Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This is a mostly well-maintained trail that will take you over a dam, traverse a spillway, across a swinging bridge, and through a pioneer village. There are numerous, excellent views of the lake.
Need to Know
Take the side trail before you cross the swinging bridge to see Horseshoe Falls. Watch for poison ivy between Pioneer Village and abandoned Lukens Rd.; that section gets overgrown.
Park at the visitors center on Clarksville Rd. for warm, clean restrooms open year round. There are restrooms every few miles along the trail, but they are closed in the winter, except for a vault-type at Furnas Shores boat ramp.
From the visitors center, follow Clarksville Rd. across the dam. Enter Flat Fork Recreation Area and follow the trail along the shoreline. You'll end up on the spillway. Cross the spillway and reenter the trail, which will take you to the top of the gorge. Follow this trail for a while and you'll cross the swinging bridge. After the bridge continue on the trail, which will eventually dump you out by Wellman Meadows picnic ground. Cross the street to reenter the trail and follow until you reach Pioneer Village. Follow the circle gravel driveway around to reenter the trail across the main road. You'll be dropped onto an abandoned road, which you follow until just before you end up in the lake. Follow this trail until you cross the bridge at Crawdad Falls. After the falls, you'll enter the Fifty Springs camp area.
You'll exit the Fifty Springs area and cross over the Route 73 bridge. It is usually pretty busy with traffic moving at high speed. However, the shoulder is very wide, so the only concern you should have is roadkill. Once you are on the other side of the bridge, you'll need to hop the guardrail to get back on the trail. Look for the painted markings and streamers.
After you have re-entered the trail, you'll follow it to the Furnas Shores boat ramp. Take the ramp up to the main access road. The trail re-enters the woods across the road from the restroom.
The remaining trail is rolling and takes you into several valleys and along some sweepers above the lake shore. Travel across the parking lot for Hopewell Lodge and back into the woods. This section has some of the most technical trail of the run. At one point you'll dump out onto another abandoned road; follow the arrows painted on the pavement. This is the home stretch and after a creek crossing, you'll be back at the visitors center. If you need to cool down and stretch, there is a nice overlook trail nearby.
Shared By: Rich Muskopf