'Not The Popular Trails' Ride
at George Washington National Forest
with the NOVA Jeepers
October 16, 2004

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Group pulled off to the side of West Side Road taking a break Lake on Private Property near the end of West Side Road Lake on Private Property near the end of West Side Trail Shot from trail near the end of West Side Road Shot from the trail near the end of West Side Road My TJ parked during lunch break at the two gates where Mitchels Knob Road meets Fisher Knob Road and Buck Lick Run Big Daddy YJ's Jeep while we were parked for lunch Roverhound's Bobbie while we were stopped for lunch Roverhound's Rover just above the Buck Lick Run stream crossing obstacle My TJ just above the Buck Lick Run stream crossing after I had returned from a run further down the trail to see if it continued RTFS coming down to Buck Lick Run stream crossing with Big Daddy YJ spotting RTFS entering Buck Lick Run stream crossing Buck Lick Run stream crossing Big Daddy YJ posing on a rock at Buck Lick Stream crossing My Tj and Roverhound's Rover at the end of Rough Run Road where it meets 87 and 85 RTFS's Rubi at the end of Rough Run Road Route 85 taken from Route 87 - There is nothing important here, I just thought it would make a nice picture Shot of the mountains taken from the Little Dry River road overlook My TJ with mountains in the background taken from the Little Dry River road overlook From left to right, Big Daddy YJ, Roverhound and RTFS taken at the Little Dry River road overlook My Jeep taken at the high side of the Little Dry River road overlook - if you look really closely you can see some of the wet snowflakes that were falling Powerlines taken from German River Road My Jeep and powerlines taken on German River Road GPS track data screen shot from before this ride to use as a comparison to new shot GPS waypoint and track map screen shot to show what we covered

This ride was something that I had been wanting to do for quite a while. There are a million trails in George Washington National Forest, yet we always seem to run the same trails. I wanted to go out and explore some of these less traveled trails. At first I just wanted to turn down a random side trail and see where it took us, but then I started getting a little concerned that I would get the group hopelessly lost. So, I did some planning and research to plot out a good route for us to follow. We didn't stick to my plan at all, but it was comforting knowing that I had it if I needed it.

We first headed out to Hall Springs Road (which is also labeled on some maps as the Shenendoah Mountain Trail.) I was psyched as my waypoint I had plotted was right on. I took the turn to encounter a closed gate. After some discussion with the group, my backup plan was also a wash as I was told it was also closed. Big Daddy YJ found us another route, so we followed 33 into West Virginia. I missed the turn, so we ended up turning around and finally caught West Side Road. After an hour of driving around, we had finally gotten off pavement.

We followed this road north until the end where we met some paved back roads.

After a few miles, we turned onto Rough Run Road. We followed this back a ways and found an open gate (thanks to whoever noticed it after I drove by.) This was Mitchels Knob Road, and we followed it north. There were a few side trails leading to some campsites, but nothing noteworthy. Following it further north, we came to a four way intersection where this trail ended, crossed over Buck Lick Run and, if we had followed it further, would have led to Fisher Knob and then Camp Run.

We took Buck Lick Run, which was labeled as a Jeep trail, to the east. After a few forks that led only to a hunting camp, we did come to a nice obstacle. It was a stream crossing with some rocks thrown in.

Since this trail led nowhere, we followed it out the other way to pavement. We followed that south and back onto Rough Run Road. The first time, we had turned off half way so we ran the entire length of the trail. We even encountered a group of three deer near the end of the trail. It led us out to intersection of routes 85 and 87. This is also very close to where Hall Springs Road would have led us earlier, had it been open.

Following Little Dry River Road (Route 87) we found a very nice scenic overlook and were greeted by cold winds and a few quick moments with snow flakes.

We were not where I thought we were but we did find the trail head to German River Road. This was one of the trails on my original plan. We ran it and left many side trails unexplored, but it was still a very nice ride. The trail finally let us out on Route 818.

We followed 818 out to where we decided to call it a day.

These were all easy trails and most of them were simply fire roads. Still, it was incredible to be able to go places that we had never been or even heard of. With five maps between us, a computer map, and four GPS units it was still an effort to find our way around. Seeing trails that had absoultly no trash on them made it worth all the effort.

I owe a very big thanks to Big Daddy YJ, RTFS, Mrs. RTFS, Roverhound, and Bobbie.

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