1 year ago

I did this trail as an out and back today as part of a 10 mile wilderness hike. The trail starts as a side trail on the AT between Dickey Gap and Trimpi AT shelter and is marked with blue blazes although barely visible. From the AT this one mile trail was completely all downhill about 400 feet. It ended where it met with the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail but a sign on the AT said it would go all the way to Raccoon Branch Campground (3 miles point to point). There was a campsite with a privy on this trail so presumably plenty of AT hikers use this spot to camp. When I got to the campsite I lost the trail but found it crossing a creek to the right (south) side of the site as I approached it from the AT. The privy was 50 feet uphill (north) of the campsite.

While the trail was less maintained than the AT it was not a bushwhack situation. There are a couple of creek crossings and a few damp areas where feeder streams are making their way to Raccoon Branch. I saw some of the most peculiar types of fungus on this visit (pics uploaded). I tracked this trail (one way) in the app if you want to follow it.

I completed this un-blazed trail as part of a 10 mile wilderness hike in the Raccoon Branch Wilderness. The trail was within 100 feet of the Dickey Gap AT trail head going northbound and intersected the AT again within 50 feet of where the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail also crosses the AT. Initially, I passed the trail hiking the AT on my way to Trimpi shelter. On the way back I took this excursion since I knew it would lead me back to the trail head at route 651. I took pics of the signs at the beginning and end of this .7 mile long trail. Basically, the trail follows the top of the ridge that the AT parallels a little lower on the east side. It was a little overgrown with a few fallen trees. There was a bit of a climb, about a 150 feet over a quarter mile. I did see some bear scat a couple times on this trail. On the whole, it was a nice change of pace from the AT but a little less maintained than the AT. If you happen to do an out and back on this section of the AT you may as well take this route either going there or coming back.