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)
Hiked this loop clockwise (so along Ramsey's draft first) with a group of five over the weekend. Overall a nice area and a change from the constant reminders of civilization that you get along the Blue Ridge. The first thing to remember is that this is a wilderness area, not a park and therefore the trail is not marked or maintained. We were surprised at the number of down trees along Ramsey's Draft and the effects of whatever invasive beetle, bug, germ, etc. has really damaged the area. Some of the trees have been cleared or cut from the trail but there are many places where you have to cross the trees and that gets a little old after a while. Crossing Ramsey's Draft is also a challenge along the way. We counted 19 total crossing with some being very easy but many requiring preparation, planning, placement and luck. One of us was not so lucky and got pretty wet. If i returned in the summer, I would probably wear sandals and just get wet. There are plenty of good spots to camp along the way. We came in late on Thursday and stopped before the ascent. After leaving the Draft the next morning and heading up the mountain I was surprised that it was not that bad. Still steep but not that bad. The trail to this point is easy to follow. The spring at the intersection flowed well (it was April) and it is probably good for most seasons.
We reached a pond a little faster than expected based on the map. While you could pull from this pond, it was full of life and would probably be tough to drink even if your filter is a trusted tool.
From there we hiked the various peaks and along the way (it turned out to be near Peak not Pinnacle as thought) we lost the trail. There is a sharp turnoff on Peak that is very obvious doing the hike counterclockwise but we easily went past it and circled the mountain a few times before finding our way. The area is also very clear and so many parts had the look of a trail. After that coming off the mountain was a breeze with some steep sections but mostly just a nice walk out. I cannot imagine doing this hike counterclockwise due to water shortages for the first 11 miles. Overall enjoyable and not just a 'walk in the park' that is most things along the AT.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 26, 2016
It was a great hike. I went counter clock wise like the directions say. The trail was hard to see in places but easy enough to find this time of year if you don't get lost easy. I can see how the summer or undergrowth can be a problem at other times of the year. Trail would probably be difficult in the summer. It was very secluded and the hemlock trees were awesome to see. It was sad seeing so many of the giant hemlocks on the ground and dead. This isn't a easy hike but a great way to get out in nature on a less popular hike. Probably not recommend for beginners and be prepared for what you are getting into. The ferns and moss covered ground was great to see a little down stream from Hiner springs. You can't experience this sitting at home on the couch so get out and enjoy
Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Set out for a overnight hike on Ramsey Draft and was very much looking forward to it. Was definitely a bit worried with all the rain that had been in the area for the past few weeks, but this trip had been planned for a while with my group of 3. We weren't going to let a little rain hold us back as we were all experienced hikers and enjoy a good challenge. But what we were about to see and go through was no fun what so ever. At first sight everything seemed fine. It was a bit wet but didn't think nothing of it. Well after trudging for what seemed like for ever to get up the first climb and battling mud and sinking boots, we got to the first ridge line. That is when the real issues started to arise. Now we new there was rain in the area, but we had no idea it had rained this much as the next mile was nearly impassable as much of the ridge line path had washed away. We were just walking on a tiny sliver to get pass. So we thought ok, that has got to be the worst of it as that was all in the first few miles. Thinking the further up we go, the better off we will be. That thought only lasted another 30 or 45 minutes as we approached the next ridge line and realized real quickly this was not going to be like the other. Literally there was only a path about a foot wide and solid mud and slippery. So we quickly realized that this was impassable and started to look for another way around. Well after exploring for close to an hour, the doom and gloom of this trek started to hit us...We are not going to make it to the top and we are going to have to go right back through everything that we just went through. Needless to say that we had to turn around and battle everything that was just mentioned again and let me tell you, you think the first ridge line is an easy past going up, try going down it with slippery and muddy boots on. Now we understand that this was probably our fault as we should have paid a bit closer attention to what the weather had been in the area and thought more about it before setting off, but we figured we have hiked many of trails in the rain and mud, this shouldn't be any different. So in final, I would steer clear of this trail for a while until it dries out completely and some one can get up to repair the trail, or cut a new path somewhere else.
Date of Hike: Sunday, August 07, 2016
We abandoned this backpacking trip up the draft after 2 miles, and returned to the car to go elsewhere. There was no getting away from poison ivy and stinging nettles that overhang the trail. I am very allergic to poison ivy. The nettles were chest high, so even arms and elbows were tortured.
Date of Hike: Friday, June 17, 2016
I have been in this area before, but typically on the Wild Oak Trail. I was curious, and so plotted adventure. We went counter clockwise, handling the hills the first day and creek the second day. The mountains were nice- never too difficult, but without many overlooks. There were a couple of places where the briars became a bit obnoxious, but that is the price for using a less frequently traveled trail. The ridge-line had a fair amount of bear scat, but we never saw any signs of the perpetrators. My partner blew out his knee on Big Bald, which made a very slow return trip.
The many fallen hemlock trees on the way from Hiner Spring to the bottom are sad, but it was heartening to see young hemlocks growing at the lower elevations. There are several places where climbing over the trees with a backpack becomes difficult, but it can be done. It was in one of those tangles that we found a good sized rattler.
This was a nice walk, but for one thing. The lower portion of Ramsey's Draft is choked with stinging nettles. We did not have any pants, unfortunately. There was no avoiding a painfully itchy return trip. Literally miles of trail with nettles leaning over the trail from both sides growing to chest height. Torment.