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
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.
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
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
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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Topo Hike Map (PDF)
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Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Laurel Run hike:
Reviews For The Laurel Run Hike (5 Most Recent)
If you like exercise, companionship, superduper views, calorie burning, and all the civiilized reasons to go for a walk, go to Big Schloss (pop. 23,000 or so depending on day). The city fathers there will be happy to hand you the key.
If you want views, beautiful mountain country, and solitude, come here. (And don't bring your zip code with you.)
The trailhead is harder to get to. You will doubt yourself and the directions more than once. You may have to do a two-mile road walk you didn't plan for. You WILL do some roadwalking. You will pass clearcuts growing back. The climb on the Laurel Run Trail is on one of the least pleasing treadways you will walk. So do yourself a favor on the way up stop at the clearings and look around a bit.
I would pick this one over Big Schloss any day. On a beautiful (!) Saturday in June, I had seen my last of eight people (solo duo party of five) by the time I hit the first view on North Mountain. North Mountain has a feel of high and remote all the way, even if you aren't at that moment seeing one of the excellent views. Bald Ridge in the Ramseys Draft Wilderness is the only other ridge walk that has made me feel exactly that way.
It was great to look over at Tibbets Knob and the Schloss and not be able to see the throngs there. They are actually nicer from a distance, particularly if the "distance" you are looking from is here.
Date of Hike: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
This was an enjoyable hike, but not one that I'll be likely to rave about I really only came out to Laurel Run because the access road to Big Schloss (my original intention) was closed and this was close by. I did have to hike the extra mile out and back on this hike because the gate was down, but the walk was pretty and I wanted more mileage anyway, so it wasn't a problem. The big disappointment here was that after the 2-mile slog up to the ridge from the trailhead, there weren't any decent views looking west, even given winter's bare treelimbs. I believed that West Virginia lay over there to my right, but I just couldn't find any proof of it.
Along the ridge there were some patches of snow, sometimes a few inches deep, but these disappeared completely once I started the quick descent back to 252. I tried following one of the wagon trails across from the bottom of the Stack Rocks Trail to cut off the last corner, but it petered out in a big meadow and I bushwhacked down to a creek instead, only moderately successful in the end.
Date of Hike: Sunday, September 18, 2011
The ATC and Forestry Service are currently working on the trail, clearing debris and making it better- so when we hiked the trail the hill going up was a little rough here and there as it was sometimes soft where the trucks and equipment (bobcats etc) had been working. After the first hill, there are plenty of spots once to catch a view and spend some time staring out into the valley and looking at the rolling mountains.
The one thing I will mention- I did not find Wil's Point overlook- if it is a formal one there is no sign for it- but do not worry about it- there are plenty of great views out there!
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 20, 2010
Decent hike, but there are better in the area. First 2 miles were pretty strenuous, definitely a good work out. Views along the ridge are nice. The descent can be dangerous, as it was covered with leaves. Took us 4 hours with a 30 minute lunch (gate was open).
Hike was a little crowded due to a boyscout retreat, but other than that there were only a few other hikers.
All in all, I'd recommend, but only after you've tried some of the other hikes in the area first.
Date of Hike: Saturday, September 18, 2010
First gate was open that saved 1 mile. First 2 miles is steadily up very rocky trail. Lack of views on Stack Rock trail (could not find). We are 60 and it took us 5 hours including lunch.