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Hiker Reviews for the Canaan Mountain/Table Rock Hike - 1 to 13 of 13   
Review the Canaan Mountain/Table Rock hike here!   Average Review Rating:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 12, 2019
Did an overnight winter hike on Canaan Mountain, following the trail guide to a T. Left the Blackwater Lodge around 10:00 AM and made it to Table Rock Trail via Plantation Trail around 4:00 PM. We camped on Table Rock Trail about a tenth of a mile in, making our own campsite under a large hemlock tree, which helped shield us from the snow. In the morning we left camp and ventured out to Table Rock around 9:00 AM. After taking in the awesome views we returned and broke down camp, then completed the second leg of the hike, with a stop at Lindy Point (definitely worth the detour for the views), returning to the Lodge around 4:00 PM. The biggest negative has to be the peat bogs on Plantation Trail. Note that even in winter you may run into situations where your boots break through ice into mud or water. This resulted in some cold, wet feet for us when we got to camp. But after building a good fire to huddle around the discomfort faded. Make sure to pack extra socks, as there are sections where there's just no avoiding getting your boots wet. Some folks might find this to be pretty miserable. The beauty of the winter woods and the great views from the two overlooks kept us in high spirits. Overall a very nice hike. I would rate it a solid 3.5, deducting some points for the bogs and the mileage that you have to hike on the forest road.

By: BrianJB Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 27, 2018
Did a modified version - started at the far end of the loop road, Fire Road 3 trail, and did about 2 miles to the Davis shelter on the Plantation Trail. Day two took Plantation Trail to Lindy Run trail, and then a quick out-and-back to the overlook (don't miss it!). Took the loop road all the way around to Table Rock trailhead, and camped at the site off the road just past, with another out-and-back to Table Rock (12 miles total, but only 9 with packs). Day 3 took the Plantation Trail all the way back to the start (about 8 miles). A few, don't miss the overlooks, really worth it. Two, not too boggy, could rock-hop/branch hop through most spots. Three, not as many campsites as I would have thought - very few established outside the few marked off the road and the shelters. One secret - there's a very nice site tucked back behind the Davis Shelter (beyond the slightly boggy valley). Dry site near Table Rock looked nice two sites off the road (just before the trailhead) were OK, not great. Site we stayed at on the road past the trailhead was decent - fire ring, not really a place to sit, had to trample down brush to pitch a tent. Overall, very good backpack, nothing too steep up or down.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 24, 2017
Pretty good hike. Went out the first weekend of spring and temps were great, mid 60s for the high/50s for the low.

The first day is pretty rough. You start off making great time on the northern end of the hike, but moving south you get into the mud. I went presumably during the first big thaw. There was still snow on the ground in some places so there was serious mud. To the point toward the end of the first day I just stopped caring if my boots were wet, and made sure they were laced tight as to not lose them in the muck. The long, straight "fire road" was the hardest part. the clearing due to bush, wasn't much more than 12" wide at some points. I think this should seriously be considered during summer months when insects take hold for weary hikers. I can imagine that with the moister and the lack of clearance spiders might rule this section. the approach to table rock was doable, and the campsite was very acceptable. hammock hangs can be tricky but i certainly made do. day two was much easier. you do walk a gravel road for a while, which is maintained, then it turns pretty rough. the scenery is better than day one, with a ridge on your left that provides from decent views, noting spectacular, and i imagine that summer time foliage may impede this slightly. i had to take my boots off for two river crossings, both doable but a little chilly. the rocks were not slippery and the river bed was able to be walked without much pain. after the second crossing you arrive at the overlook option, which i recommend as it has so pretty awesome views, but expect a crowd. when i arrived it was empty, and while taking in the moment i had about 15 people come in different groups, later learning that the "VA Off Road Jeep Club" was there. to be honest it would of put a damper on my hike if i had 20 off road jeeps driving past while making my way through the woods. luckily i passed them just in time. the remainder of the hike is pretty boring, with a decent amount of paved road walking which wasnt my favorite. I did not do the 1/2 detour as mentioned in the notes. also, from previous reviews that mentioned the directions were tricky, i added the GPX data to my gaia app on my iphone and had no issues.

By: Sally L Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 29, 2016
We did this hike the past two days and there are some super confusing elements of the instructions that I thought I’d clarify.

Firstly, please read the entire paragraph of each instruction point before agreeing you are on the right path. We probably did not read closely enough and so added 5 miles to our first day. Secondly, this is a lovely hike. Do make an effort to camp at Table Rocks. We had a puppy, probably a lost dog being trained for hunting, follow us for 5 miles the second day. Some folks with a car took her to the Lodge to help find her owners. She was VERY sweet. Stole our English muffins, though. Came right into our camp and before we could blink had swallowed an entire English muffin. Then proceeded to give us kisses.

Day 1:

Mile .9: Calls for you to turn right on the Davis trail. This is not marked as the Davis trail on your hike. There is a wooden marker with a blue arrow pointing right - this is where you turn. It is pretty much IMMEDIATELY after the footbridge.

Mile 6.0: Okay, obviously if we had paid attention to the entire paragraph, this would not have a been a problem, but when you reach that intersection with the Railroad Trail, just go right. The instructions have this giant paragraph telling you about how the trail to the left is marked and there is a shelter, and we were tired, and probably not paying enough attention, but just go right. I have no idea why this wasn’t in the first sentence and left until the last, but go right.

Day 2:

The mileage was about a mile off - we ended up at around 7.6 miles, not 8.6.

Mile 1.8: We saw only one campsite just across the stream crossing. Also, the point where the forest road is no longer maintained is a bit past this 1.8 mile marker. There is a Forest Service sign that says this.

Mile 4.0: We did not see the Railroad trail coming down. Maybe we are blind? But either way, you just stay on this road for a while. There are definitely not streamers marking the intersection. Still, doesn’t matter much as you will be staying on the road for a ways.

Mile 5.5: The instructions say that after crossing Lindy Run, the road makes a hard right hand turn. Unless we are entirely daft, the turn is actually left. To the right is a campsite that seems to be used by ATVs. The paved road pops up very quickly after this.

Also, by the time you hit the Lindy Pint overlook, the mileage is more like 4.9. Again, I feel like these instructions are off by about a mile.

Mile 7.9 (more like 6.9): As you walk past the cabins on Shay Trace, you will end up crossing a paved road. This is the cabin road. This was pretty clear, but I thought it would be nice for people to know they had to hike across a paved road that is not the Blackwater Lodge road.

Mile 7.6 (instructions say 8.6): Blackwater Falls Lodge!

Enjoy, but read carefully. While the instructions that mentioned what is down an alternate path are nice to know, when you are glancing to confirm your next move, seeing all the extra is confusing. Perhaps rewording to something like, "Turn right here. If you are tired and need to camp for the night, you can find a shelter a half mile down if you turn left. Otherwise, continue to the right."

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 22, 2016
We did a modified version of this hike, so we could do it in three days and an overall total of about 29 miles. After leaving the lodge we crossed Plantation trail and went south on the Pointy Knob trail, spending our first night at the 2nd shelter campsite on the Pointy Knob Trail. There is water close by but it is boggy and you'll probably get muddy. All the trails were well marked. From there we hiked up to Table Rock and spent our second night there. Saw only day hikers the entire trip. Table Rock was unbelievable! It is one of the best views we have seen. Got there about 2:30 or so. Shared the view with a couple mountain bikers rolling through and 1 fat rattlesnake sunning herself. Next day it was back on the Plantation Trail (quite overgrown with lots of blow downs to go around) to the Lindy Point trail and followed the directions as you have laid out to the Lodge.

By: DCbackpacker Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 29, 2016
Overall, great hike, especially on a rainy day when there aren't many other hikers. The first day, the only rewarding view is at the Table Rock overview, but the wet boggy trail kept us very focused on not getting stuck in the mud during the boring part of the hike. If you're going after a lot of rain, make sure you have a good pair of water-resistant boots! The only tricky part was getting on the right trail at the 6.0 mile intersection. There's a blue-blazed trail that appears to continue straight forward from where you approach the intersection. It's very enticing, but don't go on that. Instead, take the trail just to the right of that that barely looks like a trail with no markings. No big deal though if you take the wrong turn, if you come to a shelter, just head back to the intersection. The dry campsite near the Table Rock overview was very nice, especially since we had the whole overlook area to ourselves, and brought up plenty of water from the stream. We enjoyed dinner and breakfast at the overlook, as suggested in the description. The second day offered another good view at the Lindy point overlook, but for the most part no other highlights. Someone said they saw a rattlesnake at the Table Rock overlook so watch out for that.

By: DCLightweight Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Overall, a mediocre hike. A bit boggy if it's been raining as others have noted, but that's no big deal. Soggy feet are a part of the game. The main disappointment is that about half the loop is a gravel road, which makes for lame hiking. Also, the campsites on the gravel road part are awful. They're basically on the road. There's standing, stagnant water where 4x4s left ruts--so, lots of bugs. If you go, definitely plan to camp at Table Rock or the shelter. The table rock campsite can get crowded as folks roll in up to sunset, but it's a pretty spectacular view. Best to arrive early if you want the good tent spots.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 5, 2015
This was overall a nice hike, but I think HU overestimated how difficult it is. It's long, for sure, but I wouldn't give it a 5 for difficulty (perhaps a strong 3, probably a 4 instead).

Also, I would consider myself an experienced hiker - certainly not an expert, but this wasn't my first rodeo - but IMHO the directions for this hike, as well as the map, are not the most straightforward or clearest (too much concentration, in the middle of the actual directions, on the side trips you could make/conclusions of the intersections you cross, etc). Also, I took a bit of issue with the lack of consistency in the trail markings when you begin hiking, the trail lulls you into a sense of complacence because trails and intersections are well-marked and easily identifiable. However, at mile 4.6 (where you intersect with Lindy Run), though the intersection appears well marked, I did encounter some confusion as to what went where, and also where in the world the rest of the Lindy Trail was - I was sure to pay extra close attention at all intersections after this point.

The next area which caused some confusion was at mile 6.0, where the railroad grade trail intersects with the Plantation Trail. As indicated, there are blue placards (diamonds) up, but there are no streamers, at least anymore like the directions indicated. Additionally, these blue diamonds have the trail names written on them in sharpie, but they are all but washed out - this key intersection is not marked like the rest of the trails previously, so this caused a huge, unexpected detour as I ended up following the railroad trail to Canaan Loop Road.

Overall though, this is a beautiful area and I'll be excited to go back and give it another try.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 13, 2015
We didn't do the full loop. Instead, we wandered the trails between the cabins and lodge, with Balanced rock as our destination. It was an easy, highly accessible hike with some beautiful little streams, ferns and wooded areas.  I recommend it especially for kids and people who want to get out in nature but maybe aren't super fit to do so.  The mountain laurel were in full force, creating some jaw-dropping scenery.  There were many scenes that reminded me of a well-cultivated Japanese garden the balance and harmony was so impressive.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 2, 2015
The directions here say to make a right at mile 2.4, but there's a posted sign there now implying that it's flooded. Here's an alternate route I took: Go straight at that intersection to connect with Canaan Loop Road in about a mile. Make a right at the road to start heading west. You'll pass up several small campsites along the side of the gravel road. Pass up Lindy Run Trail and continue heading west. You'll eventually see a sign for trail #110 on the right. Take it. On the topo map, it's marked by the dotted blue trail that's west of the Lindy Run Trail. Part of this runs along a ridge with nice views and it wasn't muddy at all when I was there. Take this trail for about 2 miles to connect with Plantation Trail, passing up a shelter along the way. Where trail #110 connects with the west segment of Plantation Trail is easy to miss, so if you come to a fork in the trail, turn around, start walking back, and you'll see it. Continue west along Plantation Trail, following the Hiking Upward route from there. This modified route will add a few miles to your hike, but you'll avoid some of the more boggy/muddy trails.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 15, 2014
Many thanks for the excellent suggestion and description, including the description of the Lindy Run Trail, which isn't part of the full 18 mile loop but we used to cut the loop in half and do a roughly 9 mile day hike, making a right off of the Plantation Trail onto the Lindy Run Trail to take us to the Canaan Loop Road and on to Lindy Point. The Lindy Run Trail is indeed not as well-maintained, and is not blazed, but was largely fine. Note that the intersection of the Plantation and Lindy Run trails is a bit confusing -- the topo map and HU correctly suggest that, approaching from the east, you should make a right onto the Lindy Run Trail to get to Canaan Loop, but the signage suggests going left instead, which would not have worked. In any event, we went right, connected with Canaan Loop in a bit over a mile, and it was a great hike. There was about a half inch of snow on the ground, the bogs were semi-frozen, it was sunny and about 25, fantastic.

By: AaronPacker Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 2, 2014
Note: this was the 2nd hike of the week we had done the Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek hike the in the last 2 days. This was the 2nd part of us hitting 2 nice trails in a week.

Time of the year was perfect, the trees had been changing for the last 2 weeks and was 50% turning.

Left Blackwater state park about 6pm and made it to the 1st shelter in 2.6ish miles. It weaves in and out of forest to roads combined with very straight runs for a trail. (before we took off we saw 12ish mnt bikers ready to hit trails and assumed we would run into alot of them during the trail, not the case while the trail is designed for mnt bikers we never saw one on the trail) The 1st shelter didn't have a legit water source in OCT but had a stream(trickily) running right by it that of could filter out of if needed. Nice camp area so if making it late after a long drive it's a nice place. Original plan was to hike to table rock and camp about 1/2 mile from the look out. but forecast showed it would be dropping from a 70" day down to a 30" day with sleet/t-storm mix, so we hiked to the 2nd shelter on a side trail, to have a better roof than a tent. See mile mark 6 in description tells you how to get there. This camp site is nice really nice(caught crawdads in stream 10feet from shelter that was fine to filter from in OCT so probably good anytime of year). we dropped packs and hiked to the table rock spent about an hour there living it up cause it's amazing. That area near shelter on mile 6 is really unexplored by others and nice. doing only 3 miles with packs, then 3 to tablerock, 3 back. 9 total but 6 without packs!

Hiked backwards to Lindy Run Trail. At this point it made a weather shift making a nice trail into a bog mess. waterproof boots to top of knee was needed at this point. the trail was a mess and be prepared to go off trail to stay dry. taking Lindy Run Trail to Lindy Point. it's ruff even without the swamp we hit. Picture! Directly before that your on a gravel road for a while that dips into a deep river crossing. We did go to Lindy point unfortunately the sleet was so strong we couldn't even see 30 feet on that great look out. From that point it's 1-2 miles of paved road walking till you cross through ski area and some back cabins. Then your back in parking lot.

All the shelters we hit had room for 3 full men could hold 5 people max if everything was kept outside. Tarps could be used to close off in event of really bad weather.

WaterPROOF YOUR FEET OR don't even go. Will go back in later years.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 29, 2014
Excellent description by HU - thank you!!

As suggested, we parked at the Blackwater Falls Lodge and signed in at the front desk. We did this circuit as a two night trip going counterclockwise on the HU map, camping Friday night just west of Lindy Point Overlook at a small campsite off Canaan Loop Road. If you camp here, just be aware that it's RIGHT off the road and we were woken up by a couple of 4WD vehicles passing by in the night. There is a small stream nearby. Saturday night we took the campsite off the Plantation Trail in the fern-filled clearing mentioned above, which is located about a five minute hike west from the intersection of the Plantation Trail and Lindy Run Trail. This campsite (and several others) is not obvious from the trail, so if you're coming counterclockwise, it'll be on the your left clockwise, it'll be on your right (about 20 feet off the trail). There's a small stream about 20 yards away, where we were able to fill our bottles.

Definitely a great workout because of the length, but not strenuous at all as far as elevation changes. The views from Lindy Point and Table Rock are well worth it but expect several people, as you are able to drive up, park, and hike a short distance to the vistas. If it weren't for the get-out-of-DC Labor Day traffic, we would've been able to view the sunset from Lindy Point, and Saturday morning was cloudy, so we also missed sunrise! Other than at the viewpoints, it was very quiet and we saw only two other hikers on Plantation Trail. Sunday morning was rainy, but the mist made the forest beautiful and peaceful.

It's very muddy and boggy, as described, so waterproof boots are a must. Also, mountain bikers share parts of these trails and though we didn't see any, their tracks and bush/tree pruning are very evident. Our dog loved the mud and many streams! :)

Compared to the other hikes we've done in this area (Dolly Sods and Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek), this one isn't as scenic or challenging, but we do hope to return and camp near the Table Rock vista, maybe this fall.

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