GET Section 7a Trail Report

February 23, 2013

Green glo blazes were applied at the intersections of FDR 241 & McGuffin Road (VA 621) and McGuffin Road and US 220, mostly on the pavement (no convenient trees).  There are not yet any blazes between these intersection.  At the intersection of US 220 and VA 614, at the "north" end of this section, the intersection is well marked with green glo blazes. 

April 24, 2010

Bogan Run Trail -- Big Back Creek Road to Hidden Valley (7 miles)
     This is part of Section 7a of the Great Eastern Trail (western branch).  The Bogan Run Trail is about 5.5 miles over Back Creek Mountain running east and west (east is north on the GET), plus about 1.5 miles along FDR 241, which runs north and south (south is north on the GET).  It was a mostly cloudy, wet day, but it didn't rain on us.  The temperature was in the low 60s and it was breezy.  With me were my hiking partners David and Nancy, with my dog Sid and Nancy's dog Aslan. 
    Some observations:

  • VA 600 is signed as "Big Back Creek".  They leave off "Road" in those parts.  It is a high speed secondary road with wide shoulders.  
  • Hidden Valley is reached from VA 39 west of Warm Springs by VA 621 (McGuffin Road), then FDR 241 (Hidden Valley Road).  This road forks in many places, first with the campground to the left, then the large parking area (where we parked) to the right, just before the road crosses Jackson River followed by the Bed & Breakfast place to the left.  The low water bridge over Jackson River was well above the water level.  The parking area has pit toilets and some signs that explain the many local trails. 
  • Bogan Run Trail is signed and has small parking areas at both ends.  It is relatively well blazed (blue), and it has a wide grade.  Despite the name, it is a trail over a mountain.  It crosses three small streams on the west side as it trends to the north.  
  • While well blazed and graded, there are very many blowdowns over this trail, a few that cross the trail two places (near a switchback).  On the west side, it looks like it has been at least a year since blowdowns were removed.  Annual growth was just starting, but I can tell from what kinds are starting that they will completely grow up in the trail in the summer.  At the crest of the ridge, the trail crosses FDR 121, and although signed at this point, it is not easy to see where the trail starts down on the east side.  It becomes clearer as the grade becomes evident.  Further down, there was a fire that killed the mountain laurel trunks (new growth is coming up).  These dead mountain laurel trunks grew into the trail VERY BADLY.  I would guess it was 5-10 years since this part of the trail was cleared, considering how slow mountain laurel grows.  With all the blowdowns and such, our progress was slowed to little more than 1 mph.  
  • About halfway down, the trail joins an old road.  From here, the trail is clear.  The upper part has been clear cut and there are some views.  Also blueberry and huckleberry plants are heavily flowered, and we expect quite a crop this summer in this place.  A little further down, there is a four-way intersection and the trail turns, but the blazing is inadequate here.  It is hard to tell which way the trail goes, and the first blaze showing the way is out of sight from the intersection (it is a right turn as you go down hill).  
  • There were many wildflowers out, more flowers on the west side than the east, and I counted 44 kinds.  I saw no poison ivy on this section.  Gnats were terrible here, especially on the west side of the mountain.  
  • I came away from this hike with two ticks on my clothes.  
  • The north/east of this section is US 220 north of Warm Springs at the Muddy Run section.  The GET website map has the GET follow VA 621 to US 220, and there north to Muddy Run at VA 614.  The plan is to use the Hidden Valley Trail and Muddy Run Trail, and construct a trail on the north side of Muddy Run to come out on US 220.  At this point on US 220, there is a large gravel pullover place on the east side of US 220, and I found a few pink ribbons on some trees, but they are widely spaced, and continue on a steep bank, nothing constructed yet. 

Guide to this section

GET Guidebook page


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