View Full Version : Pine Mountain Trail - Kentucky

06-02-2013, 10:21
Just got back from a hiking adventure last week on the HighlandSection of the Pine Mountain Trail. I used the following website to do theresearch before going. http://www.pinemountaintrail.com.
We went to Pound Gap at 7am on Memorial Day and then wasshuttled to the HWY 119 Trail Head. Since my father was 76 yrs old and hiking with us, I had theshuttle take us up Tower Roadwhere the Sign In box is to cut a little more than 1/2 a mile off the trip. Wewalked by some nice creeks and water supplies early in the trip but we weren'tin need because we'd just started. After a good hike, we made it to High Rock. Itwas a nice view that looked over all of Whitesburg and beyond. My dad was able to see allthe places he grew up in. He didn't grow up in the city. There is supposed tobe a campsite somewhere close to High Rock so we evaluated my dads ability tocontinue the hike and decided to continue on. After pushing through a lot morehills we got to Swindall Campsite. To get my dads energy level up, we cookedhim a meal at this site and relaxed for about an hour. We we're getting alittle too low on water to stay the night and my dad was feeling good so wecontinued to Adena Shelter. This portion of the hike wasn't too bad at all. Ofcourse the clouds were working in our favor even though there weren't a lot ofthem. Both water sources were good at the shelter so we immediately refilledall our water containers. We looked everything needed, setup our bedding andcrashed for the night. I've never seen a mechanism like at this site to hangyour backpacks away from the bears. It was a pole with about 8 hooks on itabout 15ft high. There was a metal pole with it on chains that you had to useto get the backpacks up to the hooks. There wasn't much slack in the chain (tooshort) to hook the back packs and it was hard to see the hooks when you havethe backpacks in the air trying to hook them. It worked well but was difficultto accomplish getting a 30 pound backpack on a hook that high. I'm sure some ofyou have already seen one of these but it was the first for me. All in all,this day went well and the trails were fairly easy to follow.
Day 2 got a little more interesting. Just to be safe, wewent back to the water holes one more time before continuing on. From AdenaShelter to Twin Cliffs Overlook, it was impossible to see the trail many times.You really have to watch for the blazes at this point. Speaking of the blazes,they were recently changed to green from yellow but the green was sprayed onwith spray paint and the yellow was an oil base paint so it was a faded greenor just yellow at many points. They also put two blazes at any point there wasa turn. The upper blaze is in the direction of the turn. I let my youngest leadthe way most of the trip and trusted him a little too much at times.
He'd turn on an ATV trail not realizing he was supposed tocross it. When I hadn't seen a blaze for a couple hundred feet, I'd have one ofmy boys double back to see where we got off. Remember, I had a 76yr old guywith us and we couldn't get off track much or we'd be in trouble really quick.When we got to Indian Grave Campsite, my youngest and I walked down the side ofthe hill looking for the water source. There was a sign pointing in thedirection but no trail and we never could find it. We were way too low on waterso we continued on. We eventually came to Twin Cliffs Overlook which was a beautifulview over Virginia.We rested a little too long here but enjoyed every minute! Didn't take long toget to Jack Sautter Campsite. The water source at Old Meade Homeplace wasn'tappealing, although was good enough if we had to use it. We had a waterfiltration pump. My youngest said that rather than staying at his campsite,he'd rather go get a Wendy's Frosty and my dad was all in so we hiked at breakneck speeds to Pound Gap. Most of this day we had to carry my dads backpack upthe hills. It was about 15lbs. We’ve been told that some professional athleteshave tried to do this section in one day and get into trouble because theyweren’t prepared to stay the night. My 76yr old dad did it in two days. To preparefor the trip, he would run up hills for a month to get in shape. It seemed towork for him. This is a challenging trail because there’s a lot more ups anddowns that I’ve experienced on the AT in the Smokys. This is excluding theinitial climb on both ends! I’d recommend this hike to anyone that likes a goodchallenge.

06-02-2013, 11:10
Thanks much for the trip report. I've had this trail on my radar since I moved to KY 4 years ago.

The bear pole you described sounded like the ones in Shenandoah National Park.