It has been a while since last posting here, which is not say that we haven't been out hiking. In August, we took a trip to the Pacific Northwest and explored the Olympics and Cascades on foot. As this is meant to be a blog about hiking near the Baltimore and in the Mid-Atlantic Region, I decided against posting descriptions of any of those incredible hikes. Furthermore, we have also been doing some trail work with the PATC on Catoctin and South Mountain, and while those trips involve a good deal of hiking, they are not the type of hike that would be interesting to outline here.
In any event, this last Sunday, despite the weather, we took a trip out to the Michaux State Forest, just across the Mason-Dixon in Pa. I had wanted to do this particular hike, northeast of Waynesboro, for some time after reading a description of it here on Mid-Atlantic Hikes. There, loop hikes of 4.5, 6.2, 7.4 and 8 miles are described. Originally we had intended on doing one of the longer hikes, but the weather was a little iffy so we settled on a variant of the shortest hike that added about 1 mi of additional hiking, for a total of 5.7mi with about 1350ft of elevation gain (9% average grade). Because 1000ft of this occur in less than 1.5mi of hiking this hike can be a bit strenuous. The highlight of the trip is Chimney Rock, a natural chimney formation, which overlooks the South Mountain highlands to the north and east. "Climbing Rock" (a.k.a. Schaffer Rock/Monument Rock?) near the PATC Hermitage Cabin and the cascading Tumbling Run are secondary highlights.
Hiking Difficulty Rating - 37
0.0-0.3 mi - From the parking lot, proceed east passed the springhouse to the AT. Turn left (north) onto the white blazed AT and proceed into the woods.
0.3-0.7 Come to Rattlesnake Run Road and cross. Continue through woods to junction Old Forge Rd (a few parking spots are available here).
0.7-1.0 Turn right onto Old Forge Rd and cross Tumbling Run on the road bridge, immediately on the other side of the bridge turn left off of the road onto the AT and into the woods. Ascend gradually next to Tumbling Run.
1.0-2.2 Arrive at the junction with the blue blazed Tumbling Run Trail on the left at the Tumbling Run Shelter. Proceed right on the AT and ascend, steeply at times.
2.2-2.4 At the top of the mountain come to the junction with the blue-blazed Chimney Rock Spur. Proceed right, 0.1mi to Chimney Rock and views of the South Mountain highlands to the east and north. Return to the junction with the AT.
2.4-2.6 From junction, look for the blue blazed Tumbling Run Trail on the far side of the AT to the right (north). Proceed west on Tumbling Run Trail.
2.6-2.9 Come to to a clearing at the turnaround on the seasonal Chimney Rock Rd. Turn left and following the blue blazes on the old road bed.
2.9-3.3 At the junction, proceed right, uphill. To the left, Tumbling Run Trail proceeds downhill ~1mi. to to Tumbling Run at Hermitage Cabin.
3.3-3.5 At fallen tree across roadbed, turn left into the woods and proceed downhill. Follow the blue blazes, trail bed can be difficult to discern.
3.5-3.6 Come to crossing of Tumbling Run. Proceed right, upstream briefly and locate trail on the other side of the stream and cross. Crossing may be difficult and dangerous in high water . On the far side, proceed passed the spring (blue blazes may be difficult to see, turn around to find the fresher blazed painted on the opposite side of the trees) and uphill to Swift Run Rd.
3.6.-3.7 Turn left on Swift Run Rd, at the bend in the road, proceed straight onto the blue blazed trail. Side trails lead left to top of "Climbing Rock".
3.7-3.8 Descend steeply to Hermitage Cabin and bridge over Tumbling Run. On the far side of Tumbling Run, look for the blue blazed trail leading to the right across a small stream (proceeding straight leads ~1.0 uphill to road junction previously encountered).
3.8-4.7 Proceed downhill next to Tumbling Run, following the blue blazes. Pass the Tumbling Run shelter on your left and campsite on your right before coming to junction with AT.
4.7-5.7 Proceed straight onto the AT and retrace your track back to the parking lot.