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Potts Mountain-Salt Pond Mountain Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.5 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Loop run through higher elevations of Potts and Salt Pond Mountain.


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Map Key

7.2

Miles

11.6

KM

90%

Runnable

4,112' 1,253 m

High

3,479' 1,060 m

Low

1,101' 336 m

Up

1,095' 334 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Historical Significance · Views

Overview

This a loop run making use of an unimproved gravel road, the Appalachian Trail and the War Spur Branch Connector over some of the higher elevations of Potts and Salt Pond Mountains.

Description

Park at the War Spur Trail trailhead along Mountain Lake Road. Conducting loop run clockwise, begin by following Mountain Lake Road to the north for approximately two miles to the crest of Potts Mountain, where you'll pick up the Appalachian Trail.

The run along the road is mostly uphill, becoming notably steeper in the last third mile as you ascend Minie Ball Hill. At the crest there will be a clearing/parking area on the left which represents the trailhead for the Appalachian Trail (AT) which crosses there. Follow the AT to the right (East).

After approximately one quarter mile come to Wind Rock on your left, with an expansive view from Potts Mountain looking to the North. This is the highest point along the loop. Continue along the AT for another 3.7 miles until reaching Lone Pine Peak, the second highest point of the loop run. There are no views from the summit of Lone Pine Peak.

Continue along the AT for another 0.6 mile, descending steeply until reaching the War Branch Trail #69. Make a right on this trail and ascend up to the relatively broad ridge of Salt Pond Mountain and then continue along this ridge until it connects with the War Spur Trail after approximately 1.4 miles. Make a right on the War Spur Trail and follow West for approximately one quarter mile back to the War Spur Trail trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Wind Rock is a great place to observe hawk migrations during the Fall. There is a small scattering of Red Spruce (Picea rubra) at the summit of Lone Pine Peak. Red Spruce is a northern tree making its way down the Appalachians in the higher elevations. It might be missed among the pines and hemlocks to the casual observer.

History & Background

Minie Ball Hill (on the left as you ascend the steepest part of Mountain Lake Road) gets its name from the minie balls (Civil War era bullets) and other supplies that were abandoned there due to the strenuous haul as Union General George Crook marched his troops over Salt Pond Mountain in 1864, after the battle of Dublin during the American Civil War, headed to Union, West Virginia.

Contacts

Shared By:

Garrie Rouse

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#4480

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#142

in Virginia

#4,480

Overall
23 Views Last Month
157 Since Jan 9, 2021
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

View from Wind Rock looking north.
Jan 9, 2021 near Pembroke, VA
Trailhead sign.
Sep 4, 2021 near Pembroke, VA

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