Amherst County Highpoint Trip Report

Dates: April 25 and October 21, 2006
Author: Michael Schwartz

Rocky Mtn (4,072 ft)

I got my sedan less than 1/4 mile up the rough road above Salt Log Gap, and walked the rest of the way. Did this one in April, and Bald and Pleasant in October.

Bald Knob (4,040+ ft)

For you fellow adherents to the "No gain, no pain" philosophy, I've got a route for you. From the turn onto Wiggins Spring Road, go 1.6 miles and turn right onto FR 520 (at spot elevation 2392 feet). Go southwest for 0.4 mile to the first trail junction shown on the topo (37.7566° N; 79.2162° W), NAD27 datum. See a bermed woods road angling left, almost due south, with a parking pullout at the junction.

Hike the wide woods road all the way to Cowcamp Gap, gaining 440 feet in 0.51 mile. The trail junctions shown on the topo are nowhere to be seen; just stay on the superhighway through the woods. From the gap, follow the AT for 0.93 mile to the summit. It took 20 minutes to hike to Cowcamp Gap, 32 more to the summit, and 43 minutes for the entire descent. This route saves over three miles of distance and about 750 feet of gain. FR 520 is gated. If the gate is locked, it's an easy walk to the start of the woods road, with little elevation change.

Mt Pleasant (4,040+ ft)

I took the Henry Lanum trail counterclockwise and returned the same way, avoiding the climb over Pompey Peak. The blue-blazed trail seems to take a slightly different route after spot elevation 3245 than that shown on the topo. I had set a waypoint at the trail junction shown about 1/4 mile south-southeast of spot elevation 3245 but my GPS never showed me as being nearer than 1/4 mile to that junction. Just follow the blazes and all will be well. There is one tricky turn along the way. At the bottom of the long descent at the start of the hike, see a sign indicating the trail stays left. Shortly thereafter, as the old logging railroad grade begins to ascend, the trail veers right and crosses a stream, and narrows. For some reason, this turn is easy to miss. I did and, as I returned, I watched a couple miss it as well. The continuation of the logging grade is obviously not as well-traveled and the blazes disappear. When you reach the small saddle atop the mountain, the trail to the summit goes right. The two outcrops on either side of the trail mentioned by Fred Lobdell seem highest. On the north side, look for a drill hole atop the highest boulder and, on the south side, find an imbedded nail atop the boulder. Continue a few more feet to the overlook, which I thought offered one of the finest views I'd seen in years. On the return, take a stroll over to the eastern overlook (spot elevation 4,021 feet), which offers a great view east over the Piedmont.

Time up 1:40; down 1:15.