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Jacobs Ladder Trail



1.3 mile 2.1 kilometer point to point
79% Runnable


Ascent: 27' 8 m
Descent: -653' -199 m
High: 2,758' 841 m
Low: 2,106' 642 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 29% (16°)


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Trail shared by Steve Creech

A smooth, winding downhill trail leads to the Poverty Creek Trail through dense hardwood forest.

Steve Creech

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Wildlife

Runner Notes

The yellow-blazed Jacobs Ladder Trail can be run in its entirety.


The trail connects the Brush Mountain Ridge Road and Horse Nettle Trail with the Poverty Creek Trail 650 feet below and can be accessed from a variety of locations: the bottom of the trail is accessed from the Lower Pandapas Pond Day Use Area via the Poverty Creek Trail, the Upper Parking Lot at Pandapas via the Horse Nettle Trail, driving to the top via the gravel Brush Mountain FS Road off 460 (if driving here, park at the "roundabout" on the right shortly after the radio tower and follow the blue-blazed Horse Nettle Trail to the left of the info board, or for a longer run, it could be connected from Heritage Park via the yellow-blazed Gateway Trail.

The top (eastern trailhead) of the trail begins at its junction with the terminus of the Horse Nettle Trail and Gateway Trail. The trail starts off with some switchbacks and then bombs down the side of the ridge in a steep descent. The grade mellows out two-thirds of the way down the trail, though the trail tends to become more technical and weave a bit more with more rocks and roots in the last third.

Just before its terminus with the orange-blazed Poverty Creek Trail is a creek crossing on well-spaced rocks. To return to either the upper/lower parking lots or to the May Apple Trail, Snake Root Trail, Royale Trail, and Joe Pye Trail, take a right on the Poverty Creek Trail. Taking a left takes you toward Queen Anne Trail, Skullcap Trail, Trillium Trail, and Indian Pipe Trail.

This is a shared trail with mountain bikers and horses. Keep a heads up and the earbuds out to listen for mountain bikers speeding down the hills. When encountering a horse, it is proper etiquette to step off the trail to the downhill side and stop until the horse has passed. Also, be sure to wear bright colors during hunting season (October 1st through the first week of January). And be friendly; say "hi" to other folks out enjoying the forest! And check out the Poverty Creek Trail Coalition on Facebook to see about opportunities to give back and do some trail service!

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