DISTANCE
7.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
780 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

no dogs

backpacking
20 days ago

This was my first backpacking trip and so I might be slightly biased on the rating of 4 stars. It was a great first experience! Though, there were plenty of struggles along the way. My husband, who has been backpacking a few times before, said it was kind of a dud compared to other trips he's been on.

Pros:
*This trail isn't over traveled, especially on the week days. If you're looking to get away and be mostly alone, you won't meet too many people out there.
*There are some sites that were created for backpackers looking to stay in the back country, but you can just as easily create your own campsite and then leave no trace that you were there. One of the spaces that is created for back country camping is said to have Adirondack chairs built out of stone right along a creek that you can swim in. When you get about 2 miles in and reach the first sign on the trail, do not take the trail that goes up the hill, rather take the trail that verges away from the main trail. Not all of our group got to see this site. We camped about half a mile from there, because we didn't know about it. This would have been much preferred, if we had known about it!
*When you do get a chance to see a view of the mountains - it is gorgeous! There's a stretch where you can see the view through the trees right before you come back down the hill to the trail head.
*Wildlife - we didn't see any bears or any signs of bears. We did see a few white tail deer. We did not see any critters - raccoons, opossums, rabbits or squirrels. But there were plenty of bugs: mosquitoes, worms, millipedes, dung beetles, rhino beetles, lots of spiders (big and small), and hoverflies (flies that looks like bees). Spiderwebs on the trails were not very problematic either.

Cons:
*The dirt road to get to this trail is a little difficult in a car - it's a long dirt road, that winds up and down some pretty steep, rocky hills - but it is doable. Most people we saw back there had trucks or SUVs. You know you are starting to get close to the trail head when you have to drive across an area that flows with water. We did this in our car and we were completely fine! However, I would recommend being very careful if you're in a car and it is spring, when the waters may be much higher! There are some people who live back along the road so it appears to be pretty well-maintained. It's a beautiful drive, but definitely be careful driving over the rocks.
*Hiking this trail in the fall meant that water was fairly scarce if you didn't know where to go - as first timers, we didn't really know. Reaching a water source was very important for us and on a couple of different occasions, became a source of some concern. The places on the map where it said you should be crossing water and seeing water, did not have any water the majority of the time. These places were instead extremely rocky and sometimes very slick.
*Around the 3rd mile in, after seeing the sign that can take you to the creek, the main trail starts to climb. It is an uphill trek for what feels like an eternity and for what is really around about a mile. In terms of difficulty, when people say that this trail is moderate, I think the ratings are a bit skewed. The water crossings we did have were not bad! While crossing some of the slick, rocky areas was difficult, it was the uphill climb that made this trail difficult. Anyone seeking to do this trail, needs to know in advance that it is seriously a big heaping helping of SUCK. It's the part of the trail that makes you start to think about why you're doing what you're doing and whether or not it was a good decision to get out there and do it. That's the hill that tests your faith, endurance, and strength. BUT - if I could do it with a 35 pound pack on my back, ANYONE can do it!
*Poison Ivy was prevalent along the trail, as well as, some plants with thorns that overhang the trail.
*One of the main reasons we picked this trail is because we thought we would get to swim in a creek and see the old homesteads and cemetery. We saw some of these sites, but they really didn't end up being all that we had hoped for. It turned out that having a pack on, hiking and toughing it out with friends, setting up and tearing down camp, and just being out in nature was worth way more than the sites we had hoped to see.
*We weren't ready for the trip to end so soon. When we reached the second sign, we got a bit confused about where we were. We walked down the old horse road and ended up back at the car by surprise. We finished a day ahead of schedule. FYI there is ONLY ONE trail head. Take the trail to the right if you want your hike to continue.

There's so much more that could be said - ultimately, it was a great experience and a trail we would recommend, as long as you willing to embrace the suck that comes with the big uphill climb. It's beautiful countryside and well worth the effort and time! Enjoy!