DISTANCE
7.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,620 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

1 month ago

I love the remote Middle Prong Wilderness, but this trail loop is tough! I hiked in from 215 and camped overnight on the Green Mountain trail. I headed down MST to start this loop the following morning, going counter-clockwise: Buckeye then Haywood.
Being the end of wet April, the trails were incredibly muddy! This made the steep decline on Buckeye quite harrowing. The trails are unmarked but not too hard to follow minus a couple river crossings along Haywood. The stream crossings required shoes off, and I ended up almost thigh deep at one point. Rocks were to slippery to try stepping on. After my second stream crossing on Haywood, I tied my shoes to my hiking pack and walked the rest of the trail barefoot. As the trail continued to be dangerously muddy, this was a great switch up! Do be mindful about the stream crossings, as they aren't 100% intuitive. I relied on my trail map to determine when I should be crossing.
I would not attempt this trail in low visibility, and I would recommend trying it when there's been a dry spell. I only met one person along the trail loop all day, and he was on the MST, so be mindful of your surroundings and be careful with navigation. There is no phone or internet service, so a map is a must!!
I enjoyed hiking barefoot, but this trail was tough-going and without views. it was a great workout but probably a trail loop I wouldn't do again.