Black Gap Trail is one of the "must do" trails in the area. It's broken roughly into thirds and is often referred to as West, Middle and East sections by locals. The Middle section is wet for much of the year and might be worth skipping, unless you really want a challenge. And by wet, I don't mean muddy. The entire trail follows a drainage for a couple of vernal pools in the middle section and if there has been any rain, the middle section is more of a creek than a trail. It's all stone though, so it's pretty much only yourself that you're hurting.
The preferred direction is from west to east. The trail starts off climbing up from Engle Road through a hemlock grove and is pretty open. Soon though the trail becomes a tunnel though rhododendron and mountain laurel, making for a very cool run. This continues for about a mile until it intersects with the Handicapped Access Trail (referred to by locals by its original name, Jamboree Trail.) If you want to skip the middle section, go right and take the doubletrack for over a mile.
The eastern third was re-routed in 2011 and has some rocky bits before dropping into the creek bed to finish out the trail. Be careful crossing the bridges as they can be slick.
Shared By: Frank Maguire