Off The Beaten Track Volume V: A Guide to Mountain Biking in Northern Virginia
by Jim Parham (Milestone Press)
© Jim Parham/Milestone Press. All Rights Reserved.
This hike starts out at the elevation of 3000 feet on Great North Mountain. The parking area for the North Mountain trail will hold about 5 cars. We made a circuit hike along North Mountain, Fall Ridge, Laurel Run road and Laurel Run trail (a 10.6 mile loop).
There is a wonderful overlook about 2/3’s of a mile from the beginning of the North Mountain trail. One could call it Buzzard or Bird Rock because as we approached, several buzzards took flight from their warm sunny perch there. It overlooks the spine of rock running just below North Mountain trail. One could see as far as Spruce Knob and Dolly Sods to the southwest.
As we continued along the ridge, I couldn’t help admiring the rock cliffs around Snyder Knob off to our right. This would be virtually invisible from the trail during foliage season.
We made it to the intersection with Fall Ridge and took the fork to the left. I think a more appropriate name would be Pine Ridge, as the path was carpeted at various points with browned pine needles.
We eventually hit Laurel Run road, which is a well-maintained woods road. After the road walk, we came to Laurel Run trail. The beginning of the run was cloaked in rhododendron bushes, succeeded by mountain laurel bushes as we ascended the trail. We knew all along that the uphill was coming. Starting at 3000 feet and descending to 1800 promised a 1200-foot ascent. Not a feat to be taken lightly.
Sign in/up to upload photos.
Keep Me Informed
Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.
We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.