Mineral County Highpoint Trip Report

Black Rock on Allegheny Front (3,160+ ft)

Date: August 20, 2006
Author: Don Desrosiers

The first thing I noticed when approaching this one on U.S. 50 was that 50 has been seriously tamed since the last time I was out here. This used to be a killer climb up the face of the hill with coal trucks tooling along blithely up the hill at speeds approaching 2 MPH and downhill at Warp 5. Now, it is quite pleasant.

I had originally thought to come at this one from the north and turned north on WV 42 for 2.1 miles, right onto Pinnacle Road/CR 4 for 1.9 miles and parked under the power lines shown on the topo (4.0 miles total). There I found a nice place to park and a lovely sign that merely precluded ATVs. The 1/2 mile climb up the power line was trivial, then a right turn into the woods and along the ridge line. From here things began to, metaphorically speaking, go downhill. The woods are very thick after about the 2820 contour and I felt I was not having quite as much of the fun to which I might be entitled, although I was less than a linear mile from the peak. Eventually I turned around and went back to the car. This may be a viable route in the winter (I'd like to try it then), but the latter portions of August are not optimal.

Thus, I went back to the scenic overlook at the US 50/WV 42 intersection where there was a great deal more parking lot than I would have expected. My GPS indicated I was about 1.6 linear miles from the HP. I began from the farthest back (i.e. highest) point in the parking lot. No trails, so I bushwhacked parallel to and southeast of a rocky (and overgrown) ridge until about the 2800 foot contour, picked up a series of overgrown woods roads until the small saddle at 2800+ feet southwest of the peak. From there it was a bushwhack on the southeast side roughly parallel to the ridge, until I was just about due east of the peak, at which point I turned left and went up.

I never saw any of the fences Mike Schwartz referred to but I may have been slightly higher on the ridge than was he. Found several property corners, a large hunting blind painted black with pink polka dots (39° 19' 49" N, 79° 7' 20" W) about 8 feet up in a tree, and an ATV that had apparently been abandoned a few days prior (no more than 4 or 5). I could see the potential route Mike mentioned from the east and concur that it would be steep. Due west might be easier if you could get into one of those fingers of open field shown on the topo. Either way, this county probably won't be on anybody's itinerary for a sprint.

About 1-1/2 hours each way.

If you have the time, continue west on U.S. 50 to Moount Storm. On the right side of the road, someone with an excellent sense of humor has given a new meaning to the phrase "flower bed".