Wild Oak Trail
|Wild Oak Trail|
View from Little Bald Knob on the Wild Oak Trail
|Length||25.6 mi (41.2 km)|
|Location||George Washington National Forest, Virginia, United States|
|Use||Hiking, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding|
|Highest point||Little Bald Knob, 4,351 ft (1,326 m)|
|Lowest point||North River Gap, 1,600 ft (490 m)|
The Wild Oak Trail is a 27.0-mile (43.5 km) National Recreation Trail located in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians in Central Virginia. It is part of George Washington National Forest. The trail is a loop, and begins at the headwaters of the North River, and traverses up to several ridge tops. Due to the trail's difficulty (circumnavigating the trail requires 7,850 feet of total ascent) and length, it sees little traffic.
The Wild Oak Trail was designated a National Recreation Trail by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1979. Much of the land surrounding the trail and the North River was cleared for farming, which continued through the 1930s. It was during this time that portions of the trail was cleared by the Civilian Conservation Corps to help in providing access for fighting Forest Fires.
Camp Todd, which the trail passes by after a crossing of the North River, was used as a herdsman's cabin and a Fire Guard station.
Animals and Plants
There have been more than forty species of trees and thirty wildflowers identified along the Wild Oak Trail.
The trail is well marked and easy to follow. Challenges for the hiker include steep ascents and descents, and few water supply points. There are backcountry camp spots along the trail.
Hikers should be aware that the area is popular with hunters in the fall and should exercise necessary caution.
Also, the trail and overlooks tend to be overgrown with vegetation late in summer, so an early Spring or early Fall hike is recommended.
The Virginia Happy Trails Running Club hold a couple "unofficial" trail running events a year on the Wild Oak. Participants may run the loop multiple times.
Horseback Riders also utilize the trail, while using Camp Todd to stay overnight.
In addition, the primitive North River Campground is located two miles (3 km) from the trail.
- Burnham, Bill; Mary Burnham (May 1998). "Wild Oak Trail". Backpacker Magazine. Archived from the original on 2004-02-16. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "Dry River Ranger District - Wild Oak Trail". United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "George Washington National Forest Hiking - Wild Oak Trail". GORP. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- "The Wild Oak Trail 100". Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- " North River Campground (accessed May 11, 2007)