Geological Significance · Views
Need to Know
There is a sharp right off of a gravel road that takes you to Olinger Gap around mile 2.2. The parking area at the end of the trail along US 23 is small and will only accommodate two vehicles at most.
The trail consists of stretches of dirt trail, gravel road and bedrock.
The trail begins at the Lake Keokee parking area which is no fee and has restrooms. There is a trail close to the lake as well as the Lake Keokee Loop Trail, but both lead to the earthen dam on the southwestern end of Lake Keokee. Once the trail crosses the dam, the route will take a right onto the Olinger Gap Trail and begin to climb.
Around mile 2, the trail joins a gravel road for a short time. At 2.2 miles the trail takes a sharp right into the woods to go toward Olinger Gap. It is easy to miss this turn so keep a sharp eye out. At 2.3 miles the trail reaches Olinger Gap and intersects the Stone Mountain Trail. The trail turns left and will then run the ridge to the northeast.
At mile 4.2 the trail comes to High Butte, the apex of the trail. Beautiful views of the Powell Valley to the south and east as well as Black Mountain to the northwest. The trail stays along the ridge until mile 5.1 and then begins to descend into Roaring Branch, a tributary of the Powell River. The trail follows Roaring Branch crossing it many times.
There are large stands of hemlock on the way. Roaring Branch picks up volume and gets steeper near the end allowing for some picturesque small waterfalls. The trail ends at US 23 between Big Stone Gap and Appalachia.
Flora & Fauna
There are large hemlock trees on the tail end as you descend Roaring Branch.
Shared By: Daniel Dotten