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Trails were iced over so it was very slippery. It is a beautiful trail but I had to quit right before the waterfall because I was terrified of the iced terrain where the path was thin and a fall would have been deadly. As it was I fell 3 times. Was really disappointed to not get to the waterfall but I felt it was not safe for me to go further.

Hard trail but my 11 year old son is always in front of me while I catch my breath. Once in the creek views are amazing. Walking sticks and back for a day hike with plenty of water.

Vanhook Falls trail along Pounder Branch is one of the most incredible and scenic trails in the state. This trail allows the hiker to see numerous waterfalls and walk a mostly level and easy to moderate trail. Vanhook Falls is a beautiful destination at around two and a half miles but beautiful cascades and waterfalls are abundant. I have taken this trip a half dozen times in the past couple of years and I never grow tired of the beauty. For a great display of water go in the winter or spring or after a good summer rain.

couple on small waterfalls rock formations along the way to the suspension bridge .well marked trail

great trail very well marked

15 days ago

Dog and I did 9-10 miles on the trail plus Sheltowee 100. Yesterday was sunny, 50s and beautiful. relatively dry aside from wet mud near water sources. Trail is wonderfully maintained. Thanks to all the volunteers yesterday who were keeping it so awesome.

After a rain it was very muddy, but worth it! We had to go off trail a little to get around the mud. Several creek crossings and lots of little waterfalls along the way. Even with the government shutdown, the trail was clean. I was impressed with how green everything was in January! Seemed to be more like 3 -3.5 miles in. A beautiful trail for a variety of sights and challenges.

Orange trail can be really muddy and slippery. Come with water resistant boots, spare pair of shoes, and prepared to fall.

two great falls... one clearly marked, the other is a more rustic trail. you can simply walk the stream to get to the other. wear waterproof boots!

This is a beautiful hike! Like others, recommend going after a good rain, but be prepared for lots of mud! Lots of waterfalls to see along the trail before getting to the main one. When you get to it, there is a bench for viewing. You can go below the stairs to reach the waterfall itself and go behind it! If you get to the bench and go to the top of the stairs, it continues along a trail and to another creek crossing. At that point I stopped and turned around, cause I did not know where that trail led and I have a terrible track record of getting lost haha. I brought my dog and saw several other people with theirs also. Trail is not clearly marked, but a path is worn down. Just make sure to keep close to it, if not, follow the creek!

Great hike and more difficult than you would think. The miles on the rocky creek bed get you going and then there is a monster climb out after you hit the falls!

The buckeye trail near the start was great, and brandywine falls was very impressive, but this route itself was only mediocre.

If you look on a satellite view, you'll realize it routes you directly through the Boston mills ski resort. During the winter this was seemingly impossible, and during the other seasons, it seems to me that it would be trespassing. Perhaps I'm missing something? We ended up doing the buckeye trail side of this first loop both ways, and it was the best hiking of the trip.

The next leg is on the canal path trail, a nice easy walking path. Or the other side of the loop was the bridle trail; this went through some flooded low land, and we ended up turning back and walking along the road.

The final loop was at brandywine falls. The falls were quite impressive, but the trail was very crowded, and we were here in the off season.

We got a good 8.5 miles in, but much of it was on walking paths or along side roads.

We did this hike yesterday, after some heavy rain the previous day. From the Bison trailhead the terrain is very muddy. Tall hiking boots and trekking poles will help from falling into the mud, although we didn’t have trekking poles. My wife did fall in once, and I nearly did too several times. Would be good to bring an extra set of clothes and shoes for the ride home, as well as bandana to wipe any mud off from a fall.

Once up the trail, the junction to go up towards to the Indian staircase is not marked at all. We relied on GPS to find it, and other visitors were telling us to go the wrong directions at the Y. From here, elevation increases quickly, first on dirt, then it turns to a stone and tree root split between large boulders where you have to scramble. There are no markings, so use GPS. Next section is a series of different levels of sandstone. There are multiple ways to get from one level to the next, so pick the easiest sure footed way up.

Next is the Indian staircase. If you have never been to the Indian staircase and do not rock climb, it is intimidating. We watched several people go up before we attempted. I wish we had rope as extra security from a misstep. The climb is potentially deadly (do some searches on red river gorge fatalities) so I would suggest not attempting if conditions are wet, snowy, or windy. Take your time and spot your hands and feet deliberately and carefully. We had overnight packs which made it considerably harder (could not lift our heads with the frame of the pack above our necks). The very top of the staircase has the last level of sandstone to get up. Use the small tree at the top to lift you up and slide your butt onto the top level. We saw various people struggle with this. My wife has a little trouble but not as much as some we saw.

Once on the ridge at the top, I thought the hike was physically easy but there are other challenges. Signage and junctions are not well marked. The cliffs are SHEAR drop offs and are everywhere. There are beautiful natural arches which are also a hazard. Watch where you are going, don’t take stupid selfies, and stay away from the cliffs. Also, be mindful of the sunset time. Most deadly accidents in the park seem to involve darkness, inexperience, drugs, and alcohol.

Overall this was one of the most rewarding hikes I’ve had in a while, highly recommended. Come prepared with GPS, battery backups if you are using your phone for navigation. We got lost several times and nearly ran out of battery %. With maps and conserving our batteries, we made it out okay. I do not suggest attempting Indian staircase with a dog or small children.

on Ledges Trail

hiking
17 days ago

Love this trail! Visited after Christmas, during the government shutdown. Very popular trail, the parking lot was crowded on a cold day and I encountered probably 15 other hikers on the trail itself. The ledges are stunning and the trail runs both above and below them. The scenic overlook is beautiful. The trail is hilly and rocky in a few places. Even with recent rain and melted snow, the trail was not muddy. I did see people exploring off trail and climbing on and in the ledges, even though signs advise against it. Connects to other area trails as well.

I started out at the lodge (there's a connector trail from there). This trail will show you most of what Carter Caves SP has to offer. Rock bridges, waterfalls, rock formations, lakeside paths, suspension bridges, streams etc. It's all beautiful and will not disappoint. It rained the night before so things were pretty muddy. This trail is on the hard side of moderate; many stream crossings and a decent amount of rock hopping. I wouldn't take small kiddos out on it. Elevation-wise however, it's not bad. There's a tough crossing at the dam when the water's high so be careful. I have a photo of it on my recording. Total length was about 9 miles and you'll want to give yourself at least 6 hours to complete it. A fantastic all day hike if you take in the sights.

Very good trail, you can run, hike, backpack, and fish. Friendly people go here, have never had a bad experience here.
Also I take my dogs with me all the time.

Great winter hike, a little slippery but still great! Hiked all the way to the Buttermilk Falls.

Hard to get to. Easy hike.

Love this hike in the summer. Lots of little waterfalls and water holes. Definitely recommend going after rain.

I live near the area so I've done this hike a few times. I usually go on a weekday and take my dog, not a lot of traffic but I'd suspect in the summer on a weekend, it could be crowded. Lots of scenery along the way, perfect for a quick hike to get out and enjoy the scenery.

Overall is a good trail. Very slippery if is raining. Lots of tree cover. Nice rock formations

Great hike to a beautiful waterfall. A number of stream crossings, bridges and rockcastles to enjoy.

We loved the trail. Very easy. Seen waterfalls, and the sensory was beautiful. Yes we will be going back.

Very difficult but so beautiful! You do have to return on the same trail.

hiking
24 days ago

A great trail, fun for the whole family, including dogs! We took the time to explore off of the trail and do some scrambling in between cracks in the ledges.

Pretty and diverse trail. Varied landscape.

Beautiful waterfall and scenery!

hell of a hike. didn’t realize it was that difficult but me, wife and our 2 year old son did it. I was amazed by him

hiking
25 days ago

Our family really enjoyed this walk. Absolutely beautiful scenery and the seven and nine year olds loved climbing and adventuring!

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