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blueBlack Cranberry Wilderness Loop

  4.5 ( 2 )

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17.3 mile 27.8 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,831' 558 m
Descent: -1,830' -558 m
High: 4,496' 1,370 m
Low: 3,086' 941 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 26% (15°)


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Trail shared by Jamie Singleton

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Awesome Loop for some great Cranberry Wilderness scenery!

Jamie Singleton

Features Cave · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Wildflowers · Wildlife · Commonly Backpacked


Great hike to enjoy some spectacular scenery at the Scenic Highway and as you drop into the Cranberry River basin. The Cranberry River offers some remote fishing experiences and beautiful waterfalls and creek side stops. The Cranberry River area does have some picnic tables and a shelter every few miles for those weary travelers.

Need to Know

The trails are mostly dry trail with a few washed out areas that you'll need to monitor your GPS for. However, the trail is well-marked in all areas.


This is a great hike starting on the North-South Trail #688 at the Scenic Highway. From the parking area, the trail is fairly level to where North Fork Trail #272 splits off to the south. Take North Fork Trail #272 as it gradually drops down to the Cranberry River. There is a camping shelter just south of the intersection of the river. Follow the trail west as it winds along paralleling the river to its end on Cranberry Road.

Hike down Cranberry Road a couple miles and take the Tumbling Rock Trail #214 as it climbs back up to the North-South Trail #688 along the creek. It is only about 2.5 miles uphill, but it feels more like five miles uphill. The trail is an old railroad grade from the turn of the century and offers a great historical experience as some of the railroad timbers are still on the trail. At the intersection with the North-South Trail #688, turn right to head east back to the trailhead at the parking area at the Scenic Highway.

If you're backpacking, there are tons of camping spots along the way!

Flora & Fauna

Bear, Deer, Squirrels, Turkey, Trout, and Crawfish

History & Background

Cranberry Wilderness is a bear sanctuary and served the timber market at the turn of the century before being transformed into a National Forest.


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Nov 11, 2018
Don Nuckols
Oct 5, 2017
Jamie Singleton
Completed Oct 6-9 with Sean, Scott, Josh, Barry, and Johnnie 17.3mi

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes


  4.5 from 2 votes
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3,183 Since Mar 1, 2018
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Are there any stream crossings on this loop? Nov 6, 2018
Going from Highway down into Cranberry River you will find an abundance of creek crossings within the last 3-4 miles of the trip to the river. Once you leave the river on this loop, the creek follows you for about 1.75miles of the 2.75 mile climb but you eventually lose it the last mile. On the North-South Trail (weird name because it actually goes more west to east) we found no water so make sure you camel up at the last deep water hole coming up Tumbling Rock. Our ridge hike which totaled out around 7-8 miles was waterless. Good luck, stay safe, and enjoy the woods! Nov 6, 2018

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