The Ramsey's Draft Loop is beautiful with ridge line valley
views, springs and streams but is tiring with long
ascents and knob traverses on the 11.0 mile first day. Unlike
most ridge trails the Bald Ridge Trail is a long series of
ascents and descents of six knobs. It is 6+ hours of hiking
to one of several great camp spots anywhere from Hiner Spring
and below. Also note that some portions of the trails are hard
to spot and not well marked.
Start out at the end of the parking lot for 150
yards then turn right where a trail will cross Ramsey's Draft.
We needed to go about 50 yards upstream to find a low
water spot to cross. Follow the trail as it begins to ascend
the mountain for the longest steepest section of the loop as
it winds up to the ridge in 2.0 miles.
At the ridge turn left
as the trail you have been following now continues
down the other side of the mountain. Follow the ridge trail 4.5
miles (yellow diamond marked in places) as it crosses The Peak,
Bald Ridge Knob, The Pinnacle and Gordon Peak before arriving
at the next trail junction.
There is a small clearing with a trail coming in from the right
and pond to your left. Continue around the pond on the right
side where the trail continues uphill, then descends and in 1.7
miles arrives at the next trail junction.
Turn hard left at this junction and gradually ascend
for 1.3 miles to arrive at Hiner Spring. There are several good
camp sites here.
Turn hard left downhill staying to the left of the stream down
the valley (the trail does not become apparent for about 150
yards as it passes over rocks). In 0.3 miles you will pass several
great camp sites. Choose one for your camping spot.
Continue down the trail as crosses the steam and
in 0.4 miles turns more to the right. For the next
3.0 miles you will cross Ramsey's Draft several more times before
arriving at the intersection of the Jerry's Run Trail that comes
in from the right.Cross the draft again continuing down the
trail as it crosses back and forth several more times for 2.1
miles where you will arrive at the next rail intersection.
Stay left continuing next to the draft for the
remaining 0.1 miles back to the parking area.
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Reviews For The Ramseys Draft Hike (5 Most Recent)
The 1st day (~11 miles) lived up to its difficulty in terms of ascents, but is definitely doable in about 5 hours or so. The 2nd day was more mild, but has the added feature of plenty of stream crossings (of the 3 people in our party, only 1 foot made it through without taking a dunk in the stream). It should be noted the trail has a large amount of fallen trees across it. The trees range from small logs to large 4ft diameter trunks. Personally I enjoyed the character this added to the hike and was impressed with how high my dog could jump.
Following the trail and hitting the turns was not an issue. While the blazing is sparse in some areas if you follow the topo and associated directions you'll be fine. If you're worried you'll miss the turn, you can always use a little dead reckoning to keep yourself in check.
Solitude wise this hike was great. While the parking lot was full when we arrived, we saw only a pair of mountain bikers on the trail the entire trip.
My biggest complaint is that campsites are accumulating a bit of trash. The great part about this trail is it is not really maintained and as such is a little rough, but this also means no one polices the campsites. If you do this hike and you see some trash do everyone a favor and take some out with you.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 17, 2015
I'll preface this by saying I'm a relatively inexperienced hiker compared to some on this site. I've done probably 10 overnight trips overall.
I thought this was a very good hike overall. Reading these reviews I was a little nervous about getting lost and poison ivy. However, me and my friend did this hike in the fall and we had a great time. We lost the trail once before we hit the pond that the directions mention, but it's easy to find again. I could see how this trail would be overgrown in the summer, but for us it was easy to keep track of overall. I didn't see much poison ivy, just a few plants here and there.
-There is one great view that we saw
-Awesome camp sight, plenty of campfires and logs to sit on, as well as firewood. When we went there were 2 other groups at the campsight, but the closest group was at least 200 feet away. It's a really big sight with lots of area.
-The second day is extremely easy going (at least compared to the first day).
-There are streams at the campsight and all along the trail the second day so you don't really need to worry about water.
-The first day is pretty brutal.
-No good view of the sky from the camp sight, but that might not be a con to some people.
Overall I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone, but beware that the first day is pretty strenuous.
Date of Hike: Thursday, August 13, 2015
Hiked and camped August 13-16. The lower Ramsey's Draft trail had lots of Poison Ivy, as other reviewers have noted. It cannot be avoided on this section, so long pants are advised. The upper section has copious downed trees over the trail. We returned via the Bald ridge trail. I lost the trail about 1k southwest of The Pinacle. I returned to the ridge and re walked the known section twice, but couldn't find it. Bushwhacked southwest to Ramsey's draft, saw lots of "wilderness). People who do the loop counter clockwise seem to have better luck staying on the trail, according to the other reviews I read. Overall this was a great experience, but I would caution that there is not much water on the ridge lines, so plan accordingly. Take a map and compass - you may need it! Personnaly, iD like to see a few more trail markers....they were scarce. Only saw two people in 4 days!
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 08, 2015
The bald ridge trail was very overgrown with thorns and saplings, be sure to wear some thick pants. Camp site at hiner springs was beautiful. There is plenty of camping all along the trail if you feel like stopping before or after the springs. The walk back along Ramsey's draft was very nice and less overgrown, but still be prepared to push through a lot of foliage. The trees fallen across the trail weren't a problem. Overall, this could be a very good hike with a bit of machete work.
Date of Hike: Sunday, June 28, 2015
I'm w/ Game 12, this is one of my all time favorite hikes, ever, anywhere, anytime!!! YES, I did get my first and only case of poison ivy here - it is terribly overgrown - but I EARNED that poison ivy and had an AMAZING time getting it! (And have been back many, many time....just wear long pants).
THIS IS THE FREAKIN' WILDERNESS AND EVERY BIT OF JOY AND BEAUTY THAT GOES WITH IT!!! Thank goodness it is overgrown, thank goodness folks are NOT out there w/ saws doing 'trail maintenance', thank goodness it's a mess! If you want maintenance hike in Shenandoah National Park, a favorite place of mine, but nothing compares to WILD! I tore large amounts of skin off my left leg trying to get across a fallen hemlock, and goodness it hurt for weeks, but I CROSSED A FALLEN HEMLOCK THAT WAS PROBABLY 300-400 YEARS OLD! I can't say I've ever done that anywhere else nor will I get the chance. This is virgin forest...these are GIANT hemlocks - sadly, all dying - but my boys and I got to cross over (or crawl under) them...my grandchildren may not. PLEASE leave them across the trail, what a treat! Not to mention the fairy-tale-like ferns and underground streams you can only hear if you REALLY listen and there are no other voices around...it's all magical. Enjoy the wilderness as you can't experience it elsewhere....