Baldpate Partially Reopens: Summit Trail Severely Damaged

Dozens of acres of land adjacent to the first quarter mile of the popular Summit Trail suffered severed Tornado damage

Baldpate Mountain was ground zero for a tornado on July 29, 2021 and remained fully closed until September 16 when some of the most popular hiking trails in the park reopened. As of September 24, the Switchback, NW Loop, and Pleasant Valley Trails remain closed until further notice for restoration (see map).

Red marks trails still closed for restoration.

Some of the most popular routes in the park are now reopened, including the Kuser, Copper Hill, Ridge, and Summit Trails. Of these trails, only the Summit Trail appears to have suffered severe damage, which is primarily restricted to the initial quarter mile from the Fiddler’s Creek parking lot to the rock-fall “stone staircase”. Substantial sections of this part of the trail that used to provide a full tree canopy are now tangled clearings. Many trees are fully down, while many of the largest trees are still standing but with most of their branches stripped off. It’s worth visiting simply to witness the power of the storm. Evidence of this event will remain for decades.

Signs of restoration work are evident everywhere on the Summit Trail. Seeing this, it’s remarkable that the work has come as far as it has in less than two months.

This clearing work took place right by to the Fiddler’s Creek entrance. Hikers familiar with the Summit Trail will recognize the stepping stones, but not much else.

  1. Tom
    | Reply

    i went there this weekend (10/9/22) and the destruction is crazy. Stuff is cleared away, but so many trees were blown down or twisted like toothpicks. Odd thing – a lot of grass seems to be growing in along the trails. It’s not blocking anything, but it’s cool what’s sneaking in once the trees are cleared out.

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