Canaan Mountain Backpack - 2

Description: This is a moderate 30 mile backpack trip using many of the primary Park and Forest trails on Canaan Mt. It’s beginning and end are the same as the Canaan Mt BP trip described elsewhere on this site. A trip along # 6 Fire Tr, Pointy Knob and Mountain Side trails are added to make it longer. The highlights of the trip are still the views at Table Rock and Lindy Point. Add to this the charm of the South Branch of Red Run (A miniature Otter Creek). I was quite surprised by its beauty. Despite its closeness to Blackwater Falls State Park and Canaan Valley the original BP trip gets very little foot traffic. These added trails get even less attention. You may have to share the trail with a few groups of transient mountain bikers but as far as backpackers are concerned, you’re probably it!

Notes: 1) The North section of Lindy Run Trail used in this hike has been officially abandoned by the USFS. As of this writing the trail is very open and no signs prohibiting access have been posted. 2) Portions of the Plantation Trail, Pointy Knob Trail, Mountain Side Trail and the north section of Lindy Run Trail can be very muddy at times.


Google Custom DirectionsF  


 Follow signs to the Lodge. Start there. The park requests that you leave the names of the participants, vehicle descriptions and tag numbers and emergency contact numbers with the receptionist before starting the hike.



Printable/Downloadable Map (Large)

View 3-D Map

Zipped National Geographic. TOPO! GPS and Universal GPX Files

GPS Text File for Non-TOPO! Users


Trail Notes: From the lodge parking lot walk out to the sign at its main entrance. Across the road find a sign for Yellow Birch Trail (yellow blazes). Follow it for 0.88 miles to its intersection with the stable drive. Cross the drive, remaining on Yellow Birch Trail (Now also the Allegheny Tr). Cross Engine Run on a wooden bridge and soon arrive at what appears to be an old but short railroad grade. Turn right here and merge onto a wide grassy woods road. There will be peat bogs to your left.

In 0.3 miles leave the park and enter MNF. Stay straight on the Allegheny Trail. This is also the official trailhead of the Davis. Both it and the Allegheny Trail share the same tread through the Canaan Mt area.

Soon cross Engine Run on a footbridge. The trail turns left and follows the drainage for a while. Over the last 0.3 miles or so the trail veers away to the right of the stream and ascends through a series of steep but quick climbs. At 1.37 miles from leaving the park boundary arrive at a wide, flat rocky area with a shelter on your right. In 70 yards reach the intersection with blue blazed Plantation Trail.

Turn right on the Plantation Trail and cross the west fork of Engine Run. In 1.2 miles arrive at the junction with # 6 Fire Trail on the left. There may not be a sign

but it is a pretty obvious intersection. Turn left here. Follow it through a rich Spruce forest for 1.33 miles to its terminus at CLR13.Turn left onto CLR13 and follow it to a gravel road on the right. Turn right and follow the road to a footpath and sign for Pointy Knob Trail. The eastern section is quite boggy. A narrow boardwalk will get you over some delicate peat bogs but your pretty much on your own until the trail gradually turns north on the western slope of the mountain. In 3.56 miles from leaving CLR13 reach a shelter and campsite large enough to hold about 6 tents near the headwaters of the South Fork of Red Run. This is a good spot to call it a day.

The next day continue north on Pointy Knob Tr. You will soon climb up onto an old RR grade surrounded by Rhododendron and Hemlock Trees. From this point to the trails end you stay in pretty close proximity to Red Run and all of its cascades and interesting rock features. You’ll ford the run several times. In about 1.57 miles arrive at a large campsite. It may be occupied by car campers. Ford Red Run for the last time and turn right onto a dirt road which will take you to CLR13.

Turn left onto CLR13. In 0.48 miles pass the south terminus of the Railroad Grade Tr on the right. In another 1.64 miles the road splits. Bear left and soon walk around a forest gate. Follow the road another 1.54 miles. Along the way you’ll cross a bridge over a stream which displays a small waterfall during periods of high water. After the 1.54 miles the road will split again. Bear right here. There are no signs or blazes. You’ll know your on the right trail because you will start a long, gradual climb around the mountain. This is probably the least used trail on the entire mountain so expect the trail to be in bad condition with wet areas, lots of blowdowns, rocks and possibly some Stinging Nettles at the peak of the season. Follow this railroad grade for 4.58 miles. Near the end it flattens out and becomes a pleasant hike through the headwaters of Laurel Run.

Reach the northern terminus of the Mountain Side Tr and turn right onto CLR13. In 0.95 miles pass the junction of the Plantation Tr on the left and soon arrive at the trailhead for Table Rock Tr on the right. Camp is at the end of this trail but it’s a dry site so stash your packs and take your water collecting gear another .2 miles down CLR13 to a stream with excellent water. Return to the trailhead after watering up and follow the trail for 1.04 miles to a campsite large enough to hold 10 tents. From here you can enjoy a nice sunset and sunrise out on the rocks with views of the Red Run and Dry Fork drainages as well as distant mountains.

Retrace your steps to CLR13.Turn left on CLR13 for less than 0.1 miles and turn right onto Plantation Trail. Climb for less than 0.5 miles and descend to the fringe of a peat bog. Climb again, reaching the 4X intersection with the Railroad Grade Trail at about 1.89 miles from CLR13 (No sign). Bear to the right here, staying on the Plantation Trail.

In 1.49 miles arrive at the intersection with Lindy Run Tr. The sign here states that CLR13-north is 1.5 miles away. Turn left here and quickly descend to CLR13, crossing Lindy Run near the halfway point.

Turn right onto CLR13 and cross Lindy Run again. Soon arrive at the parking area for Lindy Point Overlook. Turn left onto the trail. In about 0.34 miles, come to a fantastic view of the Blackwater River drainage.

Return to CLR13 (paved at this point) and turn left. In another 0.0.95 miles arrive at the Ski Warming Hut on the right. Begin to walk up the sledding slope. To your left there will be a trail with a green metal sign stating that it is a “fee trail” (for skiers) and a wood sign marking this as Shay Trace Trail. Turn left onto this trail. The blazes are blue.

Cross the intersection of Cherry Lane (yellow circles) and red blazed Red Spruce Horse Trail (They come together at Shay Trace Trail) and then the access road for the cabins (0.51 miles from the warming hut). You will pass cabins 6 and 5 on your right and 2 and 4 on your left as you cross the road.

Once again cross Red Spruce Trail and then orange blazed Balanced Rock Trail (shown red on the map). In 0.88 miles from the cabin road arrive at the west entrance to the Lodge and your vehicle.

Printable/Downloadable Directions and Trail Notes

Critique this outing! _______________________________________



Name: Christopher Robin                                                                                         Hike: Canaan Mountain Backpack-2

Date(s): 05/24-25/14                                                                                             Rating: 4


critique: Since it was Memorial Day weekend, I took MR Hyker's advice and did this trip. Also, I did a modified version of this hike, so I could do it in 2 days and not have to fight with Friday or Monday traffic. I did the hike as was spelled out, except skipped Mountainside trail and just stayed on the road to Table Rock trail. All the trails were well marked. On Pointy Knob trail, though it looked like someone was deliberately pulling down the blue diamond markers, but you could still follow the trail, trees were blazed the old-fashioned way! Saw 3 hikers on that trail, other than that the trails were all mine. Some traffic on the road, mostly groups of guys with little gear and lots of beer for the holiday! Table Rock was unbelievable! It is one of the best views I have seen. Got there about 4:30 or so. Shared the view with a group of 5 who were up for the day, a couple mountain bikers rolling through and 1 fat and happy rattlesnake sunning himself in a nice quiet spot. Later, a guy Joey showed up with a tent and a camera so it was just the 2 of us there for a beautiful sunset and sunrise. BTW, Joey is a big fan of midatlantichikes, so I pitched the books for you Mike! Everywhere I go anymore... So day 2, after lingering to watch the beautiful sunrise it was back to bog-beating. There was a lot of water on the trails. In fact it took spooking up a couple white-tails to remind me I was in WV, I was singing "Georgia on my mind" to myself when hopping from root to stone to bank! Oh, and in one sunny spot along Plantation Trail I heard the distinct rattle of another rattlesnake. Since it sounded like a "Move along, nothing to see here" rattle, that's just what I did. Lindy Run Trail was in great shape, someone is maintaining it. It did get crowded at Lindy Point. I guess I shouldn't complain since it was the only place I had to put the leash on my dog. Tourists, families and car campers must have all decided to go at the same time. And after seeing the sunrise at Table Rock, I was okay with not staying long there. A bit of a road walk, a nice walk through the woods on Shady Trace and I was back to the Lodge. Great trip! One thing-when looking out from Table Rock, it looked like a meadow at the top of Mozark Mountain. Am I wrong? Does the Mozark Mountain trail get you near there? The next adventure?  



Name: Moonshine                                                                                                      Hike: Canaan Mountain Backpack-2
Date: 07/22-24/2011                                                                                               Rating: 4

Critique: The trip was a pleasant getaway from the sweltering heat in DC. There were plenty of blueberries along Allegheny Tr, and no shortage of water everywhere. Mountainside Trail is in bad shape...almost a swamp. In summer it is just not interesting, unless you want to meet a bear. I had no such luck, but saw fresh scat in at least 5 spots. Table Rock is an amazing spot indeed. It is one of the best overlooks I've ever been to.


Name: Chris                                                                                                                Hike: Canaan Mountain Backpack - 2
Date: June 8-10 2007                                                                                                Rating: 5

Critique: This was a lot of fun, and the sunrise from Table Rock was amazing.

The first stream along the railroad grade trail had some pretty disgusting water (mmm tannins). Is this the suggested site or should we have gone further? Maybe it's better in other seasons.

Do yourself a favor and get water from Laurel Run when you cross it on the Mountainside Trail - You have to carry it further but it's worth it.

M.R.Hyker Note: This particular loop doesn't use the Railroad Grade Trail. The water source we describe is about 0.2 miles east of the Flat Rock Trailhead on CLR13. It flows under the road through a culvert. The upstream side is a small waterfall. It was crystal clear. (BTW, tannins serve to purify and soften water.)



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