Black Angel Trail
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CONTRIBUTION BY ELIZABETH KANE
History: In 2006, the Wild River Wilderness became the newest designation of wilderness area in the WMNF. The valley was stripped of its timber by heavy logging in the 1890s. Many of the paths in this area follow old logging roads and dismantled railroad beds. The forest burned to the ground in 1903, ending timber operations. Even among the regrowth, artifacts and vestiges of its pillaged past are still visible to the hiker with acute observation skills.
Beta: Approximately 7.7 miles long, 3,650 feet of elevation gain from Rim Junction to Carter-Moriah Trail. To complete the entire length of trail, one must cross the Wild River itself. Be prepared to rock hop, or to turn around in high water conditions. Spider Bridge used to span the river near the current junction, but was washed away in 2005 and will not be replaced.
Why You Need to Hike This Trail: The Black Angel Trail bisects the remote Wild River Valley, connecting the Carter-Moriah Range to the West with the Baldface-Royce Range in Evans Notch to the East. Partial views into the Wild River Wilderness from higher points on the trail near the Carter-Moriah Range are spectacular.
Much of the trail offers smoother underfoot conditions than many other trails in the WMNF, making it an enticing option for inclusion on a trail running loop, or for those hikers that enjoy less aggressive terrain.
Camping in the general Black Angel Trail area is of high caliber. The Wild River Campground offers a jump off point for exploring both ranges, with abundant fishing and swimming holes. Blue Brook tent site (see WMNF website for restrictions and regulations) is a viable backcountry experience for a first timer or family, as its proximity to trailheads is close.
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