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Topic: Roaring Plains, West Virginia (5/18/2014), Trip report< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: May 19 2014, 10:39 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

May 18, 2014: Rambling the Roaring Plains

One of my favorite areas in West Virginia is the 4000ft+ plateau comprised of Roaring and Flatrock Plains. Sitting just to the south of the extremely popular big brother plateau, Dolly Sods, the more rugged nature of the trails leads to a much quieter place. I had last visited Roaring Plains two years back, so felt that it was time for a return trip.

Route: South Prong Trail > Hidden Passage Trail > Canyon Rim Trail > Teepee Trail > Roaring Plains Trail > Boar's Nest Trail

Stats: 13mi, 2400ft gain, 10hrs

I meandered a bit on the drive from Pittsburgh, enchanted by a lovely sunrise in Canaan Valley, so it was 7:00am by the time I began my hike, along the South Prong Trail. The temperature was 33F, which meant that I was not looking forward to my first challenge of the day: a ford of the icy cold South Prong of Red Creek, just 0.3mi in. As I dried out on the far side I took my mind of my cold feet by photographing the beautiful red waters of the aptly named Red Creek. I knew I may have to pay for all this tardiness, by having to curtail my intended route, but I've learnt that it's better to be flexible, especially when indulging in photography - I can only enjoy the hike for its duration and just that little bit more, while the enjoyment of going through my photos lasts much longer.

Canaan Valley: Sunrise
Canaan Valley

Red Creek: Chocolate rock
Red Creek: Chocolate rock

Red Creek: Lush reds and greens
Red Creek: Luscious reds and greens

After the ford, the South Prong Trail began a rising traverse, paralleling Red Creek. Near the top of the mountain, I re-crossed the creek, but was able to avoid having to take my boots off, with the aid of some nifty footwork. A short while later I cut across FR70, continuing to climb. About 0.6mi after crossing the forest road, I said goodbye to the South Prong Trail and picked up the Hidden Passage Trail (unofficial name) in a meadow. There was a party camped in the meadow, which would be the only other souls I'd see on the entire hike.

Red Creek: Slab
Red Creek: Crossed atop the flat rock

The Hidden Passage Trail was a delight to hike, as I picked my way through pretty meadows. Spring had yet to arrive in full force here; most of the hardwoods and shrubs were yet to green up. Near the end of the trail, I was treated to some expansive views, but since I knew that these would only get better, I did not linger.

Roaring Plains: Leaf cluster
Leaf cluster

Roaring Plains: Hemmed in
Hemmed in

Roaring Plains: Grassy path
Grassy path

The Hidden Passage Trail terminated on a pipeline swath. I hung a left here, for a short distance, before picking up the Canyon Rim Trail (another unofficial trail). Things got a lot more rugged on this trail, and it was slow going. The views kept improving though. Eventually I reached the best viewpoint of the hike: a rocky outcrop known as "The Point". Sweeping views were the reward for the day's effort. By now I knew that I would have to curtail my hike somewhat and take the dreaded Teepee Trail, so I allowed myself the extra time to decompress and just enjoy the sights.

Roaring Plains: Pipeline swath
Pipeline swath

Roaring Plains: Spring leaves
Spring leaves

Roaring Plains: Cabbage leaves
Cabbage leaves

Roaring Plains: Spruce needles
Spruce needles - sharper than they look!

Roaring Plains: Rhododendron bushes and spruce
Rhododendrons and spruce

Roaring Plains: The point
The Point

Roaring Plains: Talus
Talus field

Roaring Plains: Marching trees
Marching trees

The Teepee Trail is located a little less than 1.5mi from The Point. The last time I hiked it, I had been wearing shorts and the hardy bushes and stubby spruce trees, which encroach on the trail, had ripped my legs to shreds. This time I was armed with long pants and knee-high gaiters. A few curses may have made the birds blush, but it was a largely pain free trip down the trail, this time around.

Roaring Plains: Lily
Spring beauty

After being dumped unceremoniously onto the Roaring Plains Trail, and having dusted myself off, I was able to pick up the pace. I flew down this one, and then for a short while on FR70, before picking up the Boar's Nest Trail. This stayed mostly level for about 1.5mi, as it cut across Flatrock Plains, before dropping steeply down to the South Prong of Red Creek. One final ford and a short uphill section, and I was back at the car, already dreaming of a warm bath in the comfort of my home.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 19 2014, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice.  The first pic blew me away, but the point one is my favorite.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 19 2014, 11:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Everytime you post pics I emit a small shriek of joy.

I know what you mean about the teepee trail.  I usually end up taking it because I've always had a hard time following the rim after the campsite where TP intersects.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 7:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice pics.

We hiked it last year.  I think it's one of the better hikes up in that area (aside from the TP trail).
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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 8:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Is the Tee-pee trail becoming more obvious?

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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 8:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I gotta get back out there. Beautiful pictures as always.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 8:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the TR and pics - they look great. I keep telling folks to avoid the Teepee Trail at all costs because it's a pain and the best part of Canyons Rim is still to come. Most ignore my advice and only later concede that Teepee wasn't a good idea. As a bail-out it's a nice option but I wouldn't willingly hike it. The huge boulder beyond it is always the highlight of the hike for me.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 9:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This was my third time hiking the Canyon Rim. The first time was three years ago, when I took the Teepee Trail. I found it a real chore to find the entrance since there was a lot of brush hiding the entrance. MR, this time the entrance was pretty obvious; there was even a cairn there. The only place you could potentially go off course was at the end, when you take a left up the sandy watercourse. Someone had put a cairn on the opposite side of the watercourse, which might falsely indicate that the Teepee Trail continued on. Looked brushy in there, but I was already familiar with the left turn.

On my previous time hiking the Canyon Rim, two years ago, I did not take the Teepee Trail. aseege1, I don't remember finding the rest of the Canyon Rim Trail being any harder to follow than the bit before, but maybe you got unlucky and went off course somewhere...?


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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 9:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Canyons Rim trail after Teepee is generally about the same level of difficulty in route finding as before. Watch for the cairns in the huge boulder field and at the bottom. The woods section was difficult when I first hiked it about 10 years ago but it's better marked now. There is one tricky part near a large rock near the end of the trail but other than that it's fine. Now, hiking it backwards it is fairly difficult to get on and stay on for a while. Did that two years ago.

Gali, the end of Teepee is an old railroad grade. Is that what you're calling a sandy watercourse?


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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 10:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GaliWalker @ May 20 2014, 9:17 am)
QUOTE
Someone had put a cairn on the opposite side of the watercourse, which might falsely indicate that the Teepee Trail continued on. Looked brushy in there, but I was already familiar with the left turn.

When I was there in October of last year someone rearranged this cairn into a left arrow.

I suppose you are right about me missing the rest of the rim.  I may have gotten turned around.  I found the entrance to TP more visible than anything else. (Multiple cairns constructed and clear path visible)
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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 10:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(vdeal @ May 20 2014, 9:24 am)
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Gali, the end of Teepee is an old railroad grade. Is that what you're calling a sandy watercourse?

It looks like a less well defined version of the official Roaring Plains Trail, with a similarly wet/sandy surface, and pretty flat. It formed a T-junction with the Teepee Trail. The Roaring Plains Trail is only about 50-100yds away, once you take a left on this one.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 10:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GaliWalker @ May 20 2014, 10:17 am)
QUOTE

(vdeal @ May 20 2014, 9:24 am)
QUOTE
Gali, the end of Teepee is an old railroad grade. Is that what you're calling a sandy watercourse?

It looks like a less well defined version of the official Roaring Plains Trail, with a similarly wet/sandy surface, and pretty flat. It formed a T-junction with the Teepee Trail. The Roaring Plains Trail is only about 50-100yds away, once you take a left on this one.

Gali,

Yep, that's it. It's one of the old logging railroad grades on top of the plains. Take a right and you'll end up in a large open boggy glade. First time I hit it I thought it was the RP trail and headed that way, wondering why is wasn't wider like I remembered. Well, when I hit the glade I knew we were misplaced. Backtracked and easily found the RP trail.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 20 2014, 11:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MRHyker @ May 20 2014, 8:03 am)
QUOTE
Is the Tee-pee trail becoming more obvious?

Only been there once myself.  IMHO, it wouldn't take much more than a little work with a machete to clear it out.

The worst place was right around the tee pee and then some sort of cairn that pointed to the left when you exited.

Those were the two worst places that stuck in my mind, but then I don't remember things all that well. :p

The topo maps on my GPS actually sent me down the old railroad grade. Didn't take too long wading in the bog to figure out that it was the wrong way.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 21 2014, 9:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I also ventured into the bog during the "pre-arrow" days.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 21 2014, 9:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Me thinks, I need to visit this bog all of you get drawn to! :D

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PostIcon Posted on: May 22 2014, 4:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, the Teepee trail sucked bad last May, there was a few rough spots right in around the teepee as Arf states, blow downs and the like, plus we got turned around right at the end, and ended up in that bog.  That spot is so tricky, your literally 20 feet from the main trail, but you can't see it since the brush is so thick!

I'd like to go back and do it again, this time the whole canyon rim.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 24 2014, 6:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The "bog" that everyone is referring to is actually a cranberry glade. You have to be there at just the right time to harvest the cranberries. The old RR grade supposedly ran all the way to near where Roaring Run falls off of the mountain, near the USGS marker that you pass on the rim trail.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2014, 7:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I REALLY need to do this loop one of these days.

Does it back blueberry bushes along it?  Was going to plan a trip out there during the berry season.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2014, 8:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MikeyLXT @ May 25 2014, 7:38 am)
QUOTE
I REALLY need to do this loop one of these days.

Does it back blueberry bushes along it?  Was going to plan a trip out there during the berry season.

"A picture paints a thousand words":



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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2014, 8:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(vdeal @ May 20 2014, 8:42 am)
QUOTE
Thanks for the TR and pics - they look great. I keep telling folks to avoid the Teepee Trail at all costs because it's a pain and the best part of Canyons Rim is still to come. Most ignore my advice and only later concede that Teepee wasn't a good idea. As a bail-out it's a nice option but I wouldn't willingly hike it. The huge boulder beyond it is always the highlight of the hike for me.

V:

The nastiness of the Tee-Pee Trail comes up every time there is a discussion of the Roaring Plains. We need to remember that many folks just do not have the physical ability, stamina and/or time to do the full loop as a day hike. I know I would never attempt it. As a matter of fact, given my age and current physical condition I don't think I would even try that. If I tried the full day hike as you suggest  you would for sure find my carcass, picked over by the vultures, at the vista at the horse camp.

For those who have only read about the Tee-Pee trail on this forum here is a photo of a friend, Rachel, hiking the trail. Once again, "A picture paints a thousand words":



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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2014, 9:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MRHyker @ May 25 2014, 8:54 am)
QUOTE

(vdeal @ May 20 2014, 8:42 am)
QUOTE
Thanks for the TR and pics - they look great. I keep telling folks to avoid the Teepee Trail at all costs because it's a pain and the best part of Canyons Rim is still to come. Most ignore my advice and only later concede that Teepee wasn't a good idea. As a bail-out it's a nice option but I wouldn't willingly hike it. The huge boulder beyond it is always the highlight of the hike for me.

V:

The nastiness of the Tee-Pee Trail comes up every time there is a discussion of the Roaring Plains. We need to remember that many folks just do not have the physical ability, stamina and/or time to do the full loop as a day hike. I know I would never attempt it. As a matter of fact, given my age and current physical condition I don't think I would even try that. If I tried the full day hike as you suggest  you would for sure find my carcass, picked over by the vultures, at the vista at the horse camp.

For those who have only read about the Tee-Pee trail on this forum here is a photo of a friend, Rachel, hiking the trail. Once again, "A picture paints a thousand words":


My experience more resembles plowing my way through the middle of some kind of huge bushes, but yeah, it was similar :laugh:

One day, I'm going though there with a machete :cool:
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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2014, 11:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've done the entire Canyon Rim trail as a dayhike (my previous time), but it took a while.  ??? I think the family was out of town that day, so I was in no rush to get back home.

To give an idea of the ruggedness of these trails, yesterday I hiked 18mi on the Laurel Highlands Trail, which netted me 4,450ft of elevation gain, on regular trail. It took me exactly 7hrs to do this. Contrast this with my Roaring Plains circuit, which was a mere 12-13mi, with 2400ft of gain, but took me 10hrs!

MR, thanks for that bit of history about the logging road, from the bog to the canyon rim.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2014, 1:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Doing the entire Canyons Rim as a loop with the Roaring Plains Trail is actually not that difficult if you start at the pipeline off of the FS road when it is open. I never meant to imply a loop from anywhere else. I'm in my 50's and don't consider it even a stretch. My hiking friend is in his 60's and has no problem with it either. In fact we've done the Canyons Rim plus the more difficult to follow at times Tower Trail as a loop in one day in the shorter days of October without undo difficulty. Oh, and we don't run or speed hike. Honestly, the time you spend thrashing across Teepee would get you half way across the rest of Canyons Rim. But, I may stop discouraging people from Teepee. It will just mean less people on the rest of Canyons Rim when I'm there. :-)

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