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backpacking
1 month 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.

geocaching
2 months ago

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

on Knobstone Trail

hiking
2 months ago

on Knobstone Trail

hiking
2 months ago

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
5 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
7 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.

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
7 months ago

backpacking
7 months ago

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.