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DayTrip
06-25-2014, 07:17 PM
From what I've seen in other threads I get the impression the Great Gully trail in King Ravine is OK for descent. Would that be accurate? I've yet to hike in King Ravine so I'm thinking of taking the whirlwind tour of the ravine by going up King Ravine Trail, cutting over to top of Great Gully Trail and descending and then taking the Chemin Des Dame up and out to Airline.

Is that reasonable or will I run into problems descending? The AMC Guide makes the Great Gully Trail sound steep and rugged but not too severe, except for a tricky "ledge" on this trail you have to crawl across. Would that be dangerous heading down? Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated. Thanks.

David Metsky
06-25-2014, 10:48 PM
Yeah, I've descended it and it's not too bad. You need to pay attention in places like the ledge, but it was fine.

peakbagger
06-26-2014, 10:07 AM
I expect the biggest challenge is following the trail through upper rocky section. Not an issue on sunny day, but could be an issue on cold and windy day. When ascending if you get lost, you end up on gulfside but when descending if you lose the trail, it could be bad news.

DayTrip
06-26-2014, 03:53 PM
I expect the biggest challenge is following the trail through upper rocky section. Not an issue on sunny day, but could be an issue on cold and windy day. When ascending if you get lost, you end up on gulfside but when descending if you lose the trail, it could be bad news.

No blazes on rocks? Cairns? Footbed? It looked like a fairly well defined line of cairn entering down into the Gully from Gulfside. Guide makes it sound like the "vague area" is well up out of the Gullly in the lawn area. I would only do on an ideal day.

peakbagger
06-26-2014, 05:06 PM
Its been a several years but I seem to remember when hiking solo mentally noting that I was glad it was a sunny day when I went up it. as the upper section was not well cairned.

TEO
06-27-2014, 12:00 PM
I would suggest going up the Great Gully Trail, down the King Ravine Trail, & up Chemin des Dames. I think that Great Gully is better-suited for ascending and you'll have better views descending the King Ravine Trail. And, then you have a more elegant zig-zag route. Use a little care on the lower part of the Great Gully Trail, as many of the rocks are moss-covered and can be slippery even during periods of dry weather.

blacknblue
06-27-2014, 10:02 PM
I would suggest going up the Great Gully Trail, down the King Ravine Trail, & up Chemin des Dames. I think that Great Gully is better-suited for ascending and you'll have better views descending the King Ravine Trail. And, then you have a more elegant zig-zag route. Use a little care on the lower part of the Great Gully Trail, as many of the rocks are moss-covered and can be slippery even during periods of dry weather.

Second. You can descend the GG Trail with its "tricky" ledge, and it's fun and challenging and normally safe. I'd prefer the above suggestion, though. I did the 'King Ravine Trifecta' once and it was a pretty remarkable day (ending at Crag Camp).

DayTrip
06-30-2014, 12:45 PM
Got up there yesterday and did King Ravine Trail to ascend but that was all. My knees made it clear they were not on board with a second and third crack at it so I went down knife edge on Airline and then wandered across to the Inlook Trail to descend. That really is some fun/tough bouldering down in the bottom of King Ravine. Looking forward to another pass through there. Should have known it was unlikely I'd get all three trails in one hike (for my abilities anyway).

Is Chemin des Dames OK for descent too? Figure at only 0.4 miles it may be a good option after going up Great Gully and cutting over on Gulfside if it is similar to head wall of the ravine and is free of Subway-like squeezes (which I did NOT enjoy - skipped two of the four).

Quietman
06-30-2014, 03:21 PM
I have been up and down Chemin Des Dames numerous times, and while it is steep, it is probably the easiest to descend of the three. There is one very short boulder "cave" but it is not difficult.

Another note, on my last trip to the ravine, I opted for the Scar Trail when heading down the Airline and really enjoyed it. It is longer, but the trail bed is much softer than the other rocky trails in this area, and it avoids the steepest section of the Airline.

DayTrip
06-30-2014, 06:16 PM
I have been up and down Chemin Des Dames numerous times, and while it is steep, it is probably the easiest to descend of the three. There is one very short boulder "cave" but it is not difficult.

Another note, on my last trip to the ravine, I opted for the Scar Trail when heading down the Airline and really enjoyed it. It is longer, but the trail bed is much softer than the other rocky trails in this area, and it avoids the steepest section of the Airline.

I actually did that last week when I did Adams and Madison and enjoyed the trail. The foot falls were nice and cushioned in there! A welcome relief after Howker Ridge and Star Lake trails I ascended to each summit.

I was trying to hit some trails I'd never been on yesterday. That's why I took such a circuitous route back (Upper Bruin/Valley Way/Lower Bruin/Watson/Brookside/Kelton/Inlook/Valley Way). I like where Upper Bruin leaves Airline. You get the whole knife edge and then can bail out to Valley Way for a quick exit or one of the any waterfall trails toward the bottom. The Inlook Trail was extremely scenic as well with very favorable footing and a lot of great outlooks on the many ledges. Including this in a route of Madison makes for a nice hike I'll have to try another time. Nice to have so many choices in that area.

Mike P.
07-01-2014, 07:25 AM
I have been up and down Chemin Des Dames numerous times, and while it is steep, it is probably the easiest to descend of the three. There is one very short boulder "cave" but it is not difficult.

Another note, on my last trip to the ravine, I opted for the Scar Trail when heading down the Airline and really enjoyed it. It is longer, but the trail bed is much softer than the other rocky trails in this area, and it avoids the steepest section of the Airline.

Airline and Scar to VW is my favorite way off Adams and Madison back to Appalachia. The views of Airline but just about where the Airline descends into the woods the Scar comes in and then offers one view in a spot through the trees. It avoids the steepest parts of the Airline trail below treeline.