Chief Benge Scout Trail

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Chief Benge Scout Trail

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CBST Trail Sign.JPG
Highlight Long single trail good for backpacking
Located Norton, Virginia
Trail Marking Yellow
Trail UseThings allowed to do on or near the trail

HikingCampingFishing

FeaturesThings to see on or near the trail

WaterfallsVistasMountains

Difficulty Rating Hard
Hiking TimeTime from car and back. Includes any time hiking to access this trail. 10 hrs600 Min <br />0.625 Days <br /> round trip
Distance: 18.7 mi30.095 km <br /> trailStrict non-repeating trail length / 37.4 mi60.189 km <br /> round tripTypical or shortest length from the car, hike the trail, and return to car
Trail Type In-and-Out
Low / High Point 1,360 ft453.333 Yards <br />414.528 Meters <br />3,450 ft1,150 Yards <br />1,051.56 Meters <br />
Elev. Gain/LossSee link for details of calculation. Gain/Loss is direction dependent. -99-99 Feet <br />-30.175 Meters <br /> / (-99-99 Feet <br />-30.175 Meters <br />) – North-to-South
Trip ReportsFrom user "hiked it" submissions<br/>Recent is within last 90 days No hikes logged yet
NearbyWithin 5 mi<br/>Click link to view list No other Trails within 5 mi
Parking 36° 53' 36.67" N, 82° 37' 42.49" W Map
Trailhead 36° 53' 36.67" N, 82° 37' 42.49" W Map
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Trail Overview[edit]

Chief Benge Scout Trail (CBST) is a good overnight backpacking opportunity or hike a section. Things to see and enjoy vary from High Knob overlook, cold mountain lakes, following streams in deep gorges, and Little Stony plunge waterfall.

How to get there[edit]

There are several routes to the High Knob Trailhead from Gate City, VA. One is direct for 25 miles on backroads in the Jefferson National Forest; another, is 40 miles but less than ten minutes longer due to better highway road. Choice depends on what you are doing and how much time available.

Better road route to High Knob:

  1. Take US23 north for 33 miles around to Norton, VA.
  2. Turn right/east on Hoot Owl Hollow Road/Route 622 for 1.5 miles.
  3. Turn right/south on Alley Valley Road for just under three miles.
  4. Turn sharp left/NE on FS Road 238 for half mile.
  5. Turn right/SW for short road to the former site of the High Knob Observation Tower.

Backroad route to High Knob:

  1. Take VA71 east out of Gate City for couple of miles.
  2. Turn left/north on VA72 for 11 miles to Ft. Blackmore.
  3. Turn left/north on Big Stoney Creek Road for 3.6 miles.
  4. Veer right/north to take Alley Valley Road/FS 213 for half mile, then first left to stay on Alley Valley Road for another winding 7.5 miles.
  5. Veer right/NE on FS Road 238 for half mile.
  6. Turn right/SW for short road to the former site of the High Knob Observation Tower.

Little Stony Creek Falls trailhead:

  1. Take VA71 east of Gate City for couple of miles.
  2. Turn left/north on VA72 and proceed north (through Ft. Blackmore and Dungannon, then past USFS Hanging Rock Recreation Area) for about 29 miles. The last road section will be very curvy.
  3. Turn left onto VA664 and go 1.1 miles
  4. Turn left onto gravel FS Road 700 and go 1.4 miles
  5. At the road split take the left (FS Road 701) and go 1 mile to gravel parking area.

For a car drop at Hanging Rock Rec. Area, then starting at High Knob:

  1. Take VA71 east of Gate City for couple of miles.
  2. Turn left/north on VA72 and proceed 22 miles north (through Ft. Blackmore and Dungannon) to USFS Hanging Rock Recreation Area.
  3. Drop off shuttle vehicle.
  4. Continue north on VA72 another eight miles to Norton, VA.
  5. Turn west on Highway US58 for nine miles to Exit #1.
  6. Take exit south onto Alley Valley Road/FS 213 for four miles.
  7. Turn sharp left/NE on FS Road 238 for half mile.
  8. Turn right/SW for short road to the former site of the High Knob Observation Tower.
  9. You're now at High Knob to begin the trip.

Route Description[edit]

The Scott County Chamber of Commerce has an excellent write-up of CBST with trailhead access and general description. Below is a summary until others can contribute more details.

Access Point Distance (mi) Elevation (ft)
High Knob 0.0
High Knob Lake 1.0
Mountain Fork 3.9
Edith Gap
Bark Camp Lake
Little Stony Falls 16.6
Hanging Rock Rec. Area 19.2

Distances are from High Knob. The last section is an extension onto Little Stony Creek Falls trail.

Access at Mountain Fork is from FS Road 704 which is locked for winter from Sept 15 thru May 15.

The recommended backpacking route is to drop off a vehicle at Hanging Rock Rec. Area, then start at High Knob so overall heading downhill. At Bark Camp Lake which is roughly mid-way, the trail splits to go around both sides as Lakeshore Trail. Travel around the northern shore for campground with showers and bathrooms (open April into October), or proceed around southern shore for a backcountry spot. The following day continues downstream, then past falls on Little Stony Creek to the car shuttle.

Typical Conditions[edit]

The trail varies depending on what section. Can be steep. Multiple creek crossings.

Fees, Permits, etc.[edit]

Camping is at High Knob Lake and Bark Camp Lake, which have $10-12/site fees. Hanging Rock and High Knob Recreation Areas have $3 day use fees.

Misc. Information[edit]

Per the Forest Service website, "Local communities are assisting the Forest Service in constructing a new High Knob Observation Tower, expected to be completed in the spring of 2012. From this tower visitors will enjoy an unrestricted view of five states."

Photos[edit]