Explore the most popular forest trails in Jackson Washington State Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Did the Delaney park loop 3-28-18 and even with water and downed trees, it was a blast! I agree with all written, poles a must, water shoes good idea and training! The ridges were beautiful and the trail blazes were wonderful and completely visible. Having a map is really really a good idea though. I did not camp but carried 35 pound pack for a through trip this summer. Great to get a feel for it and cannot wait to get back. Delaney park campground was really nice too. Well worth the training and not for the inexperienced as foot paths are tricky on the ups and downs. Don’t hurry. Enjoy the views and the workout! Again, beware of water crossings- but I do realize I went in the wet season. I simply changed my shoes and it was fine for me to go back and forth. As of now, the lakeside trail part is mid- calf deep- no way around it otherwise. So, I went left first at the trailhead and was glad I did to finish in the water. Well marked, it just seems to take forever to get to the next mile marker because of the terrain but well worth the effort! I’m a fan of Knobstone for sure! Looking forward to the next hike there already. Take plenty of water!

backpacking
5 months ago

Fantastic trail. I started north from Deam Lake on October 19th around 3:45 pm and made it about 12.25 miles before setting up Camp around 9pm. October 20th was a long day; I made it about 23 miles in 12 hours hours. On the 21st, I started off about 9 am, took the trail around the north side of Delaney Park before ending at the around 5:30 pm. To round off my mileage, I hiked the trail south towards Elk Creek. Note: I did a few hours of night hiking before setting up camp each night. If you like night hiking as much as I do, make sure you have a good light and go slow.

The Delaney Loop itself was amazing. If you have just a day and want a good taste of the KT, I would recommend this loop. Again...it’s not easy and I would check with the park before before planning your day. Many trees were marked for harvest.

The weather for my trip was fantastic. Highs around 70, lows in the lower 50’s. I wouldn’t want to hike it in warmer weather but, that’s me...I naturally run hot anyway and due to the general lack of water, higher temperatures could have created problems or, excessively heavy water carries.

In all, the trail is amazing. It is very difficult and arguably dangerous in spots, especially once the leaves started falling. There were spots where the leaves hid the trail surface to the point that you couldn’t see what you were stepping on. There were also spots that weren’t marked very well and because the path was covered with fresh leaves, the obvious trail was hidden. About 6 times I had to stop, back up and find the blazes again before continuing on. Often around creek crossings, around recently fall trees and in two instances, where the KT veered off the forest road I had been on. In those case it was my inattention...I was just walking and wasn’t watching for blazes. In all cases, comparing a map to my All Trails track, got me back on track if I didn’t see the blazes.

Regarding water caches; the DNR map has a driving route between trailheads marked. I followed this to make my drops. Based on the distance between drops, 1 gallon per person was enough. I addition to the obvious locations, I would add the following: the New Chapel Trailhead is not on the KT. From the trail it was a short but, unnecessary hike up a hill to get to my water. Drive past the trailhead on Liberty Knob Road to the bottom of the hill. Cache your water where the trail crosses the road. It’s easy to find and you can thank me later. The Leota trailhead confused me as well. I didn’t see the actual trailhead while I was driving - when I was hiking it was obvious. I ended up pulling off the the side of a steep road (New Salem Finley Knob) near where the KT crosses, and cached water beside the guard rail. In actuality, the trailhead is just north of the road crossing and is a very short drive. You don’t need to park on the side of the road. I would also recommend making a drop at the Elk Creek trailhead, though it is a short walk from the parking lot. I thought I would have access to the lake in this area but, ended up passing the best access point near a campsite around mm 32. I was hoping for a better spot but, didn’t find one and ended up refilling from a spare jug at the trailhead. The last, not so obvious spot that I cached water, was off of West Point Road, on the back side of the reroute, just before mm 42. I did this to make sure I was carrying enough through the Delaney Loop. If you head towards Spurgeon Hollow first, you should be fine. For the record, when I got to my water, I drank as much as I could and left with 2.75 liters. I didn’t want to run out and need to drink a lot.

Regarding the reroute around mm 41: this project may be done soon from the looks of it but, who knows. As noted in previous reviews of the trail, there is a house on Pull Tight Road that has roaming dogs that will come out and bark. I talked to the owner and he said that he didn’t realize that they scared hikers and has been “trying to put them up if he thinks people are out.” I have been by the house twice and haven’t had any issues with the dogs, just keep walking. On the other side of the reroute, there is a house with some chickens, Guineafowl and a Doberman named “Smoke”. Both the owner and dog are harmless. One wants to sniff you, the other wants to talk to you. You’ll have to sort out the details.

If you have any questions, let me know. I am not an expert but, am happy to help.

Also, Tim from Snappy Shuttle Service is a nice guy. Call him ahead of time to arrange a ride if needed. His rates are fair and running his service helps him stay connected to the community since his health keeps him off the trail these days.

Lots of spiders right now and no water. Wait until middle fall to late fall to hike this trail

We camped at Delaney Park (which is beautiful) with our scout troop. We hiked the Delaney park loop the first day and the Spurgeon Hollow Loop the second day. Both loops were great hikes. The rating of 'Hard' is accurate. There were many downed trees and muddy spots which added to the adventure! There was a section on the southern part of the Spurgeon Loop that was as beautiful a place as I have ever seen! Would recommend this to experienced hikers. Looking forward to hiking the rest of the KT sometime!

backpacking
10 months ago

My wife and I are beginner backpackers and decided on the Knobstone Trail for our first experience.....FAIL!!! This trail is a great trail...but very challenging. You need to be in good shape. We did not prepare well enough. On our way to the trail we cached water at Elk Creek and at Oxley trail heads. We stayed the night at Delaney Park the night prior to our hike and had a shuttle ride to Leota in the morning and then preceeded to hike back north to Delaney. Day one was punishing... constant up and downs...I mean CONSTANT. We were hurting. We only made it from Mile Marker 25 to about 31 1/2. We found a killer established campsite overlooking ElkCreek Lake. Got up the next morning and headed towards Oxley for our next water cache. We were hoping for easier time...however 2nd verse same as the first... UP and DOWN... climb -descend and repeat. It was painful. My wife was ready to give up. We finally got to our cache at Oxley and someone/something had messed with one of our jugs so we only had one. We decided to keep going for a while and made it to another awesome campsite at about Mile Marker 40. Our bodies were broke by this point. woke up in the morning and headed out to complete our hike at Delaney. The 3rd day was perfect hiking for us. There were a couple of ups and downs...but there was alot of flat walking which we really enjoyed. WARNING!!!!! There is a reroute around 40 1/2ish mile where you have to walk down a gravel road. There is a house on this road and there are 4 dogs that will come out barking and growling. Just keep walking...don't look at them and don't mess with them... we just walked right on through them and they left us alone. Funny story short... we had been passed by 3 DNR officers before the dog issue and then we ran into the same officers later and they said... "see you survived the dogs" What the ****!!! you guys could not have warned us. Anyways... great hike the rest of the way to Delaney and bam we were done. This was soooo hard...but I feel awesome now. I loved it and I plan on finishing the trail soon. My wife, well she says she will never step foot on the trail again :). FYI... if you buy the Knobstone guide book off Amazon.. it is old and the mile marks are off. There was also plenty of water for us to filter if we needed to.

Very challenging hike but worth it.

backpacking
11 months ago

Great trail. We hiked from Deam Lake to Spurgeon Hollow approx 45 miles. Parts of the trail could use some up keep due to fallen trees but overall great conditions.

hiking
Thursday, April 13, 2017

I hiked this trail counterclockwiase on a Saturday afternoon in early April. The trail was only wet in a few spots mostly near Spurgeon Lake. There was quite a variety of wild flowers: Jacob's Ladder, Trout Lily, White Trillium, Prairie Trillium, Phlox, Violets and Wood Poppy. There were a few trees down across the trail, but all had been made passable.

The terrain is pretty rugged and there were a few good vistas as the trees had not leafed out yet.

The trails is generally well maintained and marked, but there are two places where the trail runs straight down hill and the trail is severely eroded.

I spoke with a local fisherman after I got back to the trailhead and he said there are hills out there a billy goat wouldn't climb. He was referring to the second of the eroded spots, near the end of my route, where reinforcing bars that had held landscape timbers were protruding several inches out of the ground on steep, eroded slope. I wished I had my trekking poles.

backpacking
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Parked at the Deam Lake trailhead and hiked north to the Oxley Memorial trailhead on E. Banes Hollow Rd. 4 days 3 nights on late March. This trail was no joke with how steep the climbs were. Had some weird areas of what looked like an abandoned logging site for a few miles so there were just a whole bunch of cut down trees everywhere but for the most part it was good. Some good view as well. Also if you plan to do this trail, there are established campsites along the trail that i wish were marked somewhere. Most of them are at the tops of climbs and some have some amazing views for sunsets and sunrises. Not an easy trail.

Friday, March 24, 2017

I'm down to about 16 miles of this trail left.

backpacking
Monday, March 06, 2017

Backpacked between Pixley Knob Road and Deam Lake Trailhead. There had been some really nasty storms go through so we were not suprised to find several downed trees. Most could be climbed over but several required hike arounds. Trail was very clearly marked. Some significant climbs on this stretch. 2012 tornado damage area was spectacular to see.

it was a good trail, harder than I expected but still not too bad, I went after a couple hard rains so most of it was flooded, but not impassable, as long as you don't mind a little wading

hiking
Friday, December 30, 2016

nice trail, if blow down from tornado is removed will be even better. Lots of elevation change.

backpacking
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I have backpacked this loop several times over the years. This trail is typical of what you can expect on the KT. It is wonderful for training for the AT or Philmont. Last completed in June of 2016. It is great to see the northern portion opened again after being closed in 2014 & 2015. It is exactly what you would expect for the KT. Bring trekking poles - while the climbs are not long they do take a toll. Not for the beginning backpacker.

We did 11 miles last fall. This trail lets you get warmed up for about the first 4 miles, then after that your getting a work out.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The trail itself is actually 5.6 and is now closed for timber harvesting. About a mile and a half is still open, but you will have to turn back. Slightly disappointing.

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Simply beautiful...

backpacking
Monday, August 08, 2016

It's a good challenge. Lots of hills. The clear cuts that the trail goes through were terrible. No markers in those areas( all the trees with markers were taken down) and easy to get turned around in. Kind of makes you wonder why they call it resource management. Could definitely use some basic maintenance, but overall a good trail.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

great beautiful Trail one big downside extremely overcrowded

hiking
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Just hiked from the Oxley to the elk creek trailhead. The map said it was a little over 5m but my garmin gps showed almost 10m. We never got lost or went off trail so I'm not sure what is up with that. This is a challenging trail by the time I reached the last hill (felt like a mountain) I was beat.

Nice views and a little challenging. I enjoyed it. Not one of my favorites but definitely a cool trail.

Love it. It says it's hard but my 6 year old girl have done it, with some help tho.

Great hiking trail! Never get tired of hiking starve hollow. they have the 3 mile lake trail and then an even longer trail in the back if you want more of a 3 or more hour long trail.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Good trail for late fall and early spring. Summer time its extremely buggy.. as in lots of mosquitoes.

We hiked Vista Trail (by way of the Nature Trail and Lakeshore Loop Trail) and enjoyed the multiple ascents and descents. The trail was very challenging at times, though definitely worth the exertion. It was well-marked but some parts were a little overgrown, and we probably walked through poison ivy (so pants are recommended). We hiked on a Weds afternoon and didn't see any other hikers.

hiking
Monday, June 15, 2015

I've done this trail 3 times and it is now a yearly must for me. It is a challenge to get to the trail, but walking the wide trails along the knobs is a lot of fun. Fun trail!

hiking
Monday, April 13, 2015

Ok, this one got my heart beat up a bit!

hiking
Monday, February 02, 2015

Hiked trail 1, 10, 2 and trail 3. An enjoyable but strenuous hike. Trail 1 is a one mile hike to the top of the ridge that is picture worthy. Trail 10 is a three mile easy to follow trail off of trail 1. The first half of Trail 2 takes you to the top of the ridge with nice views. The second half is an enjoyable single track the criss crosses a quiet stream. Trail 3 is an easy 1 mile trail that took me back to the car. Bring a water bottle and your camera and enjoy this quality hike.

Completed a portion of the trail at Delaney Park. Parts were closed, so we had to make up some of our own route. One of the more challenging trails in Indiana.

Load More