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  1. #1
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    Elizabeth Furnace: Did I take the correct route?

    Hey folks,

    I went to GWNF yesterday and hit Elizabeth Furnace. Before leaving I did as much reading online as possible and grabbed a trail map by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club which is very similar to the NatGeo map, just "zoomed in" with a bit more detail.

    Anyway, the climb was long but doable in most spots. I climbed the Tuscora trail (blazed blue) to the Massanutten trail (blazed orange) up to Signal Knob and then followed it down to the parking lot. The descent from Signal Knob was MISERABLE. I walked 75% of it.

    I took the Bear Wallow to Signal Knob route outlined here:

    George Washington National Forest - Elizabeth Furnace | Park Trail Maps | Mountain Biking | Hiking | GpsTrailSource

    Did I take the correct route? Was that terrible descent what everyone raves about? Any other suggested routes I should do? Had I done out and back on the Tuscora trail I think I would have had a better time and a better descent.

  2. #2
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    That's not the "standard way"... in fact, that's the reverse of "a" way. If you reversed your route, I believe you would have had a tough climb but a more fun downhill. I think most people take Mudhole to Mass to Signal Knob, then take Massanutten to (and over) Menaca Peak, then down Tuscarora (Bearwallow). This skips the Buzzard Rock section, which it appears you hiked down. I'll link in a map below which may help illustrate.

    A bunch of my ride pics: http://uberfarm.com/mnf

  3. #3
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    Thank you for clearing that up. Too bad it's going to rain tomorrow. I want to give it another try.

  4. #4
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    We typically ride up Bear Wallow to the top and then back down the same way. Or ride across the road up Sherman and down Shawl. Or just Shawl by itself.

  5. #5
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    You climbed the descent most people like, and came down a much more seldom ridden trail (signal knob). The most popular loop is to start the climb like you did, take the second cutoff over to the mudhole gap fireroad, climb that through mudhole and then hang a right to continue up the back of the mountain, and then climb to the back of either bear wallow or up to signal knob and then back to the top of bear wallow via the Meneka Peak trail before descending bear wallow to the lot. Longer loops, but most of the climbing is fireroad.

    BTW, I'm obviously biased, but this is the best map I've found for the trails there:
    File:LORO elizabeth furnace map.jpg - Log Off Ride OnTrails and Routes Wiki

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the replies everyone. I am much clearer on what I need to do in the future.

    I am heading back to Morgantown for school this weekend, so unfortunately I don't think I will be able to make a proper loop for another month or two because of the the snow that's coming down today. I normally don't mind riding in the snow, but as rocky as those trails are, I don't want to risk losing teeth because of something hidden.

  7. #7
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    I'm planning to ride EF this weekend and was wondering if someone has ridden there recently and can provide a report on riding conditions. I figure the well draining and rocky terrain will allow for riding despite the wet conditions in the past few weeks. All other trails near me are too wet and plain muddy to ride.

    Thanks!
    Juan

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