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Hiker Comments for the Cranny Crow/Big Ridge Hike - 1 to 22 of 22   
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 5, 2017
Let's just keep this hike a secret, eh? What a spectacular hike! We've definitely put this one on the list to re-hike in the summer when we can do a little post-hike cool off in Howard's Lick Run.

On Super Bowl Sunday, we hiked this just as it is described here, ending up a shade over 12 miles with all our exploring about on the ridge. Park at the Howard's Lick trailhead. Do not be tempted to go to the second parking area described here just to save a little mileage, because the 0.3 miles along Howard's Lick Run is so beautiful and peaceful and the (as of this writing, brand new) suspension bridge is cool. We finished in 6 hours which left us a lot of time to explore the overlooks and to have lunch at the fire warden's cabin at the abandoned fire tower.

Views are spectacular at both ends of the ridge. The trails are well maintained and extremely well marked with relatively new plastic square and diamond blazes.

We had no issues following this hike as outlined here except that in the middle of winter, it wasn't super obvious where the trail (the service road) went through the meadow by the picnic pavilion/shelter. I'm sure in summer, the road is obvious. In any case, the road leaves left/west and straight ahead/north from the meadow. You'll head left/west out to Miller's Rock and return from the north by the old cabin. The road becomes obvious as you leave the shelter area and move to the west 75 yards.

In addition, we lost the return trail from Miller's Rock once. It was obvious we were off the trail 20 yards from the previous blaze but we couldn't find the trail for the deep and mainly undisturbed leaves so we bushwhacked to the top of the hill and after just a minute of looking, spotted blazes 30 yards to our left and 125 yards in front. Following a ridge that is 50-100 yards wide and blazed every 50 yards or so, it is impossible to get lost.

Highlights are the walk along the creek, the views from the shelter on the White Oak Trail, the climb to Cranny Crow, the phenomenal Cranny Crow overlook, the whole south end of Big Ridge, and Miller's Rock at the extreme north end of Big Ridge. Must do hike.

By: Parul Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 24, 2016
Loved the hike! Spectacular views but without being too strenuous! I prefer solidarity and I couldn't be happier as I was pretty much the only one, enjoying a warm and breezy partly cloudy September hike. Leaves have started to fall but the fall color isnt that prominent yet. In terms of difficulty, I would give it 2 to 2.5 because the hike is fairly long but not too steep. Mostly grassy but well marked. Even though the instructions give a rough estimate of 5.5 hours plus lunch, I finished mine with lunch, within 5 hours (and I'm definitely not fast). One word of caution is definitely wear full length hiking pants and take a bug repellent with you because the trail isn't too well maintained and several patches have knee level grass and plenty of flies and mosquitoes. Some patches also had horse dung (ew!) Otherwise, I would absolutely go back especially in late October to enjoy the fall colors!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 6, 2016
Reasoning for 4 stars, other than it is the best hike I have been on in a long long time, but the trail was poorly maintained, walking through knee high grass a bushes at least a third of the way, SERIOUSLY! please Lost River State Park authories and trail crew, please please please get rid of all the discouraging knee high grass, as I did find 10 ticks on me, so cutting the grass would probably help ) other than that, one of the best hikes as I've said I've ever been on! the views aren't only incredible but relentless! everywhere you go you see beautiful views right when you hit the first overlook! So highly recommend, quite a long hike, but SO WORTH IT!!!!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 24, 2015
This was the first time my husband and I visited this park and made this hike, but it is now, definitely, one of our favorites!  The views are really just spectacular, especially since we were there during peak autumn colors.  Excluding Miller's Rock Trail, 90% of the trees were just glorious.  Along Miller's Rock Trail, wind had stripped most of the leaves from most of the trees, though we did come across some lonely red and sugar maples in prime colors.  From forested trails, to rocky outcrops and overlooks, to historical sites, to ridge lines, this hike had it all and my camera got quite a workout through the day.  Plenty of wildlife to be found if you knew where to look (it was a chilly, windy day) and quite an array of flora, too!  This hike looks harder on a map than it is, for its length particularly, but the difficulty rating seemed accurate.  The trails were also well marked and maintained.

By: The Johnson's Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 21, 2014
I hiked Cranny Crow and Big Ridge today with my wife, and my 10 month old daughter strapped to my back. The weather was perfect. Clear skies, mid 60's at the start with temps topping out in the mid 70's. Slightly buggy, but manageable. We saw many deer while out on the trail and plenty of evidence that people bring their horses up there. For us, the solitude factor was a 6. We were truly all alone out there. The views from Cranny Crow were amazing and worth the hike alone. I really could have just sat there the rest of the day, but there's lots to see on this hike so we moved on. The only problem I have with the hike, and it's really not the hike's fault, is the difficulty rating of 3. My wife and I have hiked Elliott Knob (4), and Oak Knob (4). These hikes were tough and well deserving of the rating of 4. We have also hiked some 3's, such as Dobie Mountain, and found them quite pleasant. This hike's rating of 3, however, is very misleading. It was more on par with Elliott Knob when it comes to the "Pain" factor. Portions of this hike are very steep, rocky, and unforgiving. And the distance alone, 11.1 miles, should put this hike easily into the 4 range. Despite this, we truly enjoyed ourselves, though we were happy to be back in the car.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 19, 2014
This is overall a very nice hike with lots of pleasant views of WV and Shenandoah mountains in the distance. I accidentally did the loop portion in reverse, which seems to make things a lot more difficult. I really liked the variety of "stuff" on this trail, including the overlooks, large shelter area, ranger cabin/tower, old homestead, "natural spring" (this was actually a bit disappointing, you'll see why). Also a good amount of wildlife such as white tailed deer, red tailed hawks, crows, and we may have heard a bear shuffling around but now way to be entirely sure. Located some baby crows right on Cheeks Rocks, the crow parent was not very pleased with our presence though.

Crows in a cranny:

By: SeriousYeti Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Kids and dogs roaming around at the stream near the bottom near the suspension bridge.  In about 1/4 mi it turned uphill and I didn't see anyone else for the rest of the day.  Uphill is a slog, but not brutal or long.  The trails are not clearly marked in the first 2 miles - I took the wrong one.  It went uphill though, so I knew it was probably going to the same place.  Once you're up, it's basically a flat to rolling well groomed trail with excellent views near the turn around.

Fire tower stairs are removed and it's from the 1930's, so it's not much of an attraction to climb as it is a landmark.

Spring flows into bathtub, where little miniature tadpoles were swimming in the green water.  Very little water flow was coming out of the spring hose-  it would have taken some effort and maybe 45 minutes to collect a liter from the spring hose, so you might want to bring your water up the hill with you.

Shooting activity down below, so near the fire tower, there was noise pollution from shooting - pop, pop, pop.  pop, pop, pop.  Sounded like they were enjoying the outdoors.

Also a lot of fresh bear scat from this point to the views/turnaround.  Made me glad I wasn't camping.

Here is the kicker, once you get near the turn around, the views are amazing and there are some great level spots.  Nice breeze.  I'd brought some cheese, olive bread, and a pate.  Perfect spot for  an picnic.

Refreshed I sprinted back to the car, averaging about 3mi an hour for the hike.

By: Pete Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 3, 2013
This hike is one of my favorite hikes. I thought I should tell everyone about a shortcut. Near the entrance to the park, on the right side as you go in there is a bridge that has been blocked off with a chain. Park across the street and cross the bridge and follow the unused service road up. When you get to where it forks (about 1/2 mile) follow the service road to the left and dont get on the trail on the right (although this is a shortcut toanother hike) continue about another 1/2 mile until you. reach the Cranny Crowe trail. Turn right and continue as normal. This has reduced my hike time. about 1/2 an hour. Be aware, though, the short cut is on a consistently steeper grade than the actual trail itself so once you get there the trail will seem really easy.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 29, 2013
As others say, the route up is steep, but the view at Cranny Crow overlook makes the climb worthwhile. If you are longing to fill your eyes with nearly untouched hills stretching in all directions, this is the place. It was a quiet weekday - we saw only two other hikers all day. We came down the mountain on the Virginia View trail, which I wouldn't do again it is little used and overgrown and doesn't offer much scenery. And if your knees are over 60, like mine, a hiking pole would be helpful on the descent.I suggest that you get your snacks and supplies into your daypack before you reach Mathias. Enjoy!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Great trail. Went with my non hiking but active husband and my very athletic and trail savvy dog. The trail was very dog friendly but I recommend keeping them on leash most of the time because of the cliffs along with lots of loose rocks, and slippery leaf cover. Better safe than sorry. We saw one other couple while on the trail today. Saw some deer and birds but heard lots of gun fire on the first part of our hike. The shelter area was a really nice place to stop and have lunch. It was gated so we could let our dog free while we ate with out worrying about him at all. This was a really nice hike and we would do it again.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 16, 2012
This is a spectacular hike, the views are awesome. We happened to have picked a day where the sun was bright and warm. The blazes have been updated and there are new trail signs at each intersection you should not have any problem navigating this hike. I have seen some incredible sights while hiking but none will every be as exciting as what we saw while sitting in Cranny Crow Shelter. There was a loud rumble to our left and before you knew it there was a fighter jet on it's side about 500yds directly in front of us, right at eye level. We saw the jet heading north and take quick left around the ridge in front of us. Then it was gone. About 30 min later it made another pass. What a sight. The hair still stands up on the back of my neck when I think about it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 18, 2012!i=1677282958&k=BQbzWmczs 15 PATC  hikers thoroughly enjoyed the twists & turns of your hike yesterday.  At various times during the hike we encountered sun, snow flurries, overcast, and winds.  Never a dull moment to this delightful challenge I hope to do again soon .

By: Stuart Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 16, 2011
This was a great hike for a beautiful fall day. Very few people on the trail: 2 families hiking, one couple on horseback. We started at the suspension bridge where there is parking for only 3-4 cars. The strenuous part of the hike was the first portion leading up to the top of the ridge. There are a number of great views along the climb. Once you get onto the ridge the trail becomes easy, almost on contour. The views of the surrounding areas become less evident. The woods have little or no underbrush so you get a good appreciation of your surroundings. The view at the North end of the trail is wonderful. Also to be considered is that the trail is soft on the feet, hardly any rocky sections. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 3, 2011
This was a pretty good hike, taking a little under 6 hours with stops for pictures, with lots of great views! I wasn't able to locate the start of the trail with the bridge and parking area, but did park at the Horse Stables and followed the White Oak trail up to the right, following the orange blazed trail and sign. At the first overlook there was a notebook and hidden geo cache, pretty neat. The trail is well maintained and signs are new, EXCEPT ONE! There is a fallen old wooden sign with rocks around it, THAT IS WHERE YOU MAKE THE LEFT TO FOLLOW THE RED TRAIL, if you follow the yellow, it leads to some neat boulders, but that trail does end. Once I got back on track I heard lots of groaning and eventually saw a bear. From a distance it sounded like dogs, but I learned otherwise that there were 3 baby (5’ tall) cubs that had lost their mother and were crying for her. They were harmless, but I made sure to make lots of noise so they wouldn't follow me. Continue following Big Ridge Trail to the left and reaching the meadow with shelter and restrooms (bring your own toilet paper). About 30 minutes later I reached the tower and cabin, definitely neat to see. Continue on the trail about another hour, passing Miller's Rock and you will reach Big Ridge Overlook.    The park/trail was very wildlife friendly, which I was surprised with since there were lots of horse droppings in the beginning and still noted throughout the rest of the hike. Seeing about 9 deer, the cub, and finding the geo cache all made for a great hike! I highly suggest this day hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 9, 2011
I am lucky enough to own property bordering the state park and have been hiking these trails for the last 15 or so years. Around every turn is another stunning view of an amazing forest, or a scenic overlook of the mountains. This year the new head of the state park had all of the trails repainted, so it is MUCH easier to find your trail than it used to be. When I was much younger they still had the steps up to the fire tower, and you could easily climb it for the most incredible view you have ever seen. However, I would DEFINITELY not recommend climbing the tower now, because it is both illegal and extremely dangerous.

I recently hiked from our property to Miller's Rock Trail (yellow trail) around mid June and the entire ground was covered in wild blueberries and flowers. This is absolutely one of my favorite trails, and once you get to the top of the ridge, the trail becomes fairly level and is just a light walk through some of the prettiest forests you can see. Also, my girlfriend and I witnessed a chipmunk get struck by a timber rattlesnake on an atv ride around our property (probably half a mile from the state park) and while I hear getting struck by a timber rattlesnake is less likely than getting struck by lightening, just be aware that they are out there. Although, this is only one of four snakes I have seen in the 20 years I have been going to our property.  Also, the bear population on the top of the mountain has seemed to explode over the last three years, and we spotted at least 4 in one frame from the night vision camera we have up near our cabin.  If you're lucky you'll get a glimpse of one or two of them, but I have only seen them a handful of times while hiking in the area.

Happy Hiking!

By: earthkind Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 2, 2011
lovely hike!  i saw lots of wild flowers, many birds and a five foot black snake.  i am 34 week pregnant and made it to the top in 45 mins.  i started at the  horse stables.  i love lost river state park!!! 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 9, 2010
We did this hike on a beautiful 70 degree day in mid October, probably about 2-3 weeks before the trees reached their peak, although there definitely were some patches of color on the mountains.

There is parking for about 3-4 cars at the trailhead where the service road starts, we were able to get one at 9:30AM on a Saturday(2 other cars there).

This was a great day hike with plenty to see and a couple shelters and such to break up the trip. The trails were very well marked, wide and easy to follow.  All but one(Virginia View trail at Cheeks Rock but it was obvious) had new signs put up clearly marking the trails.  The previous review is correct, the Virginia View trail is RED not Orange.  The blazes were easily spotted, do not worry about the warning.  The biggest hazard was dodging evidence of horses, it's obvious this trail is heavily used by people on horseback.  Some parts might get muddy after some rain, there was a good amount of dirt and we could easily spot the paths that water runs down the trails/roads.  We saw a few groups but they were far apart.

The views from Cranny Crow are worth the steep first couple miles uphill.  Cheeks Rocks and Millers Rock views were also great(and in different directions), but not as good as Cranny.  The shelter in the meadow at the top is huge and the area is suitable for group camping(there are even outhouses, talk about luxury!).  The shelter has several picnic tables, a real fireplace and new grills all under the roof.  There was evidence of bears rummaging through the trash cans and we found droppings not far away.  The observers cabin at the firetower is still in decent shape, although the power has been cut you wouldn't know it from the power lines that run up the hill to it.  The firetower is starting to fall into disrepair but still is in OK shape.  The bottom set of stairs have been removed, but it is still quite possible to scale/climb to the 1st landing about 20 feet up(there was evidence of this) at your own risk and climb the rest of the stairs to the top.

Go with the suggested route up, we were glad we were not going up the Big Ridge Trail as we came down it mid-afternoon.  We made it down to the trailhead from the firetower in about an hour, and from Millers Rock in about 2 hours.

Overall a great day hike with outstanding views, not many people and well maintained easy to follow trails.  If you come in from the North/East, WV highway 55 is a neat 4 lane highway in the middle of nowhere with no traffic and amazing scenery.  Do this hike, it's worth it!

By: RandLSee Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 5, 2010
One of my favorites. So much to see and do on the top of Big Ridge. Old fire tower and cabin built by CCC.  A restored 1840's cabin. Several overlooks, a big spring right below the pavilion. There is even an old butternut walnut tree which you just about can't find anymore.  Love this hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 4, 2010
We had perfect weather, which always helps--cool, sunny with clouds, strong breezes.  This is a great hike any time, would be a fabulous one when the leaves are in their fall colors.  One note:  the "Virginia View Trail" is no longer blazed in orange it has been re-blazed in RED.  We were a little confused but figured it out from the topo map.  Lost River State Park is a lovely place--and underused!  During the first half mile we encountered a party of 8 or 9 on horses, otherwise we hiked 11 miles for over five hours, all the way to Miller's Rock, saw maybe five other people total.  Most of the time we had the trail to ourselves, on the first day of the Labor Day weekend.  I want to do this hike again, when the leaves change, and when the trees are bare. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ive gone on this hike several times. Twice in the fall and once in the winter. Lost River State park is incredibly beautiful when it snows. There are several hiking trails that lead to the Cranny Crow Overlook. The most commonly used one is the Big Ridge trail which takes you along the east side of the mountain. On the trail, right before you take the service road south to get to the Overlook, there is a nice shelter there to take a break if you so desire. The overlook is INCREDIBLE when it has snowed (and when the leaves change) however I would suggest that you be careful at the overlook as it was (and probably usually is in the winter) very icy.

You can actually print the trail maps right off of the Lost River State Park website.  There are multiple trails in this park.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 17, 2009
This will be another that I'll need to repeat in the fall, when, if possible, the views should be even more breathtaking.  Was a little brisk by May standards when I did this one.  58 degrees at the parking area.  Crossed the bridge, and ascended the hill.  After a bit of a climb, you get to a point where you can either go straight, or go left.  I went left, and after further climbing, I passed first the small shelter, and then arrived at the stone Cranny Crow overlook.  This alone made the hike worth the effort.  The vistas from here are spectacular.  The ascent, and as it turned out, the descent was made rather difficult by the recent passage of a group on horseback.  The trail was pretty torn up in spots.  Spent a bit of time at the campground watching several deer, and grabbed a quick snack and a sip of water.  Once here, the hard climbing is pretty much over, as the walk out to the Big Ridge Overlook is fairly flat, with some gentle rising and falling.  Spent some time just enjoying the scenery from the Overlook, before heading back towards the campground.  Passed first the spring, then an 1840s era Log Cabin.  Upon returning to the campground, spent a bit of time at an overlook just to the east of the picnic tables.  Then headed back down the hill towards the Howard's Lick Trail.  All in all, enjoyed this hike immensely.  If solitude is what you seek, then this is the one for you.  Was on this one for almost 6 hours, and never saw another soul the entire time.  And please, remember your camera.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 8, 2008
Wow - even with the leaves mostly gone, this hike remains a feast for the eyes.  The ascent to the ridge is a very good workout.  The trail winds past shelters, open vistas, and through forests. Trails are generally easy to follow and pretty well marked, although some signs (Virginia Trail) were down.  I wished I'd brought a steak and some charcoal as the picnic facilities near Cranny Crow were extensive - fireplace and grills within a pavillion, outhouses - positively luxurious!!!  Saw 2 other people the whole time I was there.  Can't wait to return next year. 

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