Nicholas County High Point Trip Report

Date: June 1, 2001
Author: Michael Schwartz

on county line near Hanging Rock (3,840+ ft)

The Monongahela N.F. map and the 1995 Webster Springs SW quad, in the specially revised edition for the Forest Service, which shows more forest road detail and even gates, are a BIG help. We purchased the Webster Springs SW and the Lobelia quads at the nearby Forest Service office. The terrain around Hanging Rock is confusing, and careful attention to map and compass is crucial. From the Greenbrier/Nicholas county line on WV 39 & 55, go east two miles, then turn left onto summit Lake Road/CR 39-5. Go 2.1 miles to a right fork onto gravel FR 77 and continue to a dead end parking area at 3.1 miles. This area is at the 3655' spot elevation shown on the 1995 topo. The blue-blazed Pocahontas Trail (PT) also traverses this area, and Pocahontas Road heads off to the east. For the point near Hanging Rock, hike the gated FR 99/Hanging Rock Road (shown on topo as Pocahontas Road) NW until the blue-blazed PT crosses the road. Go left onto the trail, which is accurately shown on the topo in this area. Watch the terrain carefully as the trail ascends gradually onto the large 3800' contour, and then descends slightly as the ground begins to fall away sharply on the left. As the trail rises again to a low crest, the ground to the left rises and becomes significantly higher than the trail for the first time. This is the area of the 3800' contour shown as hooking south to the Nicholas/Greenbrier/Webster County tri-point. Bushwhack left until high ground is reached, with house-sized rocks just beyond and lower. The highpoint is not precisely on the tri-point, so wander a bit to ensure getting into Nicholas County. Next, bushwhack back to the trail and go left.

The topo shows the trail heading directly and quickly to Hanging Rock Road, but this is very inaccurate. The trail actually descends sharply, probably to the SW, then curves around to the north, passing house- sized Hanging Rock, with a huge overhang that has obviously sheltered many parties. It rejoins Hanging Rock Road at the gap where FRs 786 and 955 terminate. This is about 0.3 mile west of where the topo shows the trail rejoining Hanging Rock Road. This discrepancy cost us about 45 minutes of wandering and head scratching.

1 area 3/4 mile west of Hanging Rock (3,840+ ft)

For the second area, ascend steadily from the gap, staying on Hanging Rock Road until reaching an obvious crest. Various trails are shown running south along the ridge line toward the county line, but we only crossed a faint trail once on the ridge line. We also never spotted the track roads shown passing to the south of the high point. The bushwhack south along the ridge line is not too bad. Count knobs and keep checking the compass to stay on the ridge line. When the ridge finally starts to fall off significantly, you will have crossed into Nicholas County and passed over the liner high point. We resisted the urge to short cut bushwhack on return and retraced our steps.

Round trip took about four hours.