Hike Thirty-five: West Virginia’s White Rock Cliff

Finally, I’ve reached the point where I can blog about West Virginia’s White Rock Cliff!  This hike was incredible and boasts of diverse mountain flowers, beautiful streams, incredible cliff views, bald eagle sightings, and much more.  Truly, it was stunning and one of our favorites thus far.  Since it was a bit of time ago though, here is this trail story told primarily through pictures.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

First, here are the details on George Washington National Forest’s White Rock Cliff:

  • It was an almost 10-mile loop
  • 1,840-foot elevation gain
  • Level Three of Five difficulty

When we arrived in the Great North Mountain area, the land seemed eager to welcome us by displaying the most vibrant colors, which coaxed us in further . . .IMG_7956IMG_7972IMG_7978About half a mile into the pink blazed Old Mail Path, we found the waters of Cove Run but before we crossed it, Andrew bent to notice this spawn inside.IMG_7990.jpgIMG_7983IMG_7992
Our trail soon turned muddy in the most beautiful way, and I couldn’t refrain from taking this picture of the way the trees were reflected in the tan and brown water.  Off we hiked though, soon coming to our crossing . . .IMG_8127IMG_7985IMG_7997IMG_7999IMG_8003IMG_8006Hints of spring in the form of little green leaves and tiny buds were everywhere we turned . . .
IMG_8023.jpegIMG_8012.jpgand throughout our entire trek we did not bump into another person so again we roamed free and wild.IMG_8051IMG_8058IMG_8064.jpegIMG_8116IMG_8120IMG_8135IMG_8129IMG_8041IMG_8130I know I say it often but forests are magical — The pops of green moss and plant leaves in a maze of brown limbs are stunning . . . IMG_8136IMG_8138IMG_8143
Before long, our trail twisted uphill where White Rock Cliff summit greeted us with scattered white flower petals that danced in the wind and enveloped us in its fragrance.

 

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After minimal effort, we dipped around the flowers to arrive at our destination: Opa Overlook.  This cliff view resembled a painting: There were trees with pops of vibrant reds, yellows, and greens — others, the same white from flower pedals.
IMG_8257IMG_8327IMG_8258IMG_8191IMG_8206IMG_8239IMG_8240IMG_8273Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, a bald eagle shot out from the valley, swooping in the air before circling over the Blue Ridge . . .IMG_8220IMG_8223-2665653263-1563894995649.jpegIMG_8222
Watching the giant bird until it disappeared, we settled on the white rock formations, cuddling and dangling our legs over the edge.
IMG_8205.jpgIMG_8263IMG_8322Hawks then flew overhead, hovering in the strong winds . . .IMG_8297IMG_8299
At Opa Overlook, there are two cliff edges (directly beside one another) and Andrew and I darted to each separately.  At this West Virginia spot, you can see all the way to Shenandoah National Park on a clear day.  We also learned this area was originally settled by German’s in the 1730’s.  After, a population of German and Scots-Irish migrants moved here from the Pennsylvania region.
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This was truly one of the most incredible views I’ve yet to see, but the sun was set to go down soon and we aimed to be off the mountain when it did.  This mean following that ball of burning light back to the car . . .
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Once there, we caught the last few rays of light as we cruised in neutral down the mountain.  Then, before we knew it, the area was dark . . .
IMG_8362IMG_8360IMG_8365IMG_8370IMG_8378There’s something calm and safe about winding through dark mountains so as Andrew took the wheel, I found myself dozing softly in and out of sleep . . .

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