First 3 miles see an ascent of 1600ft. In fact the grade of this initial climb is wonderful monderate to lull you into a sense of security. After that the remaining 9 miles are a simple ridgewalk... a simply BRUTAL ridgewalk. The descents are numerous and the ascents are STEEP.
Total Elevation Gain: 4570ft
Total Elevation Loss: 2950ft
The views are wonderful in the winter. I imagine a few would persist into the summer and full foliage. But this hike is highly recommended during seasons of leaf free trees.
Additionally there are not exits on this 12 mile hike. Consider this as injuries along the way leave you a long way from rescue. There are no cross roads.
Finally, the trail is well blazed with yellow plastic diamonds stapled to tree's. Do not mistake the numerous yellow and red pain blazes for trail markers. They are property markers.
Note the trailhead on Irish Creek Rd has moved about a 1/2 mile further up the road from that mentioned in older guides. The current trailhead features a small lot for 4 cars and a hiker sign. The trail immediately forks with the Whetstone Ridge trail bearing left.