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Pinnacle Pass Trail #20

Extremely Difficult

Trail

10.2 mile 16.4 kilometer point to point
75% Runnable
Extremely Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,588' 789 m
Descent: -3,643' -1,110 m
High: 2,745' 837 m
Low: 1,338' 408 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 56% (29°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by Mark P...

Many parts of the trail are for the more experienced runners, sections can be done by the less with using other trails.

Mark P...

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Need to Know

Trails close an hour before dark.
Check in/drop box for runner information at Jones Gap Trail for safety.
Trail is rated "Very Strenuous" by the park guides with an estimated 8 hrs hike time.
Would recommend to check weather with rangers, as trail may be limited use or not recommended for safety during times of rain/ice that may cause additional slippery challenges with a long way.

Description

Starting from Naturaland Trust Trail #14, the trail is not used as frequently as others. The first 0.5 mile or so is pretty easy, winding down hill toward Geer Highway. The highway crossing is not directly across from where you exit the trail so it could be easy to overlook. But there is a marker and white blaze. Once out on the highway, go left maybe a 100 feet and cross right into the next section.

This part starts off with a single path that is lightly used before joining/using old Oil Creek Road which is rather overgrown. The trail switchbacks down to Oil Camp Creek for the next three miles. Part of road may have trees to climb over and a few wash out sections, but otherwise pretty easy, passing wildflowers growing along the road. As you descend, you'll hear Oil Camp Creek below. When you cross an old bridge over Oil Camp Creek this is might be a nice spot to rest/snack by the water.

From here continue up Pinnacle Pass Trail #20 back towards Jones Gap Trail. This next half of trail will be a lot more difficult in sections, but also there are fewer sections of old road to run along. Starting from the bridge at Old Camp Creek, within a couple hundred feet on the left, the trail will start to climb pretty steeply up the next mountain side for about 2.5 miles. This is a singletrack trail and, despite the switchbacks, at times follows an incredibly steep grade. As you climb you'll pass the top of a waterfall which spills in Oil Camp Creek.

The trail is not well-maintained in places and despite the white blazes, it is possible to get turned around in sections. The trail can be overgrown and narrow, so watch your footing and stay alert as you push through the brush. However, near the top there is a short side trail out to an cleared rocky slab with a great view. Head back and cross a small cascading creek which runs off the slab. Crossing the creek you'll ascend an old overgrown road which is much easier to make headway on then the earlier track. The last 3.25 miles, is really steep in sections, in places follows steep edges, goes over large rocks and has some slippery areas before joining Rim of The Gap Trail #6 for 0.5 mile.

Flora & Fauna

Oak, hickory, flowering dogwood, rhododendron, ferns, flowers, and mosses all grow in this area.

Animals in the area include black bears, white-tailed deer, reptiles, amphibians, wild turkey, wood peckers, warblers, eastern blue birds, and spring migratory songbirds to name a few. Brook, rainbow, and brown trout can be found in the rivers.

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Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#20327

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#157

in South Carolina

#20,327

Overall
13 Views Last Month
277 Since Nov 3, 2018
Extremely Difficult

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Photos

Pinnacle Pass Trail starting off Naturaland Trust Trail has a less hiked feeling compared to some others in the area as a lot of the trail is narrower in sections as you descend down toward the road crossing.
Dec 2, 2018 near Slater-…, SC
Pinnacle PT crosses slab areas, some wet. Currently, unlike another area with cables, this one has none. With walking sticks and multi-day pack, I slipped here (like many I've been told) onto my back and arm, luckily not bad, almost. Slides down 200 feet.
Dec 2, 2018 near Slater-…, SC
Pinnacle Pass Trail's road crossing. You come out on the left where the White Blaze, you continue trail on the right side with the thickest tree, brown grass area. Not highly noticeable first coming out of woods or direction until other markings found.
Dec 2, 2018 near Slater-…, SC
More technical slab crossings as you work your way back down Pinnacle towards Jones Gap, requires little climbing of boulders with some steep angles to avoid a long slide down. Areas like this with rain or ice can be a lot more hazardous trying to cross.
Dec 2, 2018 near Slater-…, SC
After Connector Trails, Pinnacle Pass has a section of switchbacks which goes right down by an edge with a great view but some big rocks to climb down—not easy for everyone or the heights.
Dec 2, 2018 near Slater-…, SC
Part of Pinnacle Pass Trail will turn back into an old road it looks like where it is easier walking again. This shows trail connecting with John Sloan Trail which may be 1 of 2 easier ways to use getting back to Jones Gap then rest of Pinnacle Pass.
Dec 2, 2018 near Slater-…, SC

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