GET Guidebook 2c

Edition 1/25/2013

Section 2c
Capon Springs Road to US 48/VA/WV 55
Distance 7.4 miles

Falls on Hawk Run

Brief Description of the Section

    This section of the Tuscarora Trail runs from Capon Springs Road in the north to State Route 55/US 48 in the south.  Its lowest point is at the north end, Capon Springs Road (elevation 1000').  On the ridge, the trail peaks at approximately 2410'.
    Basically, it is a dry trail, so carry plenty of water.  There is water available at the Hawk Campground and Picnic Area at the northern end.  
    Carry a stove if you camp in the spring.  The Virginia brush laws allow open air fires from February 15 to April 30 only between 4 pm and midnight.  
    There is always at least a light breeze on the ridge top.
    Like much of the rest of the southern Tuscarora, the forest consists of predominantly oak and blackgum with a smattering of maple, hickory, and pine.  In this section, chokecherries dominate the shrub layer along with an introduced tall grass.  There are lady slippers and iris along the low-lying side trails.  In June the pink and white laurel, red columbine, lavender beardtongue, yellow rattlesnake weed and star grass bloom.  Later in the season, the false sunflower is commonly found throughout this section.  Along the ridgetop are grouse, great crested flycatchers, and indigo buntings.  Besides the usual blackberries, huckleberries, and blueberries, there are also smooth gooseberries.
    Whereas some of the trail is moss covered and cushioned with pine needles, there are many steep rocky sections with talus slopes to cross.  Most of the viewpoints are better in winter.
    For those wishing to camp, there are both group and individual accommodations at Hawk Recreation Area with the very basic facilities.  Water is provided at hand-pumped spigots and there are vault toilets.  There are 15 campsites with tent pads, picnic tables, fire rings and lantern poles.  There are 10 picnic sites complete with table and wood or charcoal grates.  Hawk is a no-fee area and is open on a seasonal basis, generally 4/3-10/15.  Adequate parking can be found here.  Primitive camping is also permitted off the trail anywhere in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.  Here are the camping regulations for this area:


 1. Camping is permitted in family and group campgrounds, and other reasonable places along the trail, where traffic is not impeded.  It is not permitted in the picnic area.  Observe posted regulations.
 2. Make small campfires in designated fireplaces or other safe locations.
 3. Clear the ground of flammable material within 4 feet of the fire.
 4. Use charcoal or camp stoves when possible.
 5. Campfires must be tended at all times and must be dead before campers leave.
 6. Report forest fires to the Lee Ranger District of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Edinburg, VA, 540-984 4101 or 911.
 7. Protect natural scenery from defacement.  To preserve ground cover and prevent erosion, please refrain from cutting across trail switchbacks.
 8. Fishing and hunting are permitted.  State regulations apply.   State licenses and a National Forest stamp required.
 9. Carry out all unburnable trash.
10. Cover all body waste with 6 inches of soil.

The PATC, Lee Ranger District and private landowners are working together on a seven-mile relocation of the Tuscarora Trail from the Cacapon River Valley to the Great North Mountain ridge. The relocated trail would follow the ridge northeasterly from mile point 5.5, through Dry Gap and past Eagle Rock and join the extant trail on the ridge above Lucas Woods. It is anticipated that this relocation will begin in 2010. The current trail would then be white- blazed and enable a circuit backpack between Hawk and Lucas Woods Hikers Camp.


  1. North end of section at Capon Springs Road.  Go 14 miles west of Winchester on US 50 or 12.6 miles west of Route 37 (the Winchester bypass) on US 50.  Turn south on Route 259, Carpers Pike. Go 10 miles on Carpers Pike to Capon Springs Road (CR 16).  The Tuscarora Trail crosses the road in 1.3 miles. Limited parking (2 or 3 vehicles) is available off the road on the north side.
  2. At Hawk Campground.  Go west on Route 55 (US 48) from I 81 Exit 296 near Strasburg, VA for 15 miles.  Go right at the "Hawk 4" sign on Great North Mountain Road.  (This is a mile down from the top of the mountain.)  Go 3 miles and turn left on Hawk Road.  Go 0.6 mile and turn right.  There is parking in the picnic area.  There are also group camping and individual camping areas.  Do not camp in picnic area.
  3. On Route 55.  Go west on VA 55 (US 48) from I-81 Exit 296 near Strasburg, VA for 14 miles.  Just before crossing the top of Great North Mountain (VA WV line), park on the left side of the road.  The Tuscarora Trail crosses Route 55 at the top of the ridge.


 North to south: Go east on Capon Springs Road (CR 16) 5.5 miles (pavement ends, road becomes VA 609) to US 48/VA 55, turn right and go 1.8 miles. 
 South to north:  Go east on US 48/VA 55 1.8 miles, turn left on VA 609 and go about 5.5 miles. 


  PATC Map F
  USGS 7.5' Quadrangles: Mountain Falls, VA-WV;  Wardensville, WV-VA

Useful Information
  Emergency - In WV or VA, Dial 9-1-1


Trail Description - North to South

Miles Detailed Trail Data
 0.0   From Capon Springs Road take woods road and cross chain across road.
 0.3  Road forks.  Take left fork.
 0.7  Turn left on path at top of ridge.
 1.0  Turn right on old woods road.
 1.1  Begin descent with switchbacks.
 1.3  First crossing of Hawk Run.  (Lovely small waterfall here with a pool beneath it.)
 1.5  Second crossing of Hawk Run.
 1.6  Third crossing of Hawk Run.  Trail then travels along woodland road paralleling Hawk Run for nearly one-half mile.
 2.0  Turn right uphill.
 2.1  Turn right into George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.  Red blazes mark National Forest boundary.
 2.3  Cross small intermittent stream.
 2.6  Game clearing to right.
 2.8  Road forks.  Go left leaving larger woods road.
 3.1  Side trail left to game clearing.
 3.2  Cross Hawk Road and reenter forest.
 3.3  Turn left from woods road and cross another woods road.
 3.7  Pass Hawk Campground and Picnic Area to left.  Trail continues to gravel road, crosses it and enters forest on woods road.
 4.2  Cross woods road.  Go around gate and follow edge of Hawk Road.
 4.6  Cross FDR 502 (North Mountain Road, elevation 1710 feet.).  Begin ascent of Great North Mountain on several switchbacks.
 5.5  Turn right at top of ridge through chokecherry, bear oak, serviceberry, and chestnut oak. Planned relocation would go northeasterly from this point.
 5.9  Cross under cables leading right to communications tower on ridgeline.  Follow sharp ridgeline with several good views left towards Cold Spring Gap.  Notice the near vertical dip of Tuscarora sandstone.
 7.4  Cross Route 55 on West Virginia side of state line (elevation 2140 feet).  (Good shoulder parking to right at road leading north to communications tower.)  Ahead follow old ridgeline forest road through area of dense Minnie-bush.  GET continues across Route 55 into Section 3a.  (If you hike here in May, you will be treated to the unusual find of shooting stars about 0.5 mile south of Route 55.)

Trail Description - South to North

Miles Detailed Trail Data
 0.0  Cross Route 55 on West Virginia side of state line (elevation 2140 feet).  (Good shoulder parking to left at road leading north to communications tower.)  Ahead follow sharp ridgeline through chokecherry, bear oak, serviceberry, and chestnut oak with several good views of Cold Spring Gap to right.  Notice the near vertical dip of Tuscarora sandstone.
 1.5   Cross under cables leading left to communications tower on ridgeline.
 1.9   Bear left as trail descends from Great North Mountain on several switchbacks to FDR 502.  Planned relocation would go northeasterly from this point.
 2.8   Cross FDR 502.
 3.4   Cross forest road, with gate on right.  Trail continues to roughly parallel Hawk Road.
 3.6   Pass Hawk Campground and Picnic Area to right (elevation 1370 feet). Trailhead parking available in lot on left after entering campground.
 3.9   Cross woods road and then turn right.
 4.0   Cross Hawk Road, which continues as woods road veering left.  Trail forks; bear right.
 4.1   Side trail to game clearing to right.
 4.5   Go right on woods road.
 4.7   Game clearing on left.
 5.1   Intermittent stream crossing.  Leave George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.  Boundary is blazed red.  Turn left, then turn left again.  This is private property.  Please respect it.
 5.2   Descend and travel parallel to Hawk Run.
 5.7   Cross Hawk Run.
 5.8   Second crossing of Hawk Run.
 6.0   Third crossing of Hawk Run near small waterfall and small pool at its base.  Ascend ridge on switchbacks.
 6.2   Top of ridge.
 6.4   Leave woods road on path to left.
 6.5   Turn right onto woods road, which joins another woods road.
 7.1   Trail forks.  Continue downhill to right.
 7.4   Chain crosses road.  Reach Capon Springs Road and end of Section 2c.  Trail continues across road.


Trail Condition Report

GET Contents page

Guide to Section 2b

Guide to Section 3a


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