Warm Springs Mountain Hikes (Bald Knob & Ingalls Overlook Trails)
By Scott McCoy.
Six guys from GO (plus Heidi the dog) joined a group of about ten other folks from the Nature Conservancy for a hike up Warm Springs Mountain to the Bald Ridge lookout tower. After the Bald Ridge hike, five of us continued over to try the short Ingalls Overlook trail where the leaves were in prime color. Due to the mild weather and clear air, views were excellent in all directions.
Joining me for the hike were Steve, Nick, Daniel, and Larry's dog Heidi. We started our first of two hikes this day on an old logging road that cuts through the heart of the Nature Conservancys Warm Springs Mountain Preserve.
Due to some recent windy weather in the area, views on the way up were excellent, such as in this view from Warm Springs Mountain west into Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
Also visible from the trail is the fine Falling Springs Valley, an area noted for its waterfalls and terraced golf courses such as the famous Cascades Gorge and Cascades Golf Course
Trails end on our first hike was a disused lookout tower. We took turns climbing up the stairway for fine views from the top.
Even Heidi enjoyed her turn at the views from the tower!
From the summit, we could see many miles north, including the odd little Ingalls Field Airport, built on across the top of Warm Springs Mountain.
En route to our second hike, we passed the Homestead Resort and the scenic Virginia towns of Hot Springs and Warm Springs in Virginia. Fall foliage along our route was in prime color or, for the true experts, maybe a bit past prime.
One of our party was pressed for time, so we left him to take a quick soak in the famous Jefferson Pools and continued on to the second trailhead. The Pools were established in the mid-18th century and are housed in two wooden buildings (one for men and one for women) that were designed by Thomas Jefferson.
Having recently learned that the Chestnut Blight of the early 20th century did not kill the roots of the old trees, which periodically still send out shoots that grow until the blight kills them, I was delighted to find several surprisingly large young Chestnut trees along the Ingalls Overlook trail.
This particular Chestnut had grown to 20 feet or more and had actually produced Chestnut nuts. Sadly, it is nearly certain that once the tree matures and forms the classic Chestnut bark, the Chestnut blight will kill it.
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