April 20, 2013.
After a long morning of tree planting with the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, I convinced a group of people to go to Table Rock. You can read about my previous summertime adventure to Table Rock here. To get here, take Canaan Loop Road, which is on the left right after you pass the Canaan Heights sign if you’re coming from the Harman Side. Unless you have a 4WD vehicle with good clearance, don’t attempt to access it from the Blackwater Falls side!
Much of Canaan Loop road looks like this – thick rhododendron and wetlands on either side of the road. You’ll pass several trailheads (and drive along a part of the Allegheny Trail.) Eventually, you’ll find your way to the Table Rock Trailhead. The trail is a 1.2 mile hike one way, then you’ll retrace your steps on the way back. It’s a very wet trail – be prepared to encounter some mud and marshy areas. As you break through the thick laurels and onto the rock face, this is the view you’ll find:
If you’re brave enough to walk on the edge, you’ll find a path through the dense blueberry bushes that leads to the right side of the rocks. It appears someone’s set up some rappelling (or possibly climbing- it’s strangely bolted) areas on this edge of the rock. The trail is obvious through the blueberries. You’ll then skirt around the edge, next to a hemlock tree, and duck into the laurels before emerging again on the other side of the rock.
This is the view looking back toward the main part of Table Rock from the right side. As you can see, the maples were just starting to bloom and the trees beginning to show some color. It had been snowing just that morning down in the valley.
It definitely became a tradition to have a photo sitting on the edge of the rocks every time I go here. I have one from almost every season, now – I just have to brave my way up the road in winter. Ha. It was an incredibly windy day and as we were heading back to Elkins, we came upon a tree that had fallen across the road. An elderly couple was trying to move the tree out of the way- the look of surprise when 13 college students hopped out to move the tree was pretty priceless. We did indeed succeed in moving the tree out of the road and continued home for warm soup and warm drinks.