Lamoka Mountain Vistas and Waterfalls-SGL 36

This is an excellent hike that should be high on your list.  It involves very little off trail hiking, mostly following old grades, blazed trails, or gated game commission gravel roads.  The scenic highlights are many: waterfalls, vistas, old mines, gorge, and beautiful forests.  Hikers can also access isolated Cash Pond.  This hike is located in SGL 36 on a prong of the plateau known as Lamoka Mountain.

I feel the best access is from Bull Run Road since it is easier to reach.  The road is open and there are parking areas along it.  I parked at the lowest parking area, but it is possible to drive to the gate further up the mountain and park there.  The road is in good shape, but steep and narrow in places.  Do not attempt if there is snow, ice, or muddy conditions.

Simply hike up the road to the top of the plateau.  Turn left at an intersection and notice a red blazed trail from the left, this will be your return route.  Continue on the road, passing a beaver pond that flooded the forest.  After about .3 mile from the intersection, the road bends right at a small meadow located at 41.676176, -76.560805 .  An obvious ATV trail is to the left, take it.  This ATV trail is not blazed, but it is obvious as it explores laurel woodlands and old mining areas that have grown over.  There is one small mine opening.  After .4 mile on this ATV trail, reach an intersection, turn left.

This old grade/ATV trail is fairly easy to follow, but is not blazed.  Enjoy hemlock and laurel forests with small streams and springs.  As you hike, it may be a little grown over, but the route can be followed.  Near the edge of the plateau and drop down to an obvious red blazed trail.  If you want to see the waterfalls on Cash Pond outlet, turn right on the red trail.
The red trail explores scenic forests of pine, hemlock and laurel as it wraps around the top of the gorge.  If there is good flow, you can hear the water cascading far below.  Cross Cash Pond outlet, there is a glen and cascades just downstream.  Continue on the red trail.  Here is the off trail section, to see the falls, leave the red trail and drop down to the left towards the outlet.  Pick up an obvious grade and follow it down the gorge with its boulders and many cascades.  You will see the top of two falls from the grade, you will have to scramble down to see them.  One falls has three drops and is about 15 feet tall, the other is 30-40 feet tall.  Below here, the gorge and grade has a lot of fallen trees from what looks like a windstorm.  It is best to retrace your steps back to the red trail.

Now follow the red trail the opposite way you came, enjoying the scenic forests.  The trail meanders, but makes its way to the edge of the plateau.  Hike off trail a short distance to the ledges to enjoy the superb views.  The valley is broad and untouched as Schrader Creek’s rapids can be heard from a thousand feet below.  You will want to spend some time here.  The views are located at about 41.668260, -76.552391.

Continue on the red trail as it meanders along the perimeter of the plateau through thick laurel.  With so much laurel, this is one hike you’ll want to do when it blooms in June.  The woodland hike is very scenic, with some nice off-leaves views in winter.  The red trail makes its way back to the gated game commission road.  Turn right and retrace your steps back to the car.  Another beautiful place to explore in the Endless Mountains.    

I parked at 41.678632, -76.542308.  While here, you might as well check out Bull Run Falls, which is very close by.

For the map above: black is game commission gravel roads; yellow are unblazed ATV trails or old grades; purple is off trail; red is a red blazed trail.

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Beaver pond reflections, SGL 36.

A post shared by Jeff Mitchell-Outdoors Author (@hiking_mitch) on

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