Page Created by,
Megan K. Staab
May 10, 2001
Mine Bank Trail
Hiking the Mine Bank Trail
Located in the Saint Mary's Wilderness the trail begins near the Fork Mountain Overlook at mile 23 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A maximum elevation of 3281 feet, the trail descends 1000 feet to join the Saint Mary's Trail near the falls. The make-up of the trial is predominantly quartz, which provides no buffering for the acid rain. The Mine Bank trail has become famous not only for its location along the prime Appalachian trails but also for its majestic beauty and intense workout. This in turn makes it a popular hike on the Eastern coast of the USA.
The Hike provides a variety of terrain, from a soft dirt trail, to exposed rock (both loose and embedded), to climbing over dead trees, which have fallen in the pathway. As one hikes, one will enter a woodland setting, open areas due to light gaps and disturbance that has taken place with in the forest. However, in the end it is all worth all the exertion-a picturesque view of a fresh mountain stream and waterfalls is what one will behold.
Many visitors who enjoy the hiking also enjoy the other recreational activities that are in the area: Bird watching (Ravens, various Vireos, Wood Thrush-just to mention a few), Botany (Lady Slippers, multitudes of Violets, Bracken Ferns, and many tree/shrub species such as Black Birch, Hemlocks, Mountain Laurel, and Wild Azalea), and camping.
Evidence of Destruction
Disturbance threatens the forest in which Mine Bank trail runs. Woolly adulgid, pine bark beetles, gypsy moths and the fungal blithe as well as natural disasters such as flooding and forest fires have ripped through St. Mary's forest. In turn, Hemlocks and American chestnuts have dwindled in number and threaten to be lost forever.
Like most outdoor activities, there are some aspects to take into consideration: hiking boots for example should be worn in order to have adequate ankle support-if not one is likely to slip on the rocks and twist an ankle, water may look inviting especially when rolling down rocks, creating an inviting water fall but remember that rocks are not only slippery when wet but also grow algae in moist areas which can turn in to hazardous fun; and always carry a first aid kit and plenty of water, in case an emergency should arise.
Shenandoah emergency number: 1-800-732-0911