Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Brushy Ridge 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.  This trail is in the southwestern portion of the District, and was part of the old Deerfield Ranger District.  Descriptions and photos are from hikes occurring in late March, 2020.

The Brushy Ridge Trail (#718) connects the western end of the Back Draft Trail (#546) with Deerfield Road (Va 629) just north of a parking area that serves as the trailhead for the Short Ridge Trail (#717).  The Brushy Ridge Trail is a one mile long connector trail, allowing a resolute hiker to travel from the Shenandoah Mountain Trail (#447) and/or the Marshall Draft Trail (#547) near Wallace Peak to the top of Walker Mountain or the Mill Mountain Trail (#492) when combined with a couple of other trails. It can be considered a "low use" trail. 

Eastern Trailhead location:

Western Trailhead Location:


From the western end of the Back Draft Trail (#546)walk the Forest Service road away from the gate downhill.  On the other side of Bright Hollow Road is a trail sign and a tree with three yellow diamonds.  This is the beginning of the Brushy Ridge Trail.


The trail climbs up a ridge with a nearby house in view.  This house has built a trail from their property to this trail, so be careful on your return not to absentmindedly end up in their property.

Once you reach the ridge, you will encounter the defining portion of this trail.  The trail crosses a clearcut made in anticipation of a natural gas pipeline that is currently in the courts.  You get some views from this clearcut, but it is a pretty awful place to cross.  The trail is not hard to follow, despite the carnage.


The mountain in view to the south is called Chestnut Ridge.



The trail returns to the forest, and cuts downhill to an old woods road.

The woods road leads west to the Deerfield Road.  Turn left here to get to the western trailhead, just off of the Deerfield Road to the south - behind the orange pole in the photo below on FR 392.



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