West Fork Teanaway River — Monday, May. 30, 2016
There's something special about less popular trails. The most recent trip report on this one was from 2012, and there were only 4 trip reports total. Rather than driving directions, there was an ominous warning about road conditions. Combine that with 4 pictures of a beautiful river and this becomes a very interesting trail. I was concerned about whether I'd even make it to the trail head, so I tacked this on to a trip to Red Top Lookout. I kind of wish that I had made this the primary trip, because I left so much unexplored. The road has either been improved, or the warnings from 2011 were overstated. I agree that you shouldn't drive this road in wet conditions - it probably turns to mud. That said, the ruts weren't too bad and were easy to navigate around. I did it in a Subaru Outback without any difficulty, but I'm pretty sure that I've tackled worse roads in my hatchback. Nothing is signed, and the roads didn't quite match my map, but you pretty much follow the main road 3.7 miles past Indian Camp Campground. The road will split, with the main road turning left. Park here and walk down the road to your right. It'll soon be blocked by two boulders, and then by a pair of small downed trees. The trail is brushy in places, and there are some blowdowns, but it's not bad considering the lack of trip reports. I've seen more brush on popular trails like Ingalls Creek, and more blowdowns on Lake Serene. There is a large campsite a short distance in. It looks like it gets regular use, as there were some fresh pieces of firewood there. The trail quickly ends at the river, with a level spot large enough for a picnic. There is a social trail shortly before that. I thought it might be a way to get around a washed out section of trail, but I don't think that's the case. It seemed to go far too high. The social trail was steep and loose - I'd recommend hiking poles if you want to explore it. If you look closely, you can see a hint of the trail beyond the picnic spot. I found a big hiking stick and forded the river to check it out. The river is less than knee deep if you pick a good route across. If you pick a bad route, it could easily be mid-thigh. The trail does continue on the other side of the river, and looks pretty good. At least one blowdown, but the trail was well defined and could be followed. Either the brush doesn't grow too fast here or people are hiking this and just not writing trip reports. I turned around after confirming that the trail existed beyond the first ford. We started the trail late, and the mechanics of ferrying 3 kids across the river would have been time-consuming. Instead, we lounged on a blanket enjoying solitude and snacks.