Contact: Vic Hasler
Little Stony Creek Trail in the Jefferson National Forest near Dungannon, VA follows an old railroad bed up to a very nice plunge waterfall. The Friday Hikers reported in May that the trail is now passable after removal of many blowdowns from the Winter 2009 storm. I consider this hike to be one of my favorites in the area. Bring water, a snack, comfortable boots or sneakers, rain gear, bug spray, and towel if you plan on briefly wading at the falls. Let’s leave at 1pm from the parking lot below McDonalds in Colonial Heights for the hour drive (40 miles). Trailhead sign says “2.6 mi” to the upper falls. We’ll search for a few small geocaches, while also mapping and photographing the trail. For further information, check the trail wiki or call/e-mail the hike leader.
Joe DeLoach hike notice
(Scheduled for Saturday, April 7, 2012)
The combination of wildflowers and waterfalls has led to some popular Club hikes, and we’re hoping for the same with this short hike to Margarette Falls. One of our prettiest area waterfalls, Margarette Falls drops about 60 feet and descends through a rocky canyon adorned by many spring flowers. The Unaka Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest has improved the trail with some relocation and a bridge, and the trail makes a great family hike suitable for young children. Round-trip distance is about 3 miles with an elevation gain of around 700 feet; see our listing in the Trail Wiki for more information. The flowers are early this year with all the warm weather, but early April can be cold, wet, and fickle so bring layers of clothes and good raingear. We’ll meet at 9:00 AM in the parking lot between McDonald’s and State of Franklin Bank in Colonial Heights. A meeting point in Boones Creek can be arranged for people who live towards Johnson City. We’ll plan on lunch at the falls and get you back in the early afternoon. Please contact Joe if you’d like to go or for more information.
Vic Hasler reporting
Located north of Big Stone Gap, VA, the Roaring Branch Trail is within the Jefferson National Forest. This hike ended up being 8 miles round trip with ~1400 ft elevation change requiring six and half hours to complete. The trail starts at the cascades (see photo), proceeds up the lush valley to the ridgeline, which is followed to the High Butte overlook. There are multiple stream crossings – mostly rock hopping, but one did end up needing to be waded. Blowdowns from the winter 2009 storms in the first 1.5 miles have been cleared by volunteers (per Forest Service ranger). The mid section, still along the creek, had not yet been maintained to remove several small tree falls plus trim back the rhododendron growth, thus required a few detours and lots of hand clipping. The upper section, emerging onto the ridge crest, changed to more open forest. At the overlook, lunch and the sunny day were enjoyed while peering down into Powell Valley. The return trip, downhill and with a more open path, was quick. Not much active wildlife was seen, except for several species of birds and a small snake on a rock in the trail. Out for the nearly spring day were Vic, Clark, and Ben Hasler. For more details, visit the TEHCC Trail Wiki’s entry for Roaring Branch Trail.