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Ramsey's Draft - Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness Area

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

2 Days
3,170 ft with multiple ascents
George Washington National Forest
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Right into Mountain House Picnic Area cross concrete spillway, Park on right 100 yards up dirt road. 38.30828, -79.36090

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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Hiker Reviews For The Ramseys Draft Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 10, 2017
Because it was so cold this weekend, we actually hiked Shenandoah Mountain, camped at Hiner Spring, and took Bald Ridge to Road Hollow back to the car, skipping Ramsey's altogether. However, wanted to leave this here (and also at Shenandoah Mountain page) as a warning given the leaf cover on the trail.

Overall, fantastic route, and quiet and great views from the Bald Ridge trail. However, there was on tricky spot to look out for. On the USFS topo map there's a hairpin turn about 1/3 the way between The Pinnace and The Peak. We lost the trail in a sloping hardwood forest where the trees were too wide apart to make the trail, and had to backtrack, then bushwhack down to the approximate location of the trail after that turn. Not the worst bushwhack in the world, but save yourself some time if you're going with all the leaves down and just plan on the short bushwhack.

By: Anna Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Did part of this hike twice in two weeks with 2 groups of youth. From Confederate Breastworks to Camp Todd via the Shenandoah Mtn trail and Jerrys Run. Be aware that the water source at the Jerry's Run campsite is dry (as of July 27, 2017) due to the dry conditions, so we carried 4L of water/person. Additionally the spring at Hiner Spring is low (as of July 27, 2017) due to the high temps and lack of rainfall. Overall a wonderful hike and flexible enough to turn into a multi-day trip.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 24, 2017
Did this as a day hike, clockwise like are in the directions. Took about 10+ hours, but we didn't move too fast. Saw a few black bears (4), cubs and yearlings, but never came across the mamas. Almost no one on the trail. Only saw 1 other pair of overnighters and another day hiking group down near the parking lot, but we were the only ones up on the ridge. Bring pants or long socks. The nettles are brutal, and have overgrown a good portion of the trail. A machete might be a good idea if you really want to get at the thorns and overgrowth. I still wore shorts and long socks, and my knees weren't too beat up, but the nettle sting is irritating.

Enjoy the overlook at the beginning of the ridge, it's the only one we saw with the canopy as thick as it is right now. When you first make it to the ridge as per directions there's a couple of campsites off to the right with clearings to view the valley below. This is the best view for the rest of the loop, take it in.

Overall, this was great fun as a day trip.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 20, 2017
From the onset I was frustrated with the lack of current information I was finding on hiking Ramsey's Draft. As a father, I wanted to be sure I was not placing my family in undue danger. My two boys, six and nine, along with my wife and I hiked this last week as part of our vacation to the surrounding area. The terrain itself is difficult, made complicated by the MASSIVE tree falls and lack of defined trail. This all gets compounded by carrying overnight packs for the duration. To be fair/clear: Everything known/written about this hike makes it known that this is Wilderness area, and therefore not maintained like a national (or state) park of forest, or other such typical hiking destination. If you approach this trail as a challenge you will be successful and find it rewarding. It is not a turn-key walk in your local park. Also: I found the people at the North River Ranger Station to be a great resource for information as I educated myself on the area. They always answered the phone and were content to engage in conversation and answer all of my questions. I would be pleased to reply to anyone with questions about this hike for themselves.

By: Gingerman Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 13, 2017
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.

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Early May

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