Log Roll Trail is a 4.5 mile long path that runs from Route 51 (near the Town Creek Aqueduct) to the overlook off of Green Ridge Road. There are several trails in Green Ridge State Forest, two of which (Log Roll and Long Pond) have a terminus on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. This makes for several interesting shuttle hikes or a 40+ mile loop that takes advantage of four Adirondack-style shelters in the forest and three primitive hiker/biker campsites along the canal. Today, however, we did an up-and-back, concentrating on Log Roll.
From the start, the trail is well-marked with orange blazes. For the first two miles, the path meanders through the narrow Big Run valley, and we lost track of the number of stream crossings. I would guess that there are at least twenty. Not long ago, we attempted the trail while the stream was higher than usual, but even after the water level dropped, we were both glad that we brought a pair of hiking sandals along.
Log Roll Trail is considered moderate in difficulty, mainly because there is a change in elevation of roughly only 700′ over its course, and much of this occurs as the path leaves Big Run and heads uphill toward Green Ridge Road. The trail crosses the road and runs parallel to it for approximately 1.5 miles. We wandered around at the crossing because this is the one spot along the way that is poorly marked. In this case, look for a white blaze.
The last mile heading toward the overlook runs crossways along a steep incline on what Louis L’Amour might call a “ghost” of a trail. The faint path was covered in last year’s dead leaves, and footing was treacherous in a number of spots. In fact, Candee had to adjust her hiking poles to two different lengths. My lone pole saved me from a couple of long slides into who-knows-where as well. We’ve done a few day hikes along the AT that were labeled as difficult, but Log Roll left me hurting in places that I’d never been sore before. Go figure!
Far below, Town creek meanders through a sharp bend shaped like a horseshoe, and logs were once rolled off of the hillside to the stream below. From there, they were floated to a sawmill–hence the name of the trail. The hike isn’t terribly difficult, although at different times of the year high water, snow, and briars can add to the excitement. Nevertheless, the trails of Green Ridge State Forest and the C&O Canal combine for a nice long walk through both the woods and history. Enjoy!