Ascent of Third Hill Mountain on 2005-08-03

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Third Hill Mountain
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:2172 ft / 662 m

Ascent Trip Report

Today, we planned to drive to the town of Berkeley Springs in West Virginia, site of one of the oldest developed hot springs resorts in the United States. Berkeley Springs is about a 60-mile drive northwest of Millwood, Virginia, where we were staying while visiting her folks, but we chose (as usual) to take a scenic route, the plan to hike an easy highpoint along the way.

The objective was the top of Third Hill Mountain, marked by the "Shanghai" benchmark. From Millwood, we traveled north through Berryville toward Charles Town, West Virginia, then west through smaller communities (Glengary and Shanghai) until we got onto the correct local road called Hampshire Grade Road (County Road 7-13). It was a straightforward drive to the trailhead, which was easy to miss ... and I did, but I backed up to it without incident.

Beth was not feeling well and opted to skip the hike. I promised not to be long, and went on my way, while she stayed back at the car. A jeep road and foot path meander about a mile to the top from the main road. The condition of the trail started poorly, with deadfall and a heavy mat of forest crud on the ground. I took it slow, mainly to watch out for snakes, but soon conditions improved, the trail grew wider and more exposed, and I made much better time. The trail goes directly to the top, gaining about 380 feet at a very lenient grade.

The top "features" a derelict tower with a flapping American flag. Some rocks behind the tower seem to jut higher, but then so did parts of the trail, so I stepped on anything that looked high. Three other areas lie nearby, and the trail goes to them, so I quickly visited these, then started the hike out. The thick forest blocked any views of the countryside, and I didn't trust the tower enough to climb it. I was back to the car, gone less than an hour.

From here, we descended through interesting West Virginia backroads that eventually put us onto US-551 about 3 miles south of Berkeley Springs. We spent a few hours touring the little town and taking in some of the amenities. Apparently George Washington soothed his sore muscles here back in his time. Later in the day, we visited the nearby Morgan County highpoint on Cacapon Mountain.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:340 ft / 104 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Trailhead:1832 ft / 558 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail

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