Huckleberry Ridge Loop

9.0 miles, challenging terrain, Vertical rise: 2,280 feet
65 miles from Orange Market, $7 carpool fee

Huckleberry Ridge

This is a good hike for dry fall weather as there are more than a dozen stream crossings. It would also be good to clip as you go as this trail gets little to no maintenance. Clipping may be easier than climbing through or under.

Driving: take 1-81 Exit 118, US 460 west for 28.0 miles through Pembroke. Turn right onto VA 635/Big Stony Creek Rd, the last right before the New River, for 13.5 miles (signs include White Rpcks and Riverview Baptist Church. Turn left onto FDR 772/Glen Alton Ln. (VA-635 & 772/Glen Alton Ln, Ripplemead, VA 24150.) Cross the bridge, keep to the left on the road signed as leading to Kelly Flats, then take the right fork and immedi­ately park in the small space on the left.

Walk back the few feet to the intersec­tion, turn right, pass through the gate, and begin to follow the route of Kelly Flats Rd through wildlife clearings and pine plantations. At 1.9 miles, the wildlife clearings come to an end, we con­tinue straight into the woods, not on the grassy road to the right. At 2.1 miles turn right onto a grassy route that may be marked only by fading yellow blazes. Cross Dismal Creek at 2.9 miles, 3.0 miles, and again 200 feet later and again at 3.6 miles. Just when it looks like the trail comes to a dead end in a mass of gnarled rhododendron bushes, cross the creek and find the faint pathway continuing upstream. Cross Dismal Branch again at 3.9, 4.0, and 4.3 miles. Swing right past a campsite. Crest Huckleberry Ridge at 4.7 miles, and cross Dixon Branch at 5.0 miles and again 150 feet later and at 5.2 miles. Cross a creek at 5.4 miles and another with a campsite beneath the shade of hemlocks just 200 feet later. (Some of the hemlocks here are more than 250 years old.) Cross the creek seven more times within the next three-quarters mile. 7.0 miles, do not ford North Branch. Turn left, cross a small­er stream, and turn right at a campsite to a footbridge. Ford the stream for the last time at 7.8 miles. Then ascend to the right and drop back to the stream. At 8.0 miles, turn right from path for a steep, switchbacked ascent. Cross the ridgeline at 8.2 miles and turn left onto Forest Service road at 8.6 miles, ending at the cars at 9.0 miles.