North Fork Mt.

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Sierra Club Backpacking Trip: North Fork Mountain, WV

May 22 - 25, 1998, Friday night to Monday afternoon

Central highlands of West Virginia, Monongahela National Forest

Motel for Friday night:
Homestead Inn
Rt. 3, POB 146
Petersburg, WV 26847
On Scenic Rt. 55, 1 mile west of Petersburg

Friday night meeting place:
Oakton Center, in Oakton, VA. 6:00 PM.

Estimated cost:

Participants please send me e-mail so I can get your e-mail address. As long as no one objects, I will send a participant list of: name and telephone number via e-mail.

Trip Description:

The North Fork Mountain Trail is located in the Monongahela National Forest in the central highlands of West Virginia. We will cover approximately 24 miles in three days with a 2675' gain in elevation. This is among the most beautiful trails in the northeast with considerable portions of the trail running along the top of 600 to 1000' sandstone cliffs. There is NO WATER on this trip. Participants must carry a MINIMUM of 1 gallon of water. We will cache a MINIMUM of 1 gallon per person at the mid point. This is a strenuous trip suitable for experienced, fit backpackers, and strong dayhikers only.

We will drive to Petersburg, WV on Friday night and stay in a motel. Early Saturday we will drive to the northern end of the trail, where we will end, and leave a few cars. We will then head south and at the trails midpoint we will cache everyone's water. A 4wd vehicle is all that we need to get to the cache point via a fire road. I will use mine. Then we continue south to the starting trailhead.

Each participant is required to provide their own gear and food. Plan on carrying food for Saturday lunch to Monday lunch, plus snacks. Assume that fires are not permitted and that all cooking will be done on backpacking stoves. People who do not have the necessary equipment can rent the large items (tent, backpack, sleeping bag, stove) from some of the local backpacking stores.

We will carpool to and from WV. I will provide a list of participants. Trip size is limited to ten people. A description of this trail is in the December, 1995 issue of Backpacker magazine, p. 92. It's also on their web page.

Some Necessary Items

  • sturdy, broken in hiking boots
  • tent or bivouac sack
  • sleeping bag plus pad
  • rain gear
  • some extra clothes
  • sunscreen, sunglasses, hat with brim
  • wool sweater or fleece jacket
  • light but warm knit hat
  • flashlight, extra bulb and batteries
  • compass
  • I will provide copies of the map
  • toilet paper + trowel
  • matches
  • pocket knife
  • biodegradable soap, wash cloth, towel
  • backpack
  • stove
  • food
  • water
  • necessary personal first aid items

Common Items

If people want to share tents, other gear, or meals, you can work that out for yourselves from the participant list.

Guidebook & Maps

Monongahela National Forest Hiking Guide, Allen de Hart & Bruce Sundquist, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, 6th Edition

USFS 7.5' Topographic maps: Circleville, Upper Tract, Hopeville, and Petersburg West

Potomac Ranger District, MNF, Rt. 3, Box 240, Petersburg, WV 26847 304-257-4488

Health Problems

If anyone has a health problem that I should know about, please tell me before you pass out.


Bring somewhat more food than you would normally eat. As a backpacker, you will appreciate the concept of food as fuel. Bring things that are tasty, and nutritious but easy to prepare, cook, and clean up after. Also bring foods that will not spoil in the heat.


There is NO WATER on this trail. Everyone must carry a MINIMUM of 1 gallon plus we will all cache a MINIMUM of 1 gallon per person at the mid point. I will be carrying 4 liters rather than 4 quarts plus small OJ and milk containers for breakfast. You should plan meals that do not require much water. I will be using a collapsible 3 gallon bladder for my water cache. Strongly recommend using these large bladders as it will give everyone a surplus of water at least for the second day. As we will probably hit the water cache by noon time of the second day, excess water will most likely be dumped out. You could choose to wash up with your extra water (i.e.; more than 1 gallon) or carry a small portion of it with you.

Leave No Trace

We will practice "Leave No Trace" backcountry ethics.


The estimated cost is $30.00 per participant. This is for a single nights lodging in the motel Friday night. People must pay in advance to register for the trip. You're not signed up until I get your check.

Trip Leader:

Ted Fryberger
6259 Deep River Canyon
Columbia, MD 21045
Phone: 443-917-2902

Driving Directions:

To Oakton Center
From 495 beltway take Rt. 66 West
take second exit Rt. 123 North
left at fifth traffic light into Oakton Center
meet at front of parking lot, near Rt. 123

To Petersburg, WV
From the Oakton Center take Rt. 123 South to Rt. 66
Rt. 66 West for 60 miles
Rt. 81 West or South for 4 miles
Rt. 55 West for 48 miles
Rt. 220 South for 12 miles to Petersburg, WV (220/28/55 run coincident for a while)
1 mile west of Petersburg on Scenic Rt. 55 to the Homestead Inn
125 miles total, 2 hr 47 minutes estimated travel time

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