Chief Benge Scout Trail

MODERATE 2 reviews
#9 of 13 trails in

Chief Benge Scout Trail is a 17.2 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Coeburn, Virginia that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
17.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1883 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Coeburn or Norton, VA: Two trailheads: Head south of Coeburn on Rt. 72 to Rt. 664 (about 2 miles). Turn west on Rt. 664 for about 1 mile to Forest Service Road 700. Take 700 southeast to Forest Service Road 701. Head south on 701 which takes you to the parking lot. To reach the other trailhead take Rt. 619 south up the mountain for 3.7 miles. Turn left on Forest Service 238. Travel east 1.6 miles and you will see the campground entrance road. Follow it for 1.7 miles. Park by the observation tower.

hiking
1 month ago

It was a cool Sunday morning for August, upper forties as Boy Scout Troop 86 started out on a 20 mile hike to complete the hiking merit badge. We started at High Knob tower on our journey. The sun was shining bright across the distant mountains with hints of fog in the low valleys. You could feel it was a great day for a hike.
By the the end of the first half mile it was time to shed the light jacket. At mile one was the flat still water of High Knob Lake surrounded with mountain laurel. The overlook at the dam is a great backdrop for pictures. From this point on it was a fast pace to Mountain Fork. We stoped for a quick break and a snack. The trail to this point was well marked, and a down hill grade was making for a fast hike. The first five miles went quick. However at about mile six we turned to a uphill grade not bad but still uphill. Then the cobblestone type rock started for the next two miles. It made for a little harder hike. But still a great day to be in the woods. As we neared Edith Gap we ran into a horse trail blazed with orange paint. It was better marked than Chief Benge Trail. Some of the orange had faded almost looking yellow. This almost caused a wrong turn for us on the trail. At Edith Gap we took our next stop and ate a light lunch.
After lunch it was back to a quick pace on our way to Bark Camp Lake. From this point on it was back to a downhill grade for the most part. It was a welcomed site to see the long foot bridge of the backwaters of Bark Camp Lake. We knew we were over half way through. As we rounded the lake it was obviously low on water. We made it up to the dam and found out why. The Lake was drawn down to make repairs to the dam. We ran into signs saying Trail closed for construction. At this point we were not turning around and going back, so across the fresh graded soil we went. We seen several critter tracks in the damp ground, one of witch was a black bear paw print. It was as big as my hand, quite impressive I must say. At Bark Camp we made a quick stop to rest some tired feet before continuing on to Stoney Falls.
As we started back on the trail it was back through the dam construction. This made it harder to locate how the trail progressed below the dam. But yellow blazing was found and on to Stoney Falls we hiked. Still on the downhill grade it made for easygoing. When we arrived at the falls it was obvious it was a popular place to visit. Over ten vehicles in the parking area and several families out enjoying the day. From the falls on it is a beautiful three miles to Hanging Rock where our ride awaited us.
All in all it was a great hike with a total of fifty nine stream crossings. I would do it agin if I have the opportunity. But it does make for some tired Boy Scouts.

5 months ago

This is an incredible trail and my favorite to date. Beautiful scenery. Tiny waterfalls, and amazing native brook trout streams along the way, all leading to the High Knob tower or to Little Stony falls depending on where you begin the trip. I recommend starting at the tower because Little Stony is a marvelous destination. It is very well marked and there are lots of water crossings so plan accordingly. I have completed a 2 day hike and a thru hike (8 or so hours) on this trail. I would consider myself an experienced hiker and would rate this trail as hard but not treacherous by any means. Plenty of access to water that can be filtered or boiled almost the entire trip.