Ascent of Backbone Mountain on 2001-05-25

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Friday, May 25, 2001
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Backbone Mountain
    Elevation:3360 ft / 1024 m

Ascent Trip Report

Backbone Mountain is a ridge that runs southwest-to-northeast in the southwest corner of the part of Maryland that extends into West Virginia. It contains the highest point in Maryland, called Hoye Crest, but the highest point of the range is over the line in West Virginia.

I started the day in Morgantown, West Virginia, after a night of heavy rain and thunderstorms. I awoke early, drove south and east along very curvy West Virginia highways to the community of Silver Lake (WV) on US-219 a mile south of the WV-24 junction. An old logging road serves as the trail, and a hand-made sign nailed to a tree along the highway marks the trailhead, as do some inelegantly spray-painted markers. I parked off the highway and got geared up. It was a steady rain, but not too cold, so I wore shorts but also my parka, and started in.

The road is a good trail, and it gains consistently for a little less than a mile to the ridge, at which point the road ends and a use-trail continues north. Here, signs point to the West Virginia state-line marker and the Maryland highpoint. It seems to indicate that either direction in the fork will take one to the Maryland highpoint, but a right turn at the fork will mean less bushwhacking. I know, because I tried both ways.

I went left first, a very short distance to the cement state-line marker, then I retreated back to the junction and went the other way a few hundred yards to Hoye Crest. A metal sign marks the highpoint amid the trees, a clearing and a picnic table. There are good views east into Maryland. I signed in the register, snapped a photo, then hiked back to my car. The rain was steady but not annoying, but I was drenched upon my return. Fortunately the fog was minimal and I had good views and an enjoyable hike.

Since I was so close to the highpoint of Preston County in West Virginia, I hiked that one next.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:800 ft / 243 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Trailhead:2560 ft / 780 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail

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