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Little Bald Knob Ridge - Todd Lake, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

4.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,370 ft
George Washington National Forest
Todd Lake Recreation Area
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Car camping is directly across from the Camp Todd sign on the banks of North River.

The hike is located in the beautiful Todd Lake area of the GWNF. Excellent car camping is abundant throughout the area with sites scattered along North River, as well as the North River and Todd Lake contemporary camping areas. Little Bald Knob itself doesn't have any views from the summit, but there are many spectacular vistas along the ridge. 1/4 past the summit are the ridgeline meadows and a great place for lunch and turn around spot.

The Little Bald Knob hike heads north on the Wild Oak Trail where it crosses North River. A great way to spend the weekend is to camp along North River and hike south along the Wild Oak Trail to Hardscrabble Knob one day, then hike up to the Little Bald Knob Ridge from the camping area the next. There are also several other hikes located in this trail system within a 10 minute drive, including Trimble Mountain, North River Gorge, and Sand Spring Mountain.

  • Mile 0.0 - From FR95 at Camp Todd head north on the white blazed Wild Oak Trail where the trail will cross North River.

  • Mile 0.2 - Pass the FR95 connector trail. Continue more steeply uphill on the Wild Oak Trail. From this point the Wild Oak Trail climbs through Horse Trough Hollow as it winds steeply uphill.

  • Mile 2.3 - Make a sharp right turn, then arrive at a flat section of the ridge in another 0.25 miles.

  • Mile 2.55 - From the flat on the ridge the Wild Oak Trail will descend through a saddle and pass the best vista of the hike. Look for a short side trail on the right.

    If you don't want to go the the ridge meadows this is a good turn around point, making for a total hike length of 5.4 miles

  • Mile 2.7 - From the vista the trail climbs through a section of Mountain Laurel and passes over the summit of Little Bald Knob. There is no overlook or 'Bald' here, and the trail will begin to descend, and shortly arrive at the intersection of the Bald Mountain Road where the Wild Oak Trail makes a sharp right downhill.

  • Mile 3.25 - From the intersection continue straight on the wider Bald Mountain Road for 0.25 miles and arrive at the high mountain meadows.

  • Mile 3.5 - From the high mountain meadows retrace your route back to North River and Camp Todd.

  • Mile 7.0 Arrive back at the parking area at Camp Todd.

Camp Todd/North River Car Camping 360°
Mid May
Late September
Video - Fall Colors
Little Bald Knob Ridge
Little Bald Knob Ridge Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Jeff Monroe Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 1, 2019
I have hiked this trail segment multiple times over the past few years and it is a great workout. As a Summer hike it suffers, like many or most of the trails in the GWNF North River District, from a lot of undergrowth crowding the upper portions of this trail during the growing season - more so this year than in the past. The fact is that there aren't enough volunteers out this way to maintain the many miles of trail. So if you decide to hike this trail during the summer, rather than complaining that someone else is not working hard enough on cleaning the trail for you, bring a pair of clippers and chip in!

One area that deserves more description is the crossing of the North River, right at the beginning of the hike. Because social trails parallel the river, it is difficult to determine exactly where to cross in order to stay on this trail. Look across the river for a stone cairn which signals the continuation of the trail. Crossing is at a point where bank has fallen into the river, cutting into the trail that parallels the river. And if the river seems to high to safely cross, you can head west a half mile on FS 96, cross the road bridge, and look for a trail on the other side that links up with the main trail as described at the 0.2 mile mark.

By: Snakebit12 Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Lightfoot was spot on - the 1st 2 miles are tough.

There is no warm up per se - you immediately start heading up. My GPS said that we picked up about 1,400 feet of elevation in about 1.5 miles? That's a 18% incline - very steady and continuous. We have certainly hiked easier "3-star" trails. All that said, a nice hike. We did the shortened 5.4 mile version. Nice views from the vistas we passed - although the distance views were obscured somewhat by smoke from the SNP fire east of Harrisonburg. Wished that there would have been some rock outcroppings at the vistas for lunch seating.

Not sure that we will repeat this hike but we are glad that we went.

By: Lightfoot Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 26, 2012
This was a good in and out hike. It was a killer at the start of the hike going 2 miles uphill (be prepared).The summit views were really nice. I am glad we did this hike before the leaves came out to block some of the views. It took us 4 1/2 hours plus 1/2 hour for lunch. Overall a nice hike in the woods.

By: Moonshine Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 10, 2011
The trail is in good shape and frequently blazed with white. I extended the hike by a mile or so on Bald Mtn Road through the clearings. It is a very pretty road with no car or bike traffic. I think this hike can be extended into an overnight loop with a visit to Reddish Knob and using North River Tr #539 and FR83 to get back to FR95.

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