GET Guidebook 5b

Edition 1/25/2013

Section 5b
Briery Branch Gap to North River Road
9.8 miles (5.7 miles road walk, 2.0 miles paved)

View south from Reddish Knob along Shenandoah Mountain


 1.  North end of section: along side of intersection of VA 924, CR 25, and FDR 85 (no signs identify these roads here).  Follow VA 257 west from I-81 Exit 240, after 24 miles, it becomes VA 924, follow 7 more miles to state line, where intersection is. 
 2.  Summit of Reddish Knob, 2.4 mile south of Briery Branch Gap on FDR 85, 0.35 mile off GET route. 
 3.  Heiliger Kanzel Overlook, 2.3 miles south of Briery Branch Gap on FDR 85 on right. 
 4.  Upper trailhead of North River Trail on FDR 85, 4.7 miles south of Briery Branch Gap. 
 5.  Trailhead of North River Trail on FDR 95.   From I-81 Exit 225 take VA 262 south to US 250 west 17 miles, right on VA 715 (Braley Pond Road) at 3.5 mile becomes FDR 96 (no signs) and continues 2.9 mile more to FDR 95 (no signs), left go 5.9 mile, trail is on right just before a bridge, look for yellow blazes. 
 6.  South end of section: along FDR 95 at Trailhead of Shenandoah Mountain Trail, 1.8 miles after North River Trailhead on left – look for orange blaze on tree. 
 There are also some other parking places along FDR 85 and FDR 95. 


 North to south: Take FDR 85 south (paved road going uphill) keeping right where road to Reddish Knob forks left (2.1 miles), continue 7.2 more miles to FDR 95, turn right and go 0.2 mile. 
 South to north: Take FDR 95 east (downhill) 0.2 mile, turn left on FDR 85 and go 9.3 miles. 


 USGS 7.5 minute Quadrangles: Reddish Knob, VA/WV; Palo Alto, WV/WV
 National Geographic Map 791 - Staunton Shenandoah Mtn

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

Multi-use - Horses and mountain bikes are allowed.  There is room for horse trailer turnaround at the intersection of VA 924 and FDR 85, at the summit of Reddish Knob, at Heiliger Kanzel Overlook, and at the intersection of FDR 95 and FDR 85. 

Note - in case of high water, do not use the North River Trail portion, unless you are willing to wade.  Even in dry times, the crossing stones are only inches out of the water, although the crossings are not wide.  In high water (if Little River was hard to cross, if you are coming from the south end, follow FDR 85 from FDR 95 though the length of this section, for a total of 9.5 miles.) 

Trail Description, North to South

Miles   Data
 0.0 VA 924 at Briery Branch Gap; north end of section.  Great Eastern Trail goes west a short distance, and follows one-lane paved road (FDR 85) uphill to left. 
 1.5 Overlook on right before hairpin curve.  Topographic map calls it "Stony Run Overlook". 
 2.0 Paved road forks left 0.35 mile to go to summit of Reddish Knob (elev. 4398') with 360° views and site of removed fire tower.  To continue on GET take right fork- gravel road (FDR 85). 
 2.2 Parking area on right.  Topographic maps call it "Heiliger Kanzel Overlook". 
 2.5 Blocked side road on left. 
 3.5 Gated Bald Knob Road to left.  GET follows this road to left. 
 4.0 Take yellow-blazed trail to right. 
 4.2 Trail intersection.  GET goes on North River Trail, to left.  Ahead, trail leads 0.3 mile to spring on right and 0.5 mile to FDR 85 at a point 0.9 mile from Bald Knob Road. 
 4.2 - 8.1 Trail descends headwaters of North River, the major fork of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.  There are 7 crossings. 
 4.8 Arrive at an old road intersection.  Keep left, and pass gate. 
 5.6 First crossing of North River.
 5.7 Second crossing.
 5.8 Third crossing.
 6.5 Fourth crossing.
 6.8 Fifth crossing. 
 7.4 Sixth crossing. 
 7.7 Seventh crossing. 
 8.1 Arrive at FDR 95, North River Road.  GET goes right, crossing bridge over North River. 
 9.7 Intersection with FDR 85, Shenandoah Mountain Road, to right.  Continue ahead. 
 9.8 End of section at trailhead of Shenandoah Mountain Trail, to left. 


Trail Description, South to North

Miles   Data
 0.0 Trailhead for Shenandoah Mountain Trail on FDR 95 (North River Road).  Great Eastern Trail follows FDR 95 east (downhill). 
 0.1 Road intersection: FDR 85 (Shenandoah Mountain Road) goes left.  In case of high water, take this road and meet up at mile 6.5. 
 1.7 Trailhead of yellow-blazed North River Trail to left.  Follow North River Trail. 
 1.8-5.6 Trail goes up hollow of the headwaters of North River, the main fork of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.  There are 7 crossings of the main stream, plus at least 6 tributary streams. 
 2.1 First crossing. 
 2.4 Second crossing. 
 3.0 Third crossing. 
 3.3 Fourth crossing.
 4.0 Fifth crossing. 
 4.1 Sixth crossing.
 4.2 Seventh crossing.
 5.0 Arrive at a gate, then an old road intersection.  Keep to right. 
 5.6 Trail comes to a "T" intersection.  To left is spring at 0.3 mile and FDR 85 at 0.5 mile.  GET goes right. 
 5.8 Trail ends on Bald Knob Road; turn left and follow road. 
 6.3 Bald Knob Road ends on FDR 85 (Shenandoah Mountain Road).  Follow FDR 85 to right. 
 7.3 Side road to right that is blocked. 
 7.6 Parking area on left (Topo map calls it "Heiliger Kanzel Overlook").   (Just before this point there is some stonework on the other side of the road.  To the right of the stonework is an abandoned path up to the summit of Reddish Knob.)
 7.8 Reach paved road.  To right is 0.35 mile to summit of Reddish Knob with 360° views and site of removed firetower.  Continue ahead on one-lane road. 
 8.3 Overlook on left at hairpin curve (Topo map calls it "Stony Run Overlook"). 
 9.8 Road comes to a "T" intersection at Briery Branch Gap on CR 25 (WV to left) and VA 924 to right.  GET continues right then left onto dirt road (FDR 85). 

Trail Condition Report

GET Guidebook Contents

Guide to Section 5a (north)

Guide to Section 5c (south)

©2006 - 2011 Brown Mountain Photography