beautiful views on Tar Jacket Ridge are often overlooked
with the spectacular vistas from
Mount Pleasant and Cold Mountain
just next door. The vista from Tar Jacket Ridge offers views of
The Cardinal,The Friar, and The Little Friar. This hike is at
its best as a two day backpack in the Fall or Spring when the
leaves are off the trees.
From the parking area at
Log Camp Gap head north on the white blazed Appalachian
Trail (AT) as it ascends Tar Jacket Ridge where in 0.5 miles you
arrive at a view to the west of
Big Butt and Jump Mountains west of I81. Continue to the top
of Tar Jacket Ridge for one of the best vistas on this section
of the AT. The
vista north is of The Cardinal, The Friar, and the Little
Friar; along with the views east of Mount Pleasant.
Continue down Tar Jacket Ridge for 1.1 miles where the AT
crosses FR634 at
Salt Log Gap. If you are doing this hike in the Fall there
are numerous apple trees of different flavors here. Continue
north on the AT and
cross another forestry road in 1.1 miles.
From this point the AT will cross over a small spur and reach
the intersection of the blue blazed Lovingston Spring Trail in
another 0.5 miles. The Lovingston Spring Trail is a shorter
route to the Seely/Woodworth Shelter that loops around back to
the AT, and is the return route for the hike listed here.
On the return route take the blue blazed Lovingston Spring
Trail for some different scenery. The trail heads north for 0.3
miles where it makes an abrupt turn to the southwest at Twin
Springs. The trail climbs over Elk Pond Mountain and in 1.3
miles passes an
old hunting trailer then joins a narrow forestry road.
Continue to follow the blue blazes and forestry road for 0.5
miles where the blue blazed trail
turns off the road to the right. From this intersection it
is 0.2 miles before the trail crosses the same forestry road and
climbs over a spur of Rocky Mountain then arriving back at the
intersection of the AT.
Turn right/south on the AT to follow the trail back past Salt
Log Gap, along Tar Jacket Ridge before arriving back at the
parking area at Log Camp Gap.
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Reviews For The Tar Jacket Ridge Hike (5 Most Recent)
Did and out-and-back Tar Jacket Ridge + Spy Rock (about 22 mi pretty flat w/ no big climbs.) The first couple of views about 0.5 mi in were absolutely spectacular. Sun was just up and due to rain the previous night, puffy clouds were still down in the valley with several peaks poking through. Very quiet--only saw 3 other people the whole day, all N-S thru-hikers. More like being enveloped in the forest, which can be just as magical and exciting as big views. There are a few of the latter along the way, and you'll have them all to yourself. Lots of birds singing. A few trees just starting to change, a little bit of orange, red, and yellow against a carpet of green. On the return trip stayed on the AT, though the blue blazed trail is well-marked.
Date of Hike: Saturday, June 02, 2012
Hiked in on 2 June 2012 and returned on 3 June 2012 following the directions listed here. It was a perfect weekend for hiking. Following the extreme storms that traveled across the state the previous day, we were pleasantly surprised to see the AT was in GREAT shape. In fact, we came across someone weedwhacking the trail near the pictureseque rock overlook (it's a great campsite & rest stop - don't miss it). We agree with the others' assessments of this hike in terms of the stretches that are more strenuous than others. Overall, though, this was a relatively flat hike, and as AT newbies, we were able to hike it with confidence. The only caution we have is the Lovingston Spur when leaving the shelter. The first half of the trail is in poor condition with blue blazes barely visible at times. There were several times we had to stop to locate the blaze to determine where the trail was. (Note there is a lot of red/yellow blaze & tree markings in this area it denotes the National Forest boundary.) The turnoff from the logging road back onto Lovingston Trail was covered & with the entrance of the trail not easily identifiable, it can be easy to miss. About halfway through the Lovingston Trail, the trail becomes easily identifiable and you can start to hike it with confidence about your whereabouts.
We give the first day's hike a 3 in terms of difficulty and the return hike a 4.
Date of Hike: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Hiked 13-15 Jan 2012, with Obsessive Compulsive Backpackers (meetup.com). Arrived at trail head Friday night about 1130pm, it was 17F with wind gusting to probably 25-30mph, blowing over tents during set up. Got down to 14F. There had been snow earlier that week so there was about 1" in the trail and forest where the sun didn't hit. Trail was in very good shape, the snow was hard and crunched, footing was great. Trail extremely well marked (AT of course). Spring was flowing fast and very easily found, there is a sign denoting the trail to spring directly in front of the shelter. Six of us slept in the shelter, 1 in a tent. Saw only 1 bear print near shelter. No issues with small critters or bears, didn't see or hear anything. On the way to the shelter the trail crosses a large creek, a good source of water or camping. The views as described here really great, just about .5 mile up the trail head from the parking lot. It was really too cold with the wind chill to stop for very long on the way to the shelter. Note: everyone's camel-back tubes froze making them useless, recommend substituting a canteen in this weather.
Date of Hike: Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Just did this hike on wednesday and thursday and it was a ton of fun. We ended up doing it a little backwards because it was looking like rain the first day and we wanted to get to the shelter as soon as possible. So we took the AT to lovington springs and did that loop then back the next day all on the AT. I was impressed at how well the lovington trail was blazed because it winds occasionally off of a logging road but we never worried about getting off route. The shelter is really nice but the water is spring that is a little bit of a trek down, probably about 200 yards. There also is a privy there. We did this hike in march so there isn't much to see in the way of foliage but the views on the AT portion were really nice. There is a really cool boulder area to climb on and look out at all the surrounding mountains. I wasn't as impressed with the lovington gap trail but it was still fun. The most strenuous parts of the hike are the first 1/2 mile or so and the last 1 1/2. The rest of it is relatively mellow. This is my first review so it's probably a little long sorry.