Rhododendron Trail #185
ElevationAscent: 648' 198 m
Descent: -2' -1 m
High: 1,713' 522 m
Low: 1,065' 325 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 37% (20°)
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“This trail features streams, a waterfall, and a tough climb to the top.”— Keith Owen
At about 0.9 miles into the trail, you'll take an abrupt left off the old roadbed and will cross the creek where you'll find some steps to negotiate on the other side of the creek. You'll then climb steeply for less than 100 yards, then follow the contour until you cross another creek. Another 0.1 of a mile or so, and you'll intersect with the Rhododendron Campground/Lake Connector Trail on your left.
The trail now climbs steeply, then takes a steep climbing turn to the right and continues to climb. After a turn to the left it gets even steeper for a hundred yards or so as it climbs through rhododendron and mountain laurel– I’d estimate 20%+ grade.
Finally, the trail curls right again as the grade mellows and continues through lush foliage to the trail terminus at the top. You'll emerge to a paved road with large granite markers denoting the beginning of the trail. Climb the paved road to your left, and you'll encircle the top of Chenocetah Mountain.
You'll be rewarded with a great view of Lake Russell and there is a historic fire tower at the very top of the mountain accessible by steps. The return trip down will be steep in some sections with limited sight lines in the mountain laurel.
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