Hike to Chimney Rock in the Monongahela National Forest

Landis Trail

This hidden gem in the Monongahela National Forest provides one of the best views in the state of West Virginia. Avoid the crowds at nearby Seneca Rocks and Dolly Sods with a hike in the woods along the North Fork Mountain Trail.

Chimney Rock (also referred to as Chimney Top) is a hidden gem in the Monongahela National Forest that offers some of the best views in the state of West Virginia.  There are several trail options that pass this overlook, including a 24 mile point-to-point backpack of the North Fork Mountain Trail, but this adventure details the hike via the Landis Trail off of Smoke Hole Road.  This is the shortest route, but also the steepest.

There is a small parking area at the trailhead where you will find a trail post with a map and information about the area.  From here the trail begins to gradually make its way up the mountainside.  The path is well-worn and marked with blue-blazes throughout, making it easy to follow.  Nearly all of the 1500 feet of elevation gain takes place on this first 1.5 mile stretch.  Once you reach the intersection with the North Fork Mountain Trail, it will begin to level off.  From this junction, follow the sign and turn right.  The blue-blazes continue and will become more helpful as the trail thins out.  The first overlook is easy to spot, roughly 0.3 miles from the junction.  But the best views are further ahead at Chimney Rock.

Eventually, you will need to leave the main trail to get to Chimney Rock.  Your first option to do so is after another 0.5 miles.  Keep an eye out for a bend in the trail, where the blue blazes will point you to the right and downhill, but another path with continue straight ahead.  If you follow the path that lies straight ahead, you will eventually make your way to Chimney Rock.  It will require some maneuvering around bushes and trees, but the path is clear enough that you can find your way.  The second option is to continue on the blue blazes for another 0.2 miles and look for a side trail to the left.  This option is much steeper and easier to miss, but it will get you there nevertheless.

The overlook at Chimney Rock is very windy, so use extra caution if you make your way onto the outcrops. And be aware of your footing, as the dropoffs are steep in this area.  After taking time to enjoy the view, return the way you came by heading south on one of the unmarked trails until you rejoin the main North Fork Mountain Trail.  From there, retrace your steps back to the Landis Trail and down to the parking area.

Pack List

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Water
  • Snack
  • Camera
  • Layers for the windy overlooks
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RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1500 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic

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