                                                                                                           Rating: 3

Critique: The trails are beautiful, but the left turn to stay on Ivy Hill trail is not easily visible when there are leaves on the trees -- a branch completely covers the sign until you're right on top of it, and the side trail you must take looks like one of many, many other adjunct trails not noted on the map.  If you miss the turn, you'll climb up a fairly steep hill, only to hit Ivy Hill Road (paved), which is the park boundary.  Then you'll have to turn around and hike back down that steep hill.

In addition, when you get to the end of the loop and back on the Logger's Trail, the "Turn left (uphill) and walk a short distance before turning right onto orange blazed Lake Tr."... you'll see the right onto Logger's Trail before you get to the Lake Trail.  If you take the Logger's Trail, there are a few steep descents and ascents that might be challenging for some hikers.  (There's a scramble uphill where one is well advised to use handholds, for example.)  The one log bridge at the end of Lake Trail is currently two logs, both fairly rotted, and a wobbly handrail.  It's precarious, and I hope they replace the logs with ones that don't crack under your feet soon.


Name: Natasha                                                                                           Hike: Ramseys Draft
Date: 10/13-14/07                                                                                                     Rating: 4

Critique: We followed this hike as described above and found it a very enjoyable overnight hike.  Due to lack of rain, there was very little water in the streams so crossing was very easy.  Thankfully there were some flowing pools so we did have some water available.  We decided to stock up on water before the climb to Hiner Spring.  That climb was definitely a workout- lots of big rocks, fallen trees, and steep sections.  We camped at Hiner Spring (the spring itself was bone dry) and were rewarded with the place all to ourselves.  Herds of deer roamed around camp all evening.  The next morning a small herd decided to check us out and appeared not to be afraid of people at all.  We packed up and continued up to the Shenandoah Mountain Trail and followed that south as described.  The ridge hike was a nice long stroll.  Only disappointment was lack of good views, but the pine needles were a nice welcome cushion under our feet.  The Road Hollow trail is definitely interesting.  Very rocky, and like described, can't seem to figure out where it wants to go.  Some fallen trees made travel a bit more difficult but overall, a nice descent from the ridge back down to the car.  The weather was perfect, the trees beautiful (though not yet in full color), and there was plenty of wildlife to enjoy.  Lack of dependable water sources and a recent fire ban put a damper on our plans, but the hike overall was VERY enjoyable and I highly recommend this hike for those looking for a refreshing over-nighter.


Name: Greg and Sarah                                                                              Hike: Plantation Tr/CLR 13 Loop
Date: 10/13/07                                                                                                           Rating: 5

Critique: This was a perfect fall hike. The leaves hadn't all started to change in the Blackwater area but they were getting there. I think next weekend they will be at their best. The weather was perfect and the view from the Table Rock overlook was fabulous. One thing to note is there are no signs for the Lindy Run Trail off of CLR 13. We missed it and ended up doing the hike backwards, which was just as good.
M.R.Hyker Note: The Lindy Run Tr from CLR 13 to the Plantation Tr has been abandoned by the U.S.F.S. because the first 100 yards is now owned by a lumber company. It is still in good condition and not posted "Private Property", etc. It can be hard to find if you're not looking for it. The Trail Notes have been modified to reflect this change.

We decided to stay the night at the Blackwater SP campground and head to the Purple Fiddle, based on your recommendation, for dinner and to listen to the Farewell Drifters. The food was delicious and the bluegrass was even better. The long black-haired waitress could have been a little nicer though.

If you head out next weekend, the view from the Table Rocks should be amazing.



Name: Jeff                                                                                                                    Hike: Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run
Date: 09/2006                                                                                                             Rating: 4

Critique: Good, long hike. Great overnight trip along the run. Going again tomorrow morning (10/13/07). Decent views on the mountain, great views along the stream. Overall 4 out of 5.


Name: PowderKeg                                                                                                       Hike: Black Forest Trail - North
Date: 10/6/07                                                                                                              Rating: 4.5

Critique: Absolutely beautiful vistas and a spectacular hike.

A couple of items that might be helpful:

The parking area on Rt 44 is 2.3 miles past the driveway of the Black Forest Inn. If you get to the God's Country sign you went just a little too far. It's easy to miss as the trail indicator is just a wooden post.

Also, a correction: after the unmarked trails to the table rocks, where the Algernine trail goes off to the left, you want to make a hard RIGHT to continue the BFT (directions above are mistyped, but once on the trail it's quite obvious what you need to do).
(Correction noted and the change made.)

Also, the spring mentioned in the directions and on the map was dry during my hike.

And, I'm a sucker for nice campsites. If you can manage it, I recommend camping either at the second vista after the steep climb that is supposed to start Day 2 (there are two campsites just a few yards past the second vista). This is where I camped and the sunset over the mountains was fantastic.

And the first quarry looks like one of the most gorgeous campsites I've seen, at least in fall... maybe not shady enough for hot weather. It would be tough to get there on Day 1.

Be warned, with the spring being dry, you really need to carry enough water to last from the three "Day 1" campsites all the way to to Slate Run... only an issue if you're planning to stay at one of these alternate campsites.

The descriptions and directions in this guide were spot-on. Thanks for such a fine job and such a great hike.


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