hiking
Monday, September 19, 2016

This trail provides a nice break if you've been driving I-68 a couple of hours. From the Coopers Rock exit, take Rt. 73 east to the bottom of the mountain. Just before the bridge, there is a small gravel parking lot with two signs, both difficult to see from the road. A third sign, a few feet into the trail, is overgrown with autumn olive. After navigating around a large rock, you come to a bridge with rotten-looking floor boards. We crossed this bridge without difficulty by staying over the supporting logs. At the junction we turned left and walked uphill gradually through a very nice hardwood forest. After about half a mile, we came to another junction. At 5:30 PM without a map, we thought it was best to turn right and walk downhill along the creek. We passed through an old stand of hemlocks. While I'm not sure if they are virgin timber, it was one of the oldest and healthiest hemlock groves I've seen in a while. At the bottom of the hill we thought we might be looking at a spot where hikers could ford the creek, possibly walking upstream to connect with the trail we didn't take. A few feet later, a sharp right turn took us back to approach trail. We walked about a mile overall.

The loop was much better maintained than the approach. We wondered if this trail has had inappropriate use, if it's a "best kept secret," or if it's primarily a WVU classroom for forestry students. I'd love to find a map and see if this connects with any other trails.