Take the trail less traveled up Chinquapin Mountain

Though it’s often bypassed for its flashier neighbor Glen Falls, Chinquapin Mountain offers a series of spectacles and a magnificent summit.

Pictured below is Chinquapin Mountain with a dash of Little Scaly. Footage taken November 2020.

Chinquapin Mountain is an approx. 4-mile roundtrip hike that ascends to the top of the mountain and has stunning views from numbered “Lookouts” at the summit.

The summit of Chinquapin Mountain with Little Scaly in the background.

The reason it’s often overlooked is because one of the trailheads for Chinquapin is the same parking area as Glen Falls. Visitors tend to lean towards the spectacular three-tiered waterfall over taking the muddy trek up Chinquapin.

For those who have lost track of how many times they’ve hiked Glen Falls years ago and are looking for something different to mix up their hiking routine, Chinquapin is a hidden gem with a little bit of everything.

The trail is wet in a couple areas but nothing hikers can’t get around.

The trail begins along East Fork Overflow Creek and includes several water crossings, which can be slippery so use caution. Then the trail ascends approx. 600 feet via switchbacks to the top of Chinquapin and views are labeled with numbered “Lookout” signs.

There are five Lookouts, some are easier to reach than others. Lookouts 4 and 5 are gorgeous and just off the trail. Lookouts 1, 2, and 3 take some effort to get to.

There are several intersections along the way to the top of Chinquapin with trails leading to Little Scaly Mountain, Highway 106, and Glen Falls. Pay attention to these signs. Even if Chinquapin is spelled incorrectly, hikers will get the point and should follow the sign’s guidance.

HIkers can opt to go to the summits of Chinquapin Mountain or Little Scaly from the same trailhead.

There are two trailheads that lead to the top of Chinquapin. One is off Highway 106 about 3 miles from Highlands and is 1.5 miles to the summit.

The second trailhead is located in the same parking area as Glen Falls and is approx. 1.8 miles to the summit. Take Highway 106 from Highlands approx. 2 miles and turn left at the signs for Glen Falls.

Chinquapin Mountain offers a variety of diverse plants for hikers to see along the trail.

From the Glen Falls parking area, the trailhead for Chinquapin Mountain is just off to the right of the map kiosk. This is where you see groups of visitors often looking at the Chinquapin trailhead debating if it leads to Glen Falls. And their debate is justified, hikers can hear the creek from the trailhead and to a newcomer it sounds like a waterfall.

Seasoned hikers can do Chinquapin and Glen Falls trails in a day, but keep in mind that hiking up from the third tier of Glen Falls is steep and after hiking Chinquapin, it’s a little spicy.

Lookouts are well marked and scattered at the summit at ideal vista points.

All lookouts provide a gorgeous view of the valley below.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
Follow us on Instagram: @plateaudailynews
Like us on Facebook HERE
Advertise click HERE

Leave a Reply