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Laurel Run - Columbia Furnace, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
8.8 mls
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5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,100 ft
George Washington National Forest
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Parking directions are for the first area and the closed gate at Laurel Run. If the gate is open, continue for another 1.1 miles and park on just before yellow marked trail closed gate.
Note: Forestry Road 252 has private property on either side before re-entering the GWNF and reaching the parking area. Do Not camp or park on private property. 38.88885, -78.72940

The Laurel Run/Stack Rocks circuit has some of the best views in the area. The panoramic views along orange blazed North Mountain Trail are spectacular on a clear day. If the first gate is closed just before Laurel Run you will have to park just before crossing Laurel Run. The hike will be 8.8 miles long from this point. If the gate is open you can avoid the extra out and back on FDR252 by parking 1.1 miles further at the yellow blazed Laurel Run Trail entrance reducing the hike to 6.6 miles.

If you park a the first gate start the hike by walking 1.1 miles up FDR252 before arriving at the start of the loop where the closed gate and yellow blazed Laurel Run Trail turns to your right.

Start up the yellow blazed trail and in one hundred yards arrive at a split in the trail. Bear left continuing up yellow blazed Laurel Run Trail for 2.1 miles. The trail will pass through two wildlife clearings before winding back and forth becoming steeper as it gets close to the mountain ridge. Just before reaching the junction of the North Mountain Trail, Laurel Run Trail will pass a small pond on your left.

Arrive at the junction of the North Mountain Trail and a forestry service road. Orange blazed North Mountain Trail will turn left. Take the orange blazed trail for 0.7 miles and look for a white blazed side trail that will take you to the Wil's Point Overlook.

Continue for another 1.6 miles as the orange blazed trail crosses over two more knolls on the mountain before arriving at the junction of the purple blazed Stack Rocks Trail.

Turn left downhill on the purple blazed Stack Rocks Trail as it winds steeply downhill for 1.3 miles before arriving at the junction of the blue blazed FDR252 road.

Turn left on blue blazed FDR252 for 0.9 miles as it winds back around the valley to the starting point of the loop and yellow blazed Laurel Run Trail on your left.

If you had to park at the lower parking area continue down FDR252 for the remaining 1.1 miles back to the lower parking area.

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Hiker Reviews For The Laurel Run Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Todd H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 29, 2015
Overall a pretty blah hike. Definitely doesn't rate the "5" it has for views. You will spend 98% of the hike looking at foliage. First opportunity for an actual view was at Will's Point overlook. Great views from there to the east...to include several logged areas...and to the south/south west. No opportunity to see anything to the west even though you're on top of the ridge line- just way too much foliage. A few more overlooks along the ridge line but the same views as Will's Point. If you're considering doing this hike, do it when the leaves are fallen, then you can probably see a lot more, but I would not recommend this hike when there are so many better options.

By: Lynn Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
I hiked it with a group of 7 other casual hikers. It was a great day - 75 and sunny. The mountain laurel just started to bloom and there were Pink Lady Slippers everywhere - a treat we didn't expect. A well maintained trail, the ascent was long and didn't allow you to take in the nature as you watched your footing. The pond was full of tadpoles and made a nice first stop. We enjoyed the ridgeline views even though we missed the white trail to Will's Overlook. We stopped again at the start of the Stacked Rocks before the descent. Overall, a great hike. We finished in 5.5 hours.

By: Jess Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 09, 2014
This hike, overall, was beautiful. The foliage was just beginning to change and it was a crisp, cool day. However, be warned the trail is very rocky and with the leaves all over the trail its hard to see what you're stepping on. Also, I completely missed the "side trail" to the outlook so keep a sharp eye out for the white blaze once you hit North Mountain Trail. However, once you do hit North Mountain Trail, it's vista after vista and quite a view. The mountain meadows are also gorgeous. The directions are dead on when they warn that the decent is steep, as well as rocky (I rolled my ankle twice in good hiking boots). However, on our way down we saw a bald eagle which I havent seen in about two years now so that was a great treat. Read more about my experience here: http://appalachianhikinglove.blogspot.com/2014/10/hiking-laurel-run.html

By: Manabouttown Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 20, 2014
Hiked the ridgeline portion of this hike this weekend as an overnight out and back with my daughter (4 1/2 years old).  We parked on 691 just up from the trail and hiked to just shy of the stacked rocks trail.  Found a nice campsite just off the trail (there were a few better closer to 691) and pitched our tent.  The views were great breaks for my little one, but would have been amazing all along the trail once the leaves are down off of the trees.  As for solitude, we saw one group of four traveling counter clockwise just after we started, but no one else wandered by all night or the next day.  It took us hours to go the few miles across the top, but again, the little one is only four, but she had a good time.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 07, 2014
This is the second time I've done this hike and both were great (though a month ago there were zero ticks!). First time I went counterclockwise as suggested, and this time I went clockwise. I prefer clockwise, as the workout is better at the beginning. The gate was open both times, so that cut off a mile hiking in. First time, I saw no other hikers and the second I saw two, so if you're looking for solitude and a few BEAUTIFUL views from the top, do this hike. It's one of many great ones in the area (Halfmoon Mountain and Little Schloss are two others). Saw a few ruffed grouse with their chicks - so cute. :) And a month ago, the purple blazed trail was lined with lady slippers. I preferred it in late April compared to now, but it's still a great, nicely maintained trail. The campsite next to the pond on the yellow trail would be a peaceful place to stay a night, but maybe in cooler weather (the bugs are awful, as they are now everywhere!).

    View all 28 reviews for the Laurel Run hike
Mid July
Early February (photos provided by Patty)
 
Mid March

Late April

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