Features: Birding — River/Creek
The biggest difficulty was finding the trail. The easiest access point to this 4.7 mile section is from the southern terminus. There is parking on the north side of the road, just after turning past Snowy Mountain Rd, while staying on 233. Look for a sign on the north side of the road (about 200 after right turn) with directions to the AT and Raccoon Run Trail
. The trees are marked with blue blazes.
The trail begins with a slightly rocky start before crossing over to the east side of 233, where it remains for this entire section. After crossing 233, expect another crossing over the Rocky Mountain Creek. The bridge is in good condition and did not show any signs of aging. A quick left turn after the bridge, and you'll begin the main leg of the trail moving northward, following 233.
The trail has some slight gains and losses of elevation with nothing more than 3-5% for the first few miles. This is a great warm up section if you plan on running the length of the trail and back. We did this trail on February 13 and conditions here were sometimes not ideal. Certain areas were a little flooded (no higher than the ankle) due to snowmelt.
After crossing one logging road, a second road crossing is needed. The trail picks up on other corner of the bridge. The last mile of the trail was the most difficult. There can be icy conditions due to being on the shaded side of the mountain among lots of evergreen trees. Here, runners will encounter the biggest changes in elevation.