Pine Mountain Trail: Highland Section East to West

HARD 15 reviews
#7 of 15 trails in

Pine Mountain Trail: Highland Section East to West is a 11.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Pound, Virginia that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.6 miles Elevation Gain: 3,494 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dogs on leash



horseback riding

mountain biking

bird watching






wild flowers


over grown

washed out

Strenuous. Road walk along much of its length. Poorly marked. Occasional very good views. A ridge walk along wooded, forest roads and single track that includes large elevation gains and losses that should not be underestimated. Abundant private property adjoins the trail, often spoiling the experience. Water is scarce, but may be reliably found in at least two places.

Great trail. Peaceful hike

8 months ago

Recently completed this trail, it’s amazing and so beautiful! VERY well maintained. Still caught it in cool early spring so I think as the weather warms up the plant life will be even more spectacular. Bright yellow trail markers are well placed and easy to spot! The all trails app isn’t fully accurate for the trail but still useful. The real trail length is about 15 miles. The trail is very difficult with lots of ups and downs. I highly recommend viewing the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail website as they have detailed downloadable maps that are accurate and list all the campsites, shelters, and water sources. There is also the ability to schedule a shuttle which we did - very friendly awesome service, and the driver had an even newer map of the section. Started at the Marathon gas station at Pound Gap in the evening on day 1, hiked about 1.7 miles to the first campsite (very nice! Had fire pit, bear poles, and designated flat tent spaces although we used hammocks). Day 2 was long and difficult, but lots of scenic overlooks to make it worth it. Accidentally got off trail for 0.5 miles, which is where all-trails app became useful for locating ourselves and seeing we were on a little spur. Late on day 2 we realized we wouldn’t make it to a designated spot so we were able to find a nice area to hammock camp and have some nice rock coverage (Baker’s rock). Day 3 in the morning hiked out the final ~3 miles back to the car. Did not see any bears, but we saw lots of bear prints, droppings, and even found a little den with berries inside. Overall- highly recommend checking this out: beautiful views, well maintained, quiet, lots of designated areas, good water sources, easy to follow trail markers (just make sure you often look for the bright yellow marker so you stay on trail). Bring plenty of snacks and sustenance for the difficulty!!

Thu Nov 22 2018

nice trail for most of the way, it gets a little hairy when you pass the tucker gap sign and the trail is redirected to aboid private property. I'd suggest not going when leaves are on the trees so you can see all the markers more easily. i got pretty lost in the summer for about an hour before finding the trail again.

Wed Jul 19 2017

Challenging hike. Trail follows a saw-tooth ridge so expect a lot of elevation change. Trail was overgrown this time of year but was still enjoyable. Next time I'll try it in the fall. Recommend heading to the nearby Kingdom Come State Park and hitting some of their day hikes as well.

Tue Feb 28 2017

This trail was difficult, thanks to a local that helped us find our way out. It wasn't mark well, other than that, we had a wonderful hike.

Fri Oct 28 2016

We hiked from the VA/KY state line to Ravens Nest. It's not a very long distance but reasonably challenging. Very steep, rocky areas but well maintained. There's even been rebar steps added on some of the more difficult spots within the year. The blazes are clearly marked but can be a bit misleading as some are a different shade of yellow & some are updated as yellow reflectors. Several breathtaking viewpoints. Take time & enjoy it. Well worth the effort. Gorgeous during the fall!!

Mon May 16 2016

Beautiful and a very difficult hike

Wed Mar 30 2016

We hiked this trail from Elkhorn to US 23 (which is not as far as we intended). The trail was poorly marked and caused a lot of extra mileage for us on this trip walking down the wrong trail. Most of the trip this direction was uphill and some places were rather steep (no switchbacks). This trail was featured on Backpacker Magazine and the mileage was off by a lot per our GPS. Picture I posted was near the lookout tower, but we did not see it due to heavy rain at the time. Tower was near a very nice shelter. The trail got so light and hard to read a few miles past the lookout that it was nearly impossible to follow. A few light blazes (faded paint strips on trees) were spotted, but the trail was not evident. There were some hard crossings on rocks and at one point we got on all fours to cross as either side was a very steep drop. There is a very nice man who drove us from his place at the top of Pine Mountain to Elkhorn and then drove the car back (for $60 I believe). He parked it at US 23 for us since we were not going to make it to the end in time. Probably added 15 miles of walking due to misleading or no signs. Picture of the GPS route was only for 2 days, but you can see waypoints marked further down. Trail stops at the nice shelter, and leg you see was getting water at water supply (Angle Falls I think it was called). Don't have any regrets, but this was a tough hike.

Mon Oct 08 2012

I lead a group of hikers along the Pine Mountain Trail (PMT) from US 23 to Elkhorn City on October 27-30, 2012. Much of the Trail, especially between US 23 and Grassy Gap was poorly marked, or more often, not marked at all. The trailhead near US 23 was a challenge to find. It is not signed and no one in the vicinity knew anything about it. Walking toward Mullins Pond on our second day, we found the combination of intersecting, unmarked junctions, lack of blazes and numerous private property signs to be utterly confusing. We really struggled, even with the resources of a compass, a GPS, the official PMT map, and occasionally Google Earth. We met several very polite and dedicated trail volunteers on our third day. One volunteer apologized for the lack of blazes on the earlier sections of the trail and the lack of trail maintenance. Continuing toward Elkhorn City, we experienced somewhat better trail markings and evidence of some recent trail maintenance. We walked past the trail turn off near Skegg Overlook and ended up making do with a steep Forest road decent to Elkhorn City. Water was available along this trail at Birch Knob Spring (seasonal), year-round at Mullins Pond and Goldfish Pond during our trip. A great looking new shelter was under construction at Birch Knob.

Thu Dec 28 2017

Sat Nov 18 2017

Sat Sep 30 2017