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)
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....
Date of Hike: Monday, May 25, 2015
Game 11.... Seriously? This is by FAR one of the best wilderness areas in VA. Period. Hiked the whole outer boundary of the area and based on your review, you went straight up the draft.... Trails are not the best marked, but if you follow what is listed on this site, you can follow it.
Happy hiking, but Ramsey's is a 6++++ in my book
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
I chose this hike based in large part on the glowing reviews on this website and others. I felt completely blindsided by the neglected maintenance on this trail. Now, looking at the review dates, I am guessing something has recently changed in the management of the trail recently. While I recognize that the area is designated wilderness, the lack of maintenance goes WAY beyond a wilderness. It's just straight up neglect.
Immediately upon leaving the parking lot, the trail was covered in poison ivy - so much it was impossible to avoid. As we hiked up the Ridge Trail, the trail became more and more closed in by invasive bushes, brush, and even saplings. At various points, I became convinced we were off the trail, only to look up and see the remnants of an old yellow diamond on a tree. There were only two views on the ridge trail - the area was entirely closed in by growth. While the first view was very nice, I wouldn't call this hike a 5 for views overall. The lower area of the trail near Ramsey's Draft was beautiful, with many gorgeous campsites. There are lots and lots of enormous blowdowns, but none that are impossible to get over/under. I personally enjoy some good river fords, so no complaints there. Odds are your feet will get wet. Plan accordingly, don't be dumb :)
In a nutshell... if you go, wear pants, be proactive about tick prevention, and plan on spending a lot of time bushwhacking. If you have a bad reaction to poison ivy, just don't go - you cannot avoid it for a quarter of the hike.
I have never left a negative review of anything in my life. I'm truly not a whiner: I have thru-hiked the entire A.T., grew up hiking in Virginia, and have logged hundreds of hours maintaining local trails. I never thought I would say this, but I will never be returning to this trail (unless some brave soul PLEASE sets up a work trip!)
Date of Hike: Saturday, January 10, 2015
This hike was... interesting. As a winter hike, it provides a number of obstacles, mostly streams, to overcome. I friend and I made it past the first stream after several minutes of plotting. We decided to get down to our underwear, wade across, dry off and continue on. Not the best plan, but it worked.
Overall the trail was everything as advertised in other comments. One or two nice views, beautiful streams, and ample solitude. It was also rather difficult. I'm a young guy who exercises often. It was a challenge, but not ridiculous either. Just enough to feel like you accomplished something.
All of this refers only to the first half of the trail. Somewhere along the way we got lost and we came out at a dirt road. Eventually we hitch hiked back to the parking lot (we were WAY off).
My only gripe is lack of signs. I'm still very green to hiking and I do take 90% responsibility for getting lost, but at major trail intersections, something would have helped a newbie.
Date of Hike: Friday, May 23, 2014
My friend and I just hiked this trail. We went up the ridge and over to Hiner Springs for the night. The hike was a bit tougher than I had expected however, I have not hiked in a while and am a bit out of shape. I think the 5/6 rating suits this hike fine. It's a beautiful hike, with various sceneries and divers flora and fauna. Luckily, we beat the crowd this memorial day weekend and we did not see anyone during the Friday hike (we got there around 1 and arrived at Hiner springs around 8. Since I am a herpetology enthusiast, we did stop to take pictures of beautiful timber rattlers and other reptiles and amphibians. There was no one at Hiner Springs and we had the whole campsite to ourselves. The water at the springs is spectacular. We were also met by 4 deer who just hung out at the campsite with us. The hike down Ramsey's draft was a bit difficult due to the fact that I was very sore, again, I'm out of shape! Crossing Ramsey's draft gets a bit harder as you go along due to the fact that the stream starts getting wider and wider. If you don't mind getting your feet wet, then it's no problem. It is important to note that there are many fallen trees along the trail, some of them pretty big. The trail sometimes gets hard to find both on the way to Hiner springs and on Ramsey's Draft trail. You just have to pay attention and you'll find it eventually. In conclusion, do not let this hike fool ya, it is a tough hike especially if you plan on doing the whole loop. Regardless, it is worth it. I recommend this hike if you are into various ecosystems, Virginia's native fauna and flora, beautiful sceneries, and combining it with a workout!