Pine Mountain Trail is a 11.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Pound, VA that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Strenuous. Road walk along much of its length. Poorly marked. Occasional very good views. A ridge walk along wooded, forest roads and single track that includes large elevation gains and losses that should not be underestimated. Abundant private property adjoins the trail, often spoiling the experience. Water is scarce, but may be reliably found in at least two places.
We hiked from the VA/KY state line to Ravens Nest. It's not a very long distance but reasonably challenging. Very steep, rocky areas but well maintained. There's even been rebar steps added on some of the more difficult spots within the year. The blazes are clearly marked but can be a bit misleading as some are a different shade of yellow & some are updated as yellow reflectors. Several breathtaking viewpoints. Take time & enjoy it. Well worth the effort. Gorgeous during the fall!!
Beautiful and a very difficult hike
We hiked this trail from Elkhorn to US 23 (which is not as far as we intended). The trail was poorly marked and caused a lot of extra mileage for us on this trip walking down the wrong trail. Most of the trip this direction was uphill and some places were rather steep (no switchbacks). This trail was featured on Backpacker Magazine and the mileage was off by a lot per our GPS. Picture I posted was near the lookout tower, but we did not see it due to heavy rain at the time. Tower was near a very nice shelter. The trail got so light and hard to read a few miles past the lookout that it was nearly impossible to follow. A few light blazes (faded paint strips on trees) were spotted, but the trail was not evident. There were some hard crossings on rocks and at one point we got on all fours to cross as either side was a very steep drop. There is a very nice man who drove us from his place at the top of Pine Mountain to Elkhorn and then drove the car back (for $60 I believe). He parked it at US 23 for us since we were not going to make it to the end in time. Probably added 15 miles of walking due to misleading or no signs. Picture of the GPS route was only for 2 days, but you can see waypoints marked further down. Trail stops at the nice shelter, and leg you see was getting water at water supply (Angle Falls I think it was called). Don't have any regrets, but this was a tough hike.
I lead a group of hikers along the Pine Mountain Trail (PMT) from US 23 to Elkhorn City on October 27-30, 2012. Much of the Trail, especially between US 23 and Grassy Gap was poorly marked, or more often, not marked at all. The trailhead near US 23 was a challenge to find. It is not signed and no one in the vicinity knew anything about it. Walking toward Mullins Pond on our second day, we found the combination of intersecting, unmarked junctions, lack of blazes and numerous private property signs to be utterly confusing. We really struggled, even with the resources of a compass, a GPS, the official PMT map, and occasionally Google Earth. We met several very polite and dedicated trail volunteers on our third day. One volunteer apologized for the lack of blazes on the earlier sections of the trail and the lack of trail maintenance. Continuing toward Elkhorn City, we experienced somewhat better trail markings and evidence of some recent trail maintenance. We walked past the trail turn off near Skegg Overlook and ended up making do with a steep Forest road decent to Elkhorn City. Water was available along this trail at Birch Knob Spring (seasonal), year-round at Mullins Pond and Goldfish Pond during our trip. A great looking new shelter was under construction at Birch Knob.