Hike to Chimney Rock in the Monongahela National Forest

5 miles 1500 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Sarah Giek

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.

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Tags

Hiking
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great one!

My family and I did this in March of this year in the before times. Moderately strenuous, but the views are really great. Take your time when you reach the chimney tops because it does tend to get windy. In March everything is washed out, but this hike in the fall must be stunning.

One of the best in WV

This is possibly my favorite hike in West Virginia. There are a couple different routes to take, but take the North Fork Mountain trail. It will pay off with the most views

Beautiful Views

This hike was absolutely stunning, I hiked it during the first week of June and for half of the hike the trail was surrounded by beautiful white flowering bushes! At the peak there were many places to look out over the rolling mountains. You even have a view of Seneca Rocks far below. This was a very thickly vegetated trail, make sure to throughly check for ticks after your hike. It’s a perfect afternoon hike hidden away in the West Virginia Mountains!

Any Advice?

Hello Sarah! I will be doing this hike on Sunday. Any advice?

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