Explore the most popular hiking trails in Lusk Creek Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Gorgeous hike, love the stream and rock formations, but I second those who say it shouldn't be listed as a loop. Once you pass the cave, the trail goes another direction and does not continue as a loop. We had to trailblaze our way back in an attempt to find the rest of the loop, even while following our blue dot on the supposed map on my phone.

I definitely echo other reviews that you should consider this an out-and-back and not a loop. The Secret Canyon is a good destination spot for lunch or just to see, or you can hike a bit further if you want to get more miles in. Parking at the trailhead is non-existent (we just pulled off the road as much as we could). Also, the trail is not marked with markers, so you kind of have to follow where the horses have walked. If I had more time, I would have tried to make a loop out of it and tried to find the trail that joined back up where I started.

Great trail! So many views, so many bluffs, so many rock formations, wonderful small waterfalls and a fun trail. The trail is very long if u plan in seeing everything. Horseback riders also used this trail. Fun trail to walk and will return to c more and have more daylight.

Beautiful trail! Be prepared to cross two creeks with no bridges, the “natural creek” was first and easier to cross with rocks but the second one was much harder and we all got wet making the last couple miles difficult. The trail also quit being well marked after this creek. Beautiful and worth it, just wear water proof boots! Also, recommend not going the day after rain, it’s super mucky!

Trail is very well laid out. No special scenic areas, just a nice walk through old growth forest.

We have hiked and backpacked there several times over the years and it is still one of my favorite places.

4 months ago

Absolutely beautiful place, quiet and peaceful.

The trail needs more markers. And I left covered in seed ticks. But the terrain was beautiful. Excellent workout.

Same as everyone else has stated, the trek down can be rugged and boring, but the ending is worth it.

7 months ago

The trail was easy and there were a few pretty sights but I think it would be much more fun to ride horses out here than it would be to hike. The trail is a muddy mess from the horses so if you plan on hiking be prepared to get dirty!
My friend and I hiked about 11 miles total, we just followed the trail for several hours and then turned around. Bring plenty of water and lots of snacks!
If you’re looking for the Lusk Creek trail that takes you to the water at the bottom of the bluffs you need to take the Indian Kitchen trail that is near the old gas station instead of this one.

The hike to the creek is a little rough and somewhat boring. The trail would be pretty easy, but it is torn up and extremely muddy from the horses. Wear boots and bring an extra pair of shoes for the ride home unless you want your car to be a complete disaster and smell like horse poop.
The views of the canyon and the water make the trip totally worth it! Be sure to use the app while hiking to make sure you stay on the correct trail!

8 months ago

This trail is also frequented by horses... so extremely muddy. Nice views.

10 months ago

This was an awesome trail. Hiked it 2/27. The trail is really easy to follow for the most part. There are a few tricky spots though. I highly recommend picking up the friends of the Shawnee map before hiking this. I took trail 481 to 483 to 457, crossed at the Bowed Tree Crossing and followed trail 001 (River to River trail) to Owl Bluff. After stopping at Owl Bluff, I continued on trail 001. The track on this app does not stay on 001. It looks like they cut through the woods to trail 490. I stayed on 001 until it meets 490. However, trail 490 was very hard to spot from the river to river trail. It’s the only trail intersection I encountered that didn’t have a sign and it kind of looked like an animal trail at first. I passed right by it but I was able to notice so on the map. Once I backtracked a little and found 490, I followed it to 457 and then 486 to Saltpeter Cave. I then followed 481 back to my car. My GPS said it was 9.2 miles with 1000 feet of ascent. It took me about 5 hours so bring water and snacks, but don’t litter! I filled a grocery bag up with trash on my hike. Owl Bluff and Saltpeter Cave were the highlights, but the whole area is filled with beautiful views of Lusk Creek and many ephemeral streams that feed it.

I go here just about every other week and of you go in near Frank's tract, the path is marked well and there are wooden signs to guide you. awesome hike. after secret canyon I suggest following trail 457 to trail 481 and you can see saltpeter cave on your way back

11 months ago

I go here just about every other week and the path is marked well and there are wooden signs to guide you. awesome hike

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Not marked, could not complete it because the trail just stopped and could not follow GPS.

The actual hike down to the creek is pretty boring, but totally worth it when you get to the creek. Bring a fishing rod if you want to fish. I caught a 4 pound bass in a deep pool off of the canyon wall. Amazing scenery and the water is nice and clean to swim in.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Lusk Creek Wilderness is a beautiful and magical place and would easily get 5 stars — except for the horses. Eff the horses.

The below detailed equestrian issues aside, we had a good time. We backpacked three days/two nights. Info on good spots to pitch a tent are difficult to come across online, but with some exploring, we found a couple nice rock sheltered sites with existing fire rings (photo geo located on the map) that kept us dry in the storms. We saw a lot of fish down at Indian Kitchen but didn't have any luck catching supper. I'd be up for exploring the area more, but only during a dry period where the trails may be a little more passable...

You know how mountain bikers have an unwritten rule to not use trails when wet? Horse trail riders have no such rule, and the trail system is a decimated mucky mess of ankle deep manure infused sludge. Even the little work arounds that hikers have tried to create have also taken over by horse tracks. Many of the riders seemed to have an attitude of "this place is for horses, why are you here?" This was evident each time they'd act all upset that their horse was skittish of people walking on foot. A woman on horse back even yelled at us in bad word language while we were trying to cook breakfast (I guess a tent and small fire was too much for her horse to handle as she had to get off and walk the frightened animal past us, making it clear how we'd inconvenienced her).

That said, there were a couple friendly riders, but they were few compared to the rebel-flag-wearing loud obnoxious fireball-drinking self entitled trail ruining horsie riders.

Additionally, the trails are poorly marked. Inconsistent to non existent blazes coupled with riders making their own trails wherever they please can make navigating tricky, even with a compass and map.

Markers for trail were not very good. We got lost & hiked for 5 hours because the markers kept sending us in the wrong place. If you go to this trail, go to the water & then turn around, secret canyon is when the trails start getting sketchy with markers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sunday, April 02, 2017

gorgeous trail and waterfall; however, I'm not sure how it's a loop. Recommend going to the water and Turning around!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

worth the hike, beautiful!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Went there last fall, it is worth the hike!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Good hike but really meant for horses.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More of a horse trail and it's a long walk for an "cave" overhang.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Although this trail starts out easy through pine stands and old farmstead roads, the Indian Gardens and Lusk Creek Nature makes it worth the hike. This hike, out and back, can also extend to numerous other trails throughout the Lusk Creek Wilderness area. It offers great overnight backpacking opportunities.

1 month ago

2 months ago

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