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Hiker Comments for the North Fork Mountain Hike - 1 to 22 of 22   
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By: Jared H Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 1, 2019
Beautiful to hike in the late fall, views are unimpeded by leaves up top on the ridge, but still tons of color to be seen. Cliffs are incredible. Campsite at 16.5 was incredible, thanks for marking that out in your write-up.

About the SPRING -- talked to a local climber/backpacker who lives in Franklin WV. He said the spring had only ever been dry to his knowledge in 2007, when they had a 50-year drought. According to him, it is very reliable.

How to find the spring: It's very easy to find. The center section of the NFMT uses Public Road 79, a gravel road. If you're coming from the south, you walk from the radio tower up high on the ridge about a mile and half (mostly downhill) on PR79 . When you come to the point when 79 switches back hard down the east side of the ridge, the NFMT will continue straight along the ridge as a normal hiking trail again, which is clearly marked. It's at that point you'll be able to see a faint grassy road or path heading WEST downhill. Go about 100ft downhill, then look for a short path off to the left (marked by a cairn), which goes about 30ft to the spring.

If you're coming from the North side, just make note as soon as you hit the gravel road, then find the grass road on your right leading to the spring.

GPS coordinates of the spring: 38°51'33"N 79°18'50"W

Google map link:°51'33.0"N+79°18'50.0"W/@38.8591709,-79.3160829,17z

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 27, 2019
Great hike. Amazing views. Practically a state wide drought and water was available at spring. If your looking for a shuttle ask around at some of the area businesses.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 2, 2019
Did this trail south to north over two nights on Labor Day Weekend. We tracked 8.4 miles the first day to camp, 11.7 miles the second day to the nice overlook camping at Redman Run junction, 9.7 miles the third day = closer to 30 miles. So beware that you may also track more miles than promised!

Lots of variation, both of flora and elevation, more than you may expect from a "ridge" hike. This trail has a bit of everything, and some of the most exceptional views in the east! The only thing missing is water. We carried 5-6 litres a person and the spring at the end of the road section was easy to find and deep enough to filter easily.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 27, 2019
Hiked south to north from 6/27-29. I previously hiked this trail 3/2017. The spring was working fine at the midway point. Late afternoon heat can be tough. I used AllTrails app to track progress and the mileage did not match with this page. Alltrails said the entire hike was 26.7 miles. Anyway this is a fantastic area. The last 3 miles are jaw dropping! Next time i will go in cooler weather.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 15, 2019
Gorgeous hike! The spring had plenty of water and was pretty easy to find (its about 15 feet to the left of the fire road and counted 100 steps from the main road to the point you turn off and there was a small cairn). It was a bit overgrown so recommend pants, particularly on the second day. Pretty much had the trail to ourselves the whole time and loved the views!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 19, 2017
Great overnight to the 12,4 mile campsite from the south end where the remainder of the trail was closed due to fire. Even after one of the driest of summers and falls, the spring still contains ample water. We gathered it and filtered for particulates and drank through a filter and it was a lifesaver.

By: Dave Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Does anyone have the gps coordinates and/or detailed directions to the spring discussed. I've never through hiked North Fork, but have done several day hikes around Table and Chimney Rocks. I like the idea of a spring mid way on the complete hike, but have not been able to find Zach F.'s post.

By: Kenneth Clapp Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 9, 2017
Fabulous hike, my second, my hiking partners first. Great weather and views. Shuttled in water to flat tower, used the jugs to refill at the spring, half a gallon for the 3rd day. Just a warning...saw a 4 and half foot rattlesnake at flat tower and it crawled back under the rock imbetween the two front tower platforms....I'm assuming it has a den gave us plenty of warning. Definitely will be a regular hike for me!

By: V Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 1, 2017
Great hike with lots of great views. I saw 4 large rattlesnakes on the trail. Also found numerous ticks on me. The well had plenty of water. I purified 10 liters of water for my party. However, the spring wasn't flowing. Someone stole an external light bar from the truck in the north parking lot. That's a big turnoff for this hike. I don't know if I can trust that someone won't cause hundreds of dollars in damage. The intersection of Landis and north fork is poorly labeled. They both have blue markers and the trail signs are a bit twisted.

By: Andrew Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 20, 2017
A friend and I day hiked the entire trail. It was a great hike! Tons of views. Took us 8 hrs of walking time and 1.5 hrs for lunch and stops. Checked the spring at the half way point and water was flowing pretty well. Definitely could have filtered some if we needed water. The above instructions were spot on and made it impossible to get lost.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 9, 2017
This is one of my favorite hikes, especially early spring. The views are spectacular! I have hiked it both directions, I spent 3 days hiking North to South several years ago and just completed a South to North which I like and enjoyed much more, but was limited to two days.  My recommendation would be, hike South to North, take three days and visit every overlook. The campsite at 12.4 was vacant with a little trash here and there. I personally steer clear of camping near roads or easy access points. There was still a little snow on the ground so the spring was flowing well. The trail is well maintained, however there are a few trees across the trail you will have to go around, but it's all good. The later in the summer and the dryer it gets, I would consider a water cache. With that said i think the trail has been accurately described in the other reviews, enjoy! Be cautious of leaving your vehicle parked at the North trail head as it is secluded and an easy target. I had a bike rack stolen from my Toyota Tacoma. Just a note to the person who allowed me work for what they have taken, you'll need the key to unlock it and I will be happy to get it to you.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 27, 2017
Hiked entire trail Sunday, March 26 to Tuesday the 28th, 2017. One of the top 20 backpacking trips in the South. Camped at the overlook at mile 4.6 and then the killer campsite right near the Redman trail. The hiking was fairly easy and the views get better with every mile. The spring at mile 12 was flowing fine..lot of leaf litter so we filtered it,but it was excellent water. The last last 6 miles are just magnificent! I have some great photos!! I hope to go back in October. My first trip to the mountains of West Virginia and not my last. I wish I could post a few photos on this site.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 14, 2017
FR 79 is a little tough to find if you are going to cache water. As you travel south on Smoke Hole road from the north, look for a "Dead End" sign on your right side just before descending into the "trailer park". That's FR 79. It's not marked. Once you get to the top of the fire road, it's obvious where to stash your water. A 4x4 is needed to get up there, especially in the winter. The NFMT is exceptionally well marked and easy to follow once you get on the trail. Weather was between 18 and 40 degrees and wet. I think it's usually colder with more snow. Some ice and snow on the ridge but not much. Trail was pretty clear. There is a spring after the water cache and before the 501 spur down. It was literally flowing out of the hill and right across the trail. I don't know if it was an anomaly or what considering what other reviewers have said about the lack of water. We hiked the whole trail in a day and a half. Stayed at the bunkhouse at Yokum's for cheap afterwards.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 4, 2016
This is a fantastic hike with awesome views and often. I would suggest doing this trail as a three day two night hike. This will allow you to slow down and enjoy the many many spectacular views. Second, it will allow you to camp before and after the middle section where the County Fire Road (79) joins the trail. This is obviously a local party spot and they do not care for their treasures. Its very unfortunate as this is the location of the only spring on the trail. Camp anywhere before this area then pass thru on the second day and just pick up water as you pass by. Water at the spring was good and plentiful.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Hiked on Sunday and Monday, which was great since we had the place to ourselves!  Didn't see another soul. The hike is a good one, great views, and often. The trail, while in spots could use some maintenance, was overall very easy.  Not rocky, soft ground, easy to follow. The road walk is the most disappointing portion of the hike, mostly because of the copious amounts of beer cans strewn everywhere along the route you can tell this is a party spot for locals. There was at least one abandoned tent at one end of the road and someone possibly living at the other end.

I would hope that people that do decide to stash water come and pickup the empties after they are done the hike obviously that doesn't happen. There were a few dozen empty, half empty, and completely full water jugs strewn around mile 12. We carried 6L of water and had plenty for 2 days without the need to make the place look like a garbage dump.

There were many nice camping spots along the way. I might be tempted to make this a three day hike just to slow down even more. There's a great spot at mile 8 and mile 16. The campsite at mile 12 is the worst, I would avoid and rather make my own campsite then stay there - it's right at the end of the road walk, so the spot that has a parking lot, a pile of empty jugs, other piles of beer cans, and possibly a homeless guy living there add to that the closeness of the road which is right on a hairpin turn and it might be a bad night. We pushed ahead and camped at mile 16 - which is one of the most amazing campsites I've stayed in - views are sweeping and gorgeous, rock formations are right there to block the wind and climb out on to. The difference between mile 12 and mile 16, while only 4 miles, made the difference between disappointment and joy.

We did around 2.5 miles per hour over the entirety of the hike, not much elevation gain or lose (until the end!) and views throughout made every break an experience.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 23, 2016
Trail itself very narrow at times and is difficult due to broken terrain and rocks, this slows the pace and can be extremely hazardous at times!  I can not stress that point enough, if one is not careful in their footing or rolls an ankle at an inopportune time there could be a large unforgiving fall from the trail.  Well fitting footwear is a must have, personally leather ankle high boots would be ideal for this reason.  The spring was active and looked more like a well but water was flowing down hill through wet grass and leaves into a small messy basin with leaves and algae.  Water was pumped from the well and tasted great.  It saved our bacon as we completely underestimated the amount of water we would consume based on the extreme heat (90+ deg F).  Spotted black bear, rattle snake, and many dear.  Be prepared, our trip was cut short due to the heat and blisters on most of our party.  Many of the camping sights were very nice and this entire trip would have been much more enjoyable in cooler weather where 4+ liters of water are not consumed per person per day.

By: ArPacker Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, May 12, 2016
Overlooks are truly relentless, we even found ourselves walking by a few in order to make time. You'll never get such great views with this minimal uphill walking. Lots of trails have 2 or 3 great overlooks this one has them every 2 miles. From about the 2 mile mark on there are campsites every ½ mile for most of the trial. So if someone is camping just walk another ½-1mile and your good. You hike on the right side of this trail for 90% of it, only crossing the peak 1 time. The rocks on the trail are a slight nuisance and are everywhere. We camped around 4.4 where they had clear cut the area and there were mounds of wood on the ground. TIP: At mile 11 As your walking down FR79 the gas line on the left will intersect with 79 again, it's a short cut we realized after the fact. The Campsite at 12.4 had plenty of water for filtering. It had been raining for 17 days before the trip and there was still no other water sources this whole trip.

Night 2 we camped at 16.5 there are 4 campsites there and glad we did, we found a great overlook not marked on the map just above that campsite. For the last 8 miles out it rained so unfortunately chimney top was unsafe to venture out on to. The last 2 miles are straight downhill with lots of rocks so be careful. If you're going to do this trail I recommend following the way it's laid out, cause backwards would be a gasser for sure.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 11, 2015
If you like awesome overlooks and killer rock formations, this is a great hike! Starting at Redman Run Trail and then finishing at the North End makes for a nice 9.6 mile one-day hike that is not too strenuous... and it hits some of the best features and builds as it goes. First you see a really cool overlook, then a nice rock outcropping and view at the summit. As you continue along, the Table Top overlook and then finally the Chimney Top are truly spectacular!! All the pictures in the world can't come close to what it's like. The trail itself is nice with only a few rocky sections. This is one of my favorite hikes I have ever done and is really a hidden gem. And the area is under 2.5 hours from DC. The local hotels are cheap too (Fort Hill Motel was clean and $60 a night!)... and Seneca Rocks is a great sister hike. We loved it so much I made a Rockumentary of our trip .... Go there and you will not be disappointed!!

By: Pat C Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 12, 2015
Hiked as a 2 day hike.  Scenery was some of the best in WV!  A few nice ups to get your heart pumping.  The down on the north end was a quad and knee killer.   The spring at FS79 had water, but was full of leaves.  Someone has placed a white plastic pipe in a flow about 20 feet below and slightly south of the spring and about the same distance above the little pond.  The water was flowing very well and was clear and cold.  Filled 1 liter bottle in about 15 seconds. I would not recommend camping in the site on a Saturday night, as there seems to be a lot of traffic:  Twice with 2 pickup trucks with bear dogs, 1 couple in a white pickup and at 0245 Sunday morning a car came up and then left.  There is a decent site about 1/8 mile on northward.  It would hold a couple of tents and/or hammocks and is out of site of the road.  No other campsite heading north until Redman Run Trail, where there are plenty of places to set up a tent or hang a hammock. 
We did hear water running at the intersection of the old Kimble trail, but did not check it out. So, there may be a spring/stream in that area.  Otherwise, there is no other dependable water than the aforementioned spring or from vehicle ruts at the tower area, a little ways from the FS79 campsite.   There are several areas with No Trespassing signs, which we honored.  I would say this hike is for an experienced hiker that knows how to carry a light pack and can estimate their personal water usage.  The terrain is not overly rough, but there are some decent, but short climbs.  It does take its toll on the feet and knees. 

By: JC Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 9, 2014
Good hike, more difficult to go north-south rather than south to north. Spring at 12.4 had ample clear water. Great views, quite a bit of fauna.

By: Steve Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 7, 2014
I hiked this trail Nov.7-9, 2014. Vistas were jaw dropping and one after the other. Doing this after the leaves have fallen was the perfect time. The spring at mile 12.4 had between 8-10 inches of clear water. Has this spring ever been reported to be dry?

By: Bill Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 4, 2014
Challenging with great views. Make sure to take a good look at the campsite listed at 12.4 if you have any hope of finding the spring. There are at least 2 trail 501 signs so we were looking for water near the first for a while. That campsite with all the boulders is a good marker, it's right on a road with cars parking there when I went by. Finished hike the next day. The spring box was pretty solid, deep enough to pump out of without touching the bottom. About 2.5-3 inches deep. It was quite dry so I would bet this spring is reliable. Great hike.

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