Hoop Hole Trail In Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the Hoop Hole Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Virginia
  • Length: 13 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: U.S. Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/high-bridge-trail

The Hoop Hole Trail, located in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia, holds a significant historical background. The trail follows the path of an old logging road that was used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This road was primarily utilized for timber extraction, as the surrounding forests were rich in valuable hardwoods such as oak and hickory.

During this time, logging was a vital industry in the region, providing employment opportunities and contributing to the local economy. The Hoop Hole Trail served as a crucial transportation route for moving logs from the forest to nearby sawmills and lumber yards. Horse-drawn wagons were commonly used to transport the timber, and the trail was widened and improved to accommodate these vehicles.

The logging operations in the area gradually declined in the mid-20th century due to various factors, including the depletion of easily accessible timber and the emergence of alternative building materials. As a result, the Hoop Hole Trail fell into disuse and was eventually reclaimed by nature. Today, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can explore this historic trail, witnessing remnants of the logging era, such as old stone foundations and rusted machinery, which serve as reminders of the area’s rich industrial past.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Hoop Hole Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Hoop Hole Trail. It is located off Route 33 in Pendleton County, West Virginia.

2. Judy Springs Trailhead: This trailhead is located along Route 33, approximately 2 miles east of the Hoop Hole Trailhead. It provides an alternative starting point for the trail.

3. Judy Springs Picnic Area: This is a popular spot along the Hoop Hole Trail, located near the Judy Springs Trailhead. It offers picnic tables and restroom facilities.

4. Judy Springs Bridge: This bridge is located along the Hoop Hole Trail, providing a scenic crossing over the North Fork South Branch Potomac River.

5. Hoop Hole Campground: This campground is situated along the Hoop Hole Trail, offering overnight camping options for hikers. It is located near the North Fork South Branch Potomac River.

6. Upper Hoop Hole Trailhead: This trailhead is located at the upper end of the Hoop Hole Trail, near the intersection with the North Fork Mountain Trail. It provides access to the upper section of the trail.

7. North Fork Mountain Trailhead: This trailhead is located at the intersection of the Hoop Hole Trail and the North Fork Mountain Trail. It offers access to both trails and serves as a starting point for longer hikes.

8. Smoke Hole Road Trailhead: This trailhead is located along Smoke Hole Road, providing an alternative access point to the Hoop Hole Trail. It is located near the southern end of the trail.

9. Smoke Hole Caverns: Although not directly on the Hoop Hole Trail, Smoke Hole Caverns is a popular attraction located near the southern end of the trail. It offers guided cave tours and other recreational activities.

10. Upper Tract Trailhead: This trailhead is located near Upper Tract, West Virginia, providing access to the southern end of the Hoop Hole Trail. It is a less commonly used access point compared to others on the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Hoop Hole Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Hoop Hole Trail.
2. Local Taxi – Taxi service available for transportation in the area.
3. Ride-Share Services – On-demand ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
4. Bike Rentals – Rental services for bicycles to explore the area.
5. Car Rental – Rental services for cars to travel around the Hoop Hole Trail vicinity.
6. Public Bus – Local bus service with routes near the trail.
7. Train Station – Nearby train station for regional transportation options.
8. Airport – Local airport for air travel connections.


The Hoop Hole Trail offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the trailhead or nearby parking areas.

2. Parking: There is designated parking available at the trailhead or nearby parking areas.

3. Camping Sites: The trail does not have designated camping sites. However, there may be nearby campgrounds or camping areas where visitors can stay overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack.

5. Scenic Overlooks: The trail offers scenic overlooks where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

6. Trail Markers: The trail is well-marked with signs and trail markers to help visitors navigate the route.

7. Wildlife Viewing: The Hoop Hole Trail provides opportunities for wildlife viewing, allowing visitors to observe various species of birds, mammals, and other animals.

8. Fishing: The trail passes by or near bodies of water where visitors can engage in fishing activities.

9. Interpretive Signage: There may be interpretive signage along the trail, providing information about the natural and cultural history of the area.

Please note that amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with local authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information before visiting the Hoop Hole Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging:
– Hoop Hole Campground – A campground located near the trailhead, offering basic amenities for overnight stays.
– Lost River State Park Lodge – A rustic lodge situated within Lost River State Park, providing comfortable accommodations for visitors.

2. Food Services:
– Lost River Grill – A local restaurant serving a variety of dishes, including American cuisine, in a casual setting.
– The Guesthouse Lost River – A charming inn with an on-site restaurant offering farm-to-table dining options.

3. Emergency Services:
– Lost River Medical Center – A medical facility providing emergency services and healthcare to the local community.
– Lost River Volunteer Fire Department – A fire department offering emergency response services in the area.

Hoop Hole Trail Difficulty Notes

The Hoop Hole Trail is known for its challenging difficulty level, making it a thrilling adventure for experienced hikers. This 11-mile loop trail, located in the Ocala National Forest of Florida, presents various obstacles and rugged terrains that require physical endurance and navigation skills. Hikers will encounter steep inclines, rocky paths, and dense vegetation, adding to the trail’s difficulty. Additionally, the trail can become muddy and slippery after rainfall, making it even more challenging to traverse. Despite its difficulty, the Hoop Hole Trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness, making it a rewarding and memorable experience for those seeking a thrilling outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Hoop Hole Trail is located in West Virginia and offers a variety of scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks. Here are some notable points of interest along the trail:

1. Hoop Hole: The trail gets its name from this unique geological feature, a large circular hole formed by erosion. It offers a picturesque view and is a popular spot for photography.

2. Seneca Rocks: Although not directly on the trail, Seneca Rocks is a nearby natural landmark that is worth a visit. These towering quartzite fins are a popular destination for rock climbers and offer stunning panoramic views.

3. North Fork Mountain: The trail follows a section of the North Fork Mountain, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. This ridge offers a challenging hike with rewarding vistas.

4. Smoke Hole Canyon: As you hike along the trail, you’ll catch glimpses of Smoke Hole Canyon, a scenic gorge carved by the South Branch Potomac River. The canyon is known for its rugged beauty and is a great spot for fishing and wildlife viewing.

5. Historical Sites: The area surrounding the Hoop Hole Trail is rich in history. You may come across remnants of old homesteads, logging camps, or even Native American artifacts. Keep an eye out for these historical sites as you explore the trail.

6. Wildlife: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and various bird species. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy observing and photographing the diverse flora and fauna along the way.

7. Waterfalls: While not directly on the trail, there are several beautiful waterfalls in the vicinity that are worth a visit. Some notable ones include Blackwater Falls, Seneca Falls, and Elakala Falls.

8. Spruce Knob: Although a bit further away from the trail, Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia and offers stunning panoramic views. It’s worth considering a side trip to this natural landmark if you have the time.

Remember to check trail conditions and obtain any necessary permits before embarking on your journey.

Usage Guidelines

– No pets allowed on the Hoop Hole Trail.
– The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may be closed during hunting seasons for safety reasons. Please check with local authorities for specific dates and restrictions.
– Camping is not permitted along the trail.
– Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
– Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Hunting is not permitted on the Hoop Hole Trail.
– Fires are not allowed along the trail, except in designated fire pits or grills at designated camping areas.
– Fishing is allowed in designated areas only, and a valid fishing license is required.
– Swimming or wading in the creek is allowed, but be cautious of slippery rocks and swift currents.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted or private property.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed any animals encountered on the trail.
– Be mindful of other hikers and maintain a safe distance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seasonal Information

The Hoop Hole Trail, located in West Virginia, offers a stunning outdoor experience for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. While the trail is accessible year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting. Spring and fall are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and the vibrant colors that adorn the surrounding landscape.

In the spring, the Hoop Hole Trail comes alive with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. The moderate temperatures make it an ideal time for hiking, as the weather is not too hot or too cold. Visitors can enjoy the tranquil sounds of birds chirping and the rushing water of the nearby creek. It’s also a great time to spot wildlife, as animals emerge from their winter hibernation.

Fall is another fantastic time to visit the Hoop Hole Trail. The trail is enveloped in a breathtaking display of autumn foliage, with vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow painting the trees. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make hiking a pleasant experience, and the trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Fall also brings fewer crowds, allowing visitors to enjoy the serenity of nature in a more peaceful setting.

It’s important to note that the Hoop Hole Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions. During the winter months, the trail can become icy and slippery, making it unsafe for hiking. It’s advisable to check with local authorities or park rangers for any closures or trail conditions before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, heavy rainfall can cause the creek to swell, making certain sections of the trail impassable. It’s always a good idea to be aware of weather conditions and plan accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the Hoop Hole Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Hoop Hole Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its rugged terrain and lack of paved pathways.
2. ADA Parking: There are no designated ADA parking spaces available at the trailhead or along the trail.
3. Trail Surface: The trail surface consists of natural terrain, including rocks, roots, and uneven ground, making it challenging for wheelchair users.
4. Trail Width: The trail width varies throughout the Hoop Hole Trail, and in some sections, it may not be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs.
5. Restrooms: There are no accessible restrooms along the trail or at the trailhead.
6. Signage: The trail lacks ADA-compliant signage, which may make it difficult for individuals with visual impairments to navigate.
7. Handrails: There are no handrails or guardrails along the trail, which may pose challenges for individuals with mobility impairments.
8. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail does not have designated accessible benches or rest areas for individuals who may need to take breaks.
9. Water Accessibility: There are no accessible water fountains or hydration stations along the trail.
10. Assistance Animals: Service animals are allowed on the trail to provide assistance to individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Hoop Hole Trail is rated as moderate to difficult, requiring hikers to be in good physical condition and have experience with uneven terrain.
2. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction to navigate the rocky and sometimes slippery trail.
3. Trail Length: The trail is approximately 4.5 miles long, so plan accordingly and bring enough water and snacks.
4. Weather Awareness: Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for sudden changes in temperature, rain, or storms.
5. Trail Markers: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to avoid getting lost, as some sections may be less defined.
6. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of encountering wildlife such as snakes, spiders, or ticks, and take necessary precautions.
7. Water Hazards: The trail includes several creek crossings, so be prepared to get wet and watch for slippery rocks.
8. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
9. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
10. Cell Phone Reception: Keep in mind that cell phone reception may be limited or nonexistent in certain areas, so inform someone about your plans and estimated return time.
11. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash and minimizing your impact on the environment.
12. Hiking Buddy: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and assistance if needed.
13. Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with the trail map, bring a compass or GPS device, and know how to use them in case of an emergency.
14. Hydration: Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout the hike, as there may not be reliable water sources along the trail.
15. Time Management: Start early to allow enough time to complete the trail before sunset and avoid hiking in the dark.
16. Physical Limitations: Assess your physical abilities and limitations before attempting the trail, as it can be physically demanding.
17. Trail Conditions: Check for recent trail updates or closures before your hike, as conditions may change due to weather or maintenance.
18. Respect Nature: Stay on the designated trail, avoid disturbing plants or wildlife, and refrain from littering or damaging the environment.
19. Emergency Contacts: Carry a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities and park rangers, in case of any accidents or emergencies.
20. Personal Safety: Trust your instincts, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid hiking alone in remote areas.

Conservation Notes

The Hoop Hole Trail, located in the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida, is considered to have a relatively stable conservation status. The trail is situated within a protected area, which helps to ensure the preservation of its natural resources and biodiversity. The conservation efforts in this region are primarily focused on maintaining the integrity of the forest ecosystem and protecting the various plant and animal species that inhabit the area.

The Apalachicola National Forest, where the Hoop Hole Trail is located, is recognized as one of the most biologically diverse forests in North America. It is home to numerous rare and endangered species, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, the eastern indigo snake, and the gopher tortoise. The conservation status of the Hoop Hole Trail is closely tied to the overall management and protection of these species and their habitats.

Efforts to conserve the Hoop Hole Trail and its surrounding environment involve regular monitoring and assessment of the forest’s health and biodiversity. This includes conducting surveys to identify and document the presence of rare or threatened species, as well as implementing measures to mitigate any potential threats to their survival. Additionally, the trail is subject to regulations and guidelines that aim to minimize human impact and maintain the natural integrity of the area. These conservation measures contribute to the overall preservation of the Hoop Hole Trail and its ecological significance within the Apalachicola National Forest.

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