Craig County High Point Trip Report

White Rocks on Potts Mtn (3,940+ ft)

Date: July 24, 2001
Author: Fred Lobdell

General: White Rocks lies in Jefferson National Forest. It is accessible via the Potts Mountain Trail, which runs between the Appalachian Trail at Wind Rock and county route 636 to the east. This would be an excellent county high point to do the same day as the Giles County HP (Bald Knob on Salt Pond Mountain), the trailhead for which is only a few miles south.

Access: See Ron Tagliapietra's trip report for Giles County to get to that trailhead. From that point, continue north on county 613 past Mountain Lake. Here the pavement ends and the road becomes a good- quality gravel road. There is a fork 1.3 miles north of the end of the pavement. Route 613 goes left, and you should, too. Continue generally north on 613 for about another 4 miles past the fork until a height of land is reached with a large parking area on the left (west) side. The Appalachian Trail crosses 613 here. Park.

Directions to Summit: Hike east on the northbound AT for 0.3 miles to Wind Rock, a rocky promontory with fine views to the north. Just below Wind Rock the trail forks. The right fork is the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. The left fork, marked with a red surveyor's ribbon at this point in time but otherwise unblazed, is the Potts Mountain Trail, which starts here.

I hiked east on the AT for about another 1.6 miles until it turned sharply southward and started descending steeply, then bushwhacked uphill to try to find the Potts Mountain Trail. I spent an unnecessary 15 or 20 minutes bushwhacking through woods because I didn't recognize an old woods road as the Potts Mt. Trail. I returned via the Potts Mt. Trail to Wind Rock, then took the AT back to the trailhead. My recommendation is to hike the Potts Mountain Trail from Wind Rock in both directions. It is not always easy to follow, but if you lose the trail just continue on in the correct direction and you'll pick it up again shortly. For most of the distance it follows old woods roads.

Follow the Potts Mt. Trail as it gently descends for what seems like an interminable distance, more than 2 miles, before it finally starts ascending. The ascent to the summit from the low point on the trail is less than a half mile. The trail stays on the north side of the ridge, and from time to time there are rocky outcrops to the right (south) with good views in that direction. At the height of land on the trail you will need to bushwhack a couple of hundred feet to the right (south) to where several large rocks are perched at the edge of a steep slope to the south. The rock in the middle, about 8 feet high, appears to be the highest, and you need to scramble up onto it. On top of this rock a cairn, consisting of about two dozen flat rocks and about a foot and a half high, has been built. Return the same way.

This is a round trip hike of about 6 miles with a total elevation gain (both ways added together) of less than 500 feet. Grades are quite gentle and the average hiker can maintain a good pace. My time of 3 hours included some time floundering in the woods looking for the Potts Mt. Trail.