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horseback riding
13 hours ago

Great trails. Clearly marked

backpacking
2 days ago

Butterfield Hiking Trail 10-11 Nov 2018

Hiked the BHT clockwise doing an overnight. Weather was great with lows in the high 20s and highs in the mid 40s. No bugs, snakes or ticks. Foliage was about a week or two past peak.
Prep: No specific prep for this hike.
Hike: This hike is could be moderate or could be strenuous depending on how you hike and your experience level. The trail is generally easy to follow with sufficient blazes. Follow the natural line of drift and you shouldn't go too far off the trail. The only potential issue is where you may end up on another trail that crosses the BHT. If that's the case and you stop seeing the blazes retrace your steps and you'll be fine. There are mile markers, but while useful for landmarks, I would not take the actual distance as gospel. You will go 35 minutes to cover a mile while and with similar terrain and pace the next mile will be 15 minutes. There are some places where the trail is rocky, not as in you climb up rocks but a bunch of brick sized rocks littering the ground. Throw in the leaves covering the trail and this could be tough if you have knees or ankles that susceptible to being tweaked. I didn't use poles but some in my party really needed them to avoid bodily damage.

You need to stop by the visitor center and they will log you in and give you a parking pass for your car if you are overnighting. They will give you a copy of a sketch map and talk through any nonintuitive areas of the trail (get to the start, and the finish). With the map and a simple compass you are set as the trail is fundamentally a box bounded by two creeks. Once you start there is a some incline as you head up the ridgeline until about mile 2.5. You run the highground for a while and then by about mile 5 you are back by the creek. Once you pass mile 7 the trail becomes covered with the brick sized rocks. I edged up to the west (up the slope a bit) to see if conditions improved but they didn't. Around mile 9.5 the trail goes up and there is one chute of about 20m where you need to use your hands (about mile 10) but I wouldn't really call it a scramble. Then the trail rides the ridgeline. A little past mile 13 you have a downslope that gets you down the ridge and then you are at the creek. There is caution tape where the trail is closed by slide. Go about 50m left (as you face the creek) and there are some rocks where you can cross. If the water level is higher I could see getting your feet wet. After that another .5 mile and you are back at the parking lot.

Camping Sites: The great thing about this park is that there are primitive camp sites sprinkled throughout. Some are set along the creeks and some are in the higher ground. There are good concentrations about mile 5 and mile 9.5 (Junction Creek). We stayed at Junction Creek. It sits about 400m off of the main trail and the intersection to the trail that leads to it is marked. Previous campers have made 7-8 fire circles, stone furniture etc and there was plenty of deadfall to make a nice fire. About 5 groups ended up camping in the area. If you are looking for complete privacy JC isn't the place for you (at least on a weekend).

Gear: Standard overnight gear. Some reviews reported water resupply was an issue but you are near creeks for a lot of the route and the water levels looked good at this time of year. I used about 3l including camp stuff and rehydrating meals.

Additional notes: Check and see when hunting season is. We found out it was going on when we checked in. The visitor center will give you a flourescent vest to throw on your pack but the savvy folks brought a blaze hat or something similar. A lot of the trail in in the Forest where hunting is permitted and not the park . While we did not see any hunters you can hear them shooting fairly often so you know they are there.

There are some caves in the park but currently they are closed due to some disease that the bats are getting. If caving is your thing call the park for updates.

Overall a good hike with great camping opportunities.

hiking
6 days ago

The trail is OK at the best. We got there on Nov 7 and it was 2-3 weeks too late. Leaves are mostly down and it made very rocky trail even less pleasant. But if leaves would be still there - the view has nothing unique or breathtaking about it. If you are going to walk it make sure to give yourself plenty of time especially now, when at 5 pm it is already very dusky and at 6 pm is very dark! If you'll walk it clockwise, decent is very rough and rocky. Makes very unhappy ankles. Very short distance after beginning of decent trail crosses a road. Walk it down till you get to a point of re-entry to the trail. Your ankles and your back will thank you.
Keep in mind that there is no phone/internet service at the trailhead and on most of the trail. LTE was at the top and in a few places on the east side of the trail.

very enjoyable and great overnight trail.

Very well marked. Hope to do an overnight soon and visit the entire trail.

Trailhead was a dump site. Trail marked very poorly. Trash along whole part of trail I hiked. By far the worst kept trail I've used in the National Forest between here and Wyoming. I'd be embarrassed to be the Natural Resource Specialist in charge of that...

We loved this hike, it was challenging!

What an amazing adventure! We had a small group. Amicalola to Unicoi Gap during Hurricane Micheal. Loved ever hard minute of it. Can’t wait to get back out.

very fun hike. started at white rock abbs went down to shores lake. lots of steep narrow ridges. it's a tough hike but my 6 year old boy made it.

backpacking
22 days ago

A good trail with rewarding views at the top. You must put forth an effort to see the views, but that’s why we hike, right? Once you’re at the top make sure to check out the rim trail with great views all around. Rocks here are covered with beautiful, vibrant moss a lichen. There is also a water spigot at the top with clean water if you want to fill up. Do not camp at the top if you are backpacking.

backpacking
22 days ago

A nice walk in the woods. Some nice elevation changes that will get your heart pumping. The highlight of this trail are the fantastic camping spots by the creek. Several have pre-made chairs made from rocks with good back support. The trail has nice rock formations with moss and lichen: typical Ozarks.

A really nice hike. Many great views, the water level is high as a result of the recent rain, but the trail has held up pretty well, waterproof hiking boots helped

Rewarding views around every turn! I started on the southern loop on day 2 but it was an exhausting series of switchbacks so I went back and explored the northern section again. Has everything! Towering bluffs, gurgling creek, plenty of camping spots, 200’ cliff/waterfall (if running). Even a creepy old cabin. Lots of hikers and horses on the northern section but it didn’t feel crowded. Peaceful, serene. I’d go every weekend if I could. Trail was poorly marked in several crucial areas. Expect to cross the river several times.

Hike of a lifetime! My best backpacking experience so far.
We didn't resupply during our trip and it made the first few days extremely difficult, until our packs got a bit lighter - think about it twice before you commit to the fully autonomous mode! Also make sure you have a plan B in case your water filter breaks on day 2... but we were lucky and none of us got sick even after drinking unfiltered water from rivers and lakes for two weeks.

Fun over nighter!

Check out our trip video at Trail Perspective on YouTube:
https://youtu.be/EyCEu-icxrw
& https://youtu.be/GLPpZOIsYAg

Did a section of the JMT from Happy Isles to Rush Creek (Near Reds Meadow) in September. Crazy gorgeous section of the trail, wish we could've had the time to go all the way to Whitney. My favorite part of this section was the last part of Donahue Pass to Thousand Island Lake.

backpacking
1 month ago

This is one of my favorite conditioning hikes to do in the early Fall. I completed it for the 5th time this past weekend. I hike the West side loop and come down the East side. I usually hike past the East side spur trail down the OHT a little further and camp next to Salt Fork Creek making this a wonderful overnighter. The first day you will hike along White Rock Creek which has a beautiful water fall and the 2nd day you will be hiking along Salt Fork Creek although you won't see it much. Be prepared for a lot of ascending on the first day. It's a real good workout! Thanks to the OHTA, too, this past weekend. They had done lots of underbrush weed-whacking so the trail was clear.

backpacking
1 month ago

The trail is a little tough to follow in the fall with leaves on the ground but a pretty easy hike and nice rolling hills. Clear Springs Campground is a hidden gem. Very nice.

I did this trail in August with my best friend and it was awesome! It was hard of course, but the weather was almost perfect the whole time. There were a couple rain/hail storms but that was about it. Mosquitos only bothered us a few times, and it wasn't that bad. We did 21 days with three resupplies at Red's Meadow, Muir Trail Ranch, and Independence. Muir Trail Ranch was a disappointment with no services other than picking up our buckets, and we realized later that we should have done Vermillion Valley instead as many hikers said they had an awesome experience.

This was my first ever over night. It was a fantastic 2 days on the trail. beautiful scenery and a great trail to test your skills! Can't wait to do it again.

trail running
1 month ago

Awesome trail, marathon training right now and just did 14 miles on this today. Whooped my butt! Sand hilly path through beautiful forest. From ft Polk get on hwy 117 towards natchitoches, turn off at right before the ranger station and go to the Lotus campground (you can google and go right to that campground) that campground has bathrooms available and the trail entrance is right there. Horses, dogs and atvs allowed. Have fun!

This was a short hike with a bushwhack to the summit of Cowpen Mountain and back. Long forest/service road drive to the trailhead at Three Forks Mountain. Still smells like fire in this area of the woods. Also, the bow hunters are out so be careful! I hiked East Cowpen Trail to the backside (north) of Cowpen Mtn where the ridge line comes down to the trail. At that point I turned back south and bushwhacked the ridge to the summit. Encountered only briers which were easy enough to go around or through. Pile of rocks is all there is to the summit. No views. From there I headed almost due East back to the trail and from there to the trailhead.

I do not recommend this trail. The trail conditions were poor, views where blocked by overgrowth, and dead standing trees and no blaze make this a dangerous track. My 12yr old daughter did complete it with us, but I highly don't recommend it for kids less than 4ft, because the overgrowth is that high.

backpacking
2 months ago

Did this hike in early September. Started around 15:30, hiked in clockwise 3 miles before setting up camp. Most of the water is on this side of the trail, plan accordingly--top off before you begin the ascent. We set out at 7:00 the following morning and made it to the top at 9:00. There is a rim trail at the top that is not included in the 12.7 total, we spend about 90 minutes at the top. If you bring cash there is a general store. The hike down is fairly uneventful, just be mindful of where the OHT branches off--follow the blue blazes. For us most of the water was dried up on this side. Finished up at 14:00. If you have done your math correctly you can see that this hike can very well be done in one day; just start in the morning. The entire hike is very scenic and the view from the top of White Rock mountain is one of the best there is in the Ozarks. I definitely recommend. On a side note, there were a ridiculous amount of stick bugs and horse flies on this hike. Also, things we're INCREDIBLY overgrown this time of year--lots of bushwhacking.

backpacking
2 months ago

A friend and I did this hike in two days over Labor Day weekend. Definitely a challenge if you pack in your water (which I suggest since there isn’t a lot of water on the trail). Plus, the trail markers are a bit hard to follow at certain points. Between miles 6 and 8, pay attention. I went off a few times following a four wheeler trail. The last mile there’s a Galen tree and a landslide, but hopefully they fix that soon. Fun adventure!

I always use a short section of this trail for an out and back day hike along Lee Creek. Starting from the parking lot across from the pedestrian bridge I hike in along the left side of the creek on the BHT. Yesterday I discovered that a HUGE section of the trail has collapsed in to the creek and is impassable. We had to scramble down the side of the mud and hike downstream a bit to pick up the horse trails on the other side of the creek and made our way back to the car via the Lake trail from the RV camp ground. I never check in at the office because I am not backpacking overnight but I will next time. Be careful!

hiked this over a 2 day period to relax and have some fun on the trail. highly recommend starting at the parking lot at the back of the State Park and head in a CW direction. great camping out on the trail around mile 5-5.5.

backpacking
2 months ago

Good views at the waterfall and summit, and plenty of good campsites along the way. Trail is quite overgrown in places, and water crossings on the West loop are often marked poorly or not at all

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