DISTANCE
9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,260 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

hiking
2 months ago

Don't know what defines a great hike. This was fun for someone up for a challenge. A lot of water and considerable bushwacking. We hiked in from Skyline Drive east on the Hazel Mountain Trail. At the intersection with White Rocks Trail we turned northeast so we did the trail somewhat in reverse. Several trees down on the White Rocks Trail before the falls. At the falls spur, I would suggest you leave your packs at the top and take only what you need to the falls (it is a scramble.) Continuing on White Rocks after the falls, there is a great camping site to the left of the trail. Several trees down on this section of White Rocks Trail before you get to the intersection of the Hazel River Trail. Good camping spot at the intersection of the White River Trail and the Hazel River Trail before crossing the Hazel River although the dampness of the spot leads me to believe it gets a little swamped during heavy rains. Hazel River was at Spring levels so we had to ford the river. Hazel River Trail southwest seemed totally blocked. We continue east along the Hazel River. We found a couple of logs to cross over at one point but all others required fording. (Bring sneakers or watershoes to change out of hiking boots.) Intersected the Sam Ridge Trail heading southeast and then turning back to the southwest. Seemed like we were climbing all the way-constant uphill and switchbacks. Piles of fall leaves led me to believe Sam Ridge Trail is not hiked much. Sam Ridge Trail is measured at 2 miles. Both my senses and my fitbit tells me it is a lot longer. We camped on the mountain just .5 miles before the intersection of the Sam Ridge Trail with the Hazel Mountain Trail ( Not optimum but there are several nice flat spots to the right of the trail.) After we rejoined the Hazel Mountain Trail, we had to do a lot of bushwacking as there were big trees down between here and where the Hazel Mountain Trail intersects the Hazel River Trail. As we passed by the Hazel River Trail we looked northeast down the trail and all we could see were downed trees. We continued northwest on the Hazel Mountain Trail. Several downed trees across the trail that we had to climb over or scoot under. Forded the Hazel one more time. Completed the loop where Hazel Mountain Trail and White Rocks Trail once again meet then headed back to Skyline Drive.