Enjoyable stroll around the lake - easy walk with no notable changes in elevation. Not the most scenic trail and narrow in spots but clearly marked and quiet even on the weekends. Good for dogs who can get water from nearly every point on the trail.
Janet K. on Byrd Lake and Pioneer Short Loop Tr...
I only covered a small section but it was gorgeous! The bridge beauty contrasts the natural beauty of the woods and water.
Steep ascent from the Grassy Cove trailhead, but beautiful scenery of valleys below (winter viewing) upon arrival at the top. While trail is blazed (white), trail splits and intersections with nearby private property boundaries are not well marked or posted.
The Pioneer Loop was a very enjoyable hike. It was very quite and serene. The trail was beautiful, but there were no amazing views. Of course, in late October the trees were amazing. Most of the hike was close to the water. The first part of the trail has many roots and rocks. We will hike again.
Nice, scenic trail around Byrd Lake and its tributary streams. I would rate this moderate, rather than easy because of the roughness of the trails. They are really well maintained, but they have lots of twisty roots and rocks throughout the trail. That's part of what makes it fun, but if someone sees "Easy" and starts out in street shoes and thinks it will be like walking a city sidewalk, they would be mistaken. With that caveat, loved this hike. We went the whole 6+ miles, but the short loop cuts the hike pretty much in half, so if you are fading or this was not the easy jaunt you expected you can loop back (crossing the maybe 100 foot swinging bridge) or you can turn around and enjoy the hike back overlooking the lake. Didn't see any wildlife except for the ubiquitous squirrels and several Mallard ducks. Great fall colors and temps in low 70s made for a great few hours.
A quick note: There is no entry or use fee for Cumberland Mountain State Park. These trails are well maintained and very well marked with different color slash marks for the different trails.
This was quite an easy trail, but take note of reviewers' comments about ankle twisters. If you have a tendency to sprained ankles best hike wearing high tops. The rocks and roots don't detract from the scenery; just be careful. The view of the dam/bridge from below is fantastic and well worth the short, steep climb. Fall colors were showing off with a nice sunshiny day and temps about 70 degrees. I hike with forearm crutches and did not find the trail difficult. My phone malfunctioned so I couldn't record yesterday's hike, but we are doing a different hike at Cumberland Mountain State Park today and will get this one.
Hiked the short loop section of the trail with the kids. The side of the trail on the restaurant-side of the lake is very narrow and grown in and not much to see. After crossing the suspension bridge, the opposite side is fantastic with lots of places for the kids to explore and climb and several small waterfalls.
It is a 5.55 round trip if you do the Pioneer regular trail, but only 2 miles if you do the Short loop. The Long loop is spectacular if you have the time to go on it. The trail takes you to a beautiful, almost 100 year old stone arch single bridge (Deep Draw) and to many caves/ bluffs that could have once housed Native Americans. It also takes you to "Fat Man's Squeeze" which is a pretty interesting rock formation. On the way back, do not cross back over the swinging bridge but keep going on the trail, and you will pass beautiful creeks and a mini-waterfall if the water is at a good level. Trail is perfect for dogs!