Guest post by rlc
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Day 1: Raven Rock
Drove from Columbus to Lexington (3 hours) and stopped for a few supplies. Mainly whiskey. Drove another hour to the park and learned there was a lost hiker and some areas were closed for the search party. The Indian Staircase was one of them, and that’s what we wanted to do. Went to Raven Rock instead, which is privately-owned, and you pay $5 to park your car on the owner’s property. Steep hike from the parking up to the rock. They tried to build a road to get you up there, but it was too steep. Perfect camping grounds, had the place to ourselves. Views over the whole park. Set up camp and called it a day.
Day 2: Gray’s Arch
Stopped at the Ranger Station to check in on the missing hiker. Drove about 30 mins to the Gray’s Arch Rec Area on Tunnel Ridge Road. Gray’s Arch is the big, famous one. We hiked about 2 miles in towards Gray’s Arch and went off-trail up to the ridge the ranger said would be a good spot to set up camp. Set up our stuff, went back to the trail and did Gray’s Arch, made a loop and went back to camp. About 8 miles total for the day. Dinner and fire at the campsite. Lots of whiskey, which we loaded up on in Lexington.
- Haystack Rock
- Courthouse Rock
- Double Arch
Hiked back out to our car and drove to the Auxier Ridge Trailhead (10 mins away). It’s pretty tough to get a parking spot, so make sure you get there early. Hiked to Haystack Rock and Courthouse Rock. You can climb on the top of both of those, great views. You can see Raven Rock and gain an appreciation of where we were. Hiked back down and around the Auxier Ridge Trail. You can go back to the parking lot or keep going on a trail that dead-ends at Double Arch. Definitely worth going to Double Arch, only about an extra 2 miles (1 each way). Drove back to Ohio.
We planned on swimming, but it was really dry and there wasn’t much water. Saw a couple of rattlesnakes, so be on the lookout. Not a very difficult place to hike – great views with not much effort. Need to go back next year to do Indian Staircase.
Traveled in July 2018