Re: Black Forest Trail
My wife and I gave the BFT a try a few years ago. We had planned on doing it in 4 days, hiking about 12 to 13 miles the first 3 days and finish up the mileage to the car on day 4. We parked at the trail head at Slate Run Road. After about 5 miles, I had a catastrophic boot failure and had to turn around due to my feet bleeding. Turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to us on our hiking adventures because the 30% chance of rain on what would have been days 2 and 3 turned into all day downpours.
Here's what I remember doing my research and from the first 5 miles.
We had originally wanted to have Pine Creek outfitters shuttle us to the trail head so we wouldn't leave our car unattended for 3 nights. The guy at Pine Creek outfitters said he would feel safe parking his car at the trail head. Well when we parked, the first thing we noticed on the ground was shattered window glass, so that was a terrible feeling, but we decided to go ahead any way.
Doing the trail counter-clockwise, you will immediately have to ford Slate Run and then climb up a hill.
Lots of rattlesnakes were encountered once at the top of the first hill. We saw 5 total, all at rocky vistas. I had guide book warning of them, and totally forgot until I stepped onto a vista and was immediately rattled at.
From what I remember in the guidebook, towards the end of the trail (if hiked counter clockwise, so the southwest portion), the elevation rises and drops 1000 ft 5 times in 5 miles.
It was a really nice trail from what we had hiked. In a normal weather season, there seemed to be plenty of water available.
One longer trail the we successfully completed was the West Rim trail on the Pine Creek Gorge. We did that in 4 days, hiking about a mile in on the first day due to a late start. The next 2 days we did about 12 or 13 miles, and saved a short hike to Blackwell on the last day. That trail is not a loop, so you would have to shuttle cars. I enjoyed that trip a lot. There are many campsites overlooking the canyon rim. Plenty of water opportunities as well. There aren't a ton of drastic elevation changes, but there's enough to make it challenging. I believe my GPS had about 4500 ft of ascent for the whole trip.