Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Lynn Trail, GWNF

This posting is part of my effort to document trails in the North River District of the George Washington National Forest that don't have much in the way of online descriptions.  If you are interested in hiking trails in this area, I recommend obtaining the book, "Shenandoah Mountain Trails: A Guide to Trails on Shenandoah Mountain in Rockingham and Augusta Counties, Virginia." The book is written by Timothy Hupp of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and can be ordered from the Club's online bookstore.

The Lynn Trail (#426) is a short trail that connects the summit of Reddish Knob with the Briery Branch Road (VA 924, better known as the road to Reddish Knob).  When used with several other trails in the area, it is possible to hike trails from the Hone Quarry Campground to the summit of Reddish Knob. This trail is also great for hiking to the summit of Reddish Knob when you do not want to put in the miles all the way from Tilghman Road.

The Lynn Trail has one trailhead accessible by car (though you can plant cars at either end of the longer hike that is described here).  The trail's eastern end is on the Briery Branch Road (Va 924), better known as the road to Reddish Knob.  There is a brown hiker sign on the road, a little way past the lake formed by the Briery Branch dam.  There is a turnoff here, but the area is very wet, so it is usually better simply to park at a wide spot on the road unless you have a high clearance, 4WD vehicle.

Mile 0.0 - From the Briery Branch Road, head south (left off of the main road as you look up slope) on a gravel road that leaves the main road at a point marked by a wooden post (see below).  The road curves right quickly, and just before the curve is a wide spot that also makes excellent parking, though when I hiked here there was a muddy area between the main road and this parking.
Side road off of Briery Branch Road.
Parking area on side road.
Mile 0.7 - The road fords Briery Branch.  I had to take off my shoes and socks to ford this one.

Mile 1.0 -  Come to a red gate and multiple "No Trespassing" signs signaling the trail leaving the road and heading to the left uphill.  (You can park here if you have a high clearance, 4WD vehicle.)  Follow the yellow blazing to stay on the trail.  The trail follows a small valley made by a stream and ascends for the next two miles at a stiff 17.7 percent grade.

Mile 1.4 - Switch back to the right leaving the stream and then switch back quickly to the left onto a ridge.  It appears that the trail once followed the ridge all the way to the road, but was re-routed at some point.

Mile 2.1 - Switch back to the left, then within about 400 feet switch back to the right again.  By this point, winter views of the valley behind you should be possible.

Mile 2.5 - The Lynn Trail ends upon reaching the Wolf Ridge Trail (#378).  To the left, the Wolf Ridge Trail drops 2.2 miles to the Tilghman Road where there is a large parking area. Note that, while any of these trails may see mountain bikers - I saw one on the Lynn Trail - the Wolf Ridge Trail is particularly popular among bikers due to changes a biking group made to the WRT on its eastern end.  I took the trail to the right so I could summit Reddish Knob and continued to climb, this time on the Wolf Ridge Trail.

Mile 3.1 - The Wolf Ridge Trail ends at the Timber Ridge Trail (#431).  To the left, the Timber Ridge Trail also heads down slope to the road.  I turned right, heading towards Reddish Knob.  Shortly after this point is a false summit, and the ridge drops back down and stays level for a while..

Mile 4.9 - The trail begins to ascend again.  You should see evidence on the trail by this point that the summit of Reddish Knob once sported a fire tower - downed utility poles and some remaining metal lines in the woods.  There were once a lot of towers in this area - Hardscrabble Knob to the south, Bother Knob just to the north, and then High Knob a few miles further north.  Only High Knob still stands and is definitely worth hiking to.
Notice the wire to the right.

Mile 5.6 -  Pass over a rock talus where there are nice views to the south.

Mile 5.9 - Go straight across the Reddish Knob access road and continue following the trail to the summit. This section has trillium near the trail, if you hike it at the right time of year.

Taken May 3, 2017. 
Mile 6.0 - Summit Reddish Knob.  It can often be windy and cold at the top, and there are often others who ascended the wimpy way - via their motorized vehicles.  The views from the top are amazing - except for the blacktop, which will be covered with graffiti.


  1. Jeff M, I have a FB group called "Hike Highland," which is slowly covering Highland, Bath and west Augusta counties, with aspirations to include Pendleton and Pocohontas Counties after a while. I would love to include a link this hike to "Hike Highland," with appropriate kudos to you as author. What do you think?

    1. One condition: you let me join your group! I have several other trail descriptions that are closer to Highland County scattered around this blog, such as Marshall Draft, Wild Oak, and the Smoke Camp Trail (just over the border in WV). Getting back to Highland's own Laurel Fork is a high priority for me.


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