11 reviews
Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hiked this trail going clockwise from the state park during fall break. Me and 2 friends had a great time and a memorable hike! Have read the other awesome trail reports and thought I would share some lessons learned from my first time on this trail.
1. As others have stated there is no water in the creeks except for 2 ponds close to deadmans gap. There have been some reports that the reliable water source is a mudhole, and there is a muddier pond. One is clear as a bell. This one is on a wide side trail that only leads to the clear pond about 200 yards off the main trail. Pulled out the life straw and hydrated up on the clear cold water.
2. We only cached water at deadmans gap and packed the rest. However, there were plenty of other places to cache! Several gravel roads cross the trail path, which were marked "unpaved trail" on the garmin. Would have been easy to not pack as much water and lighten the load. Look for these roads on google maps or a park map. Several hunter permanant camps are there are the roads are well traveled.
3. Rocks rocks rocks! The trails are extremely rocky most of the way and wearing my stiffer boots would have been a good thing. My lighter boots made the small rocks really get to the bottom of my feet. The rocks didnt make it treacherous, just rougher hiking for your feet and ankles. Plan ahead.
4. Another reviewer posted that he did the trail counter clockwise to do the hard part first. I would choose that route if going again as the ascents were tough at the end when we were out of gas.

Loved this hike! Camped 2 nights. Lots of deadwood. Will go again in the spring when its wetter.