“A nice loop in Occoneechee State Park starting from the horse parking area.”
— Maddy Hatter
Fall Colors · Lake
Note there is an entrance fee in operation.
Enter Occoneechee State Park. Turn left at the main gate and follow the park road to take the first left following signs for the horse parking area. Park in the day use area on the left hand side of horse parking area.
The trailhead for Beaver Pond Trail
is at the far left of the parking area. Follow the green blazes taking the loop to the left. Up until this point the trail is a wide track. At the sign to start the loop, the trail becomes a singletrack, often overgrown with a fair amount of blowdown. Upon closing the loop, retrace your steps to the Beaver Pond trailhead.
From here follow the Panhandle Multi-use Trail
, the trailhead for which is just past two picnic benches on the left. Follow the white blazes of the Panhandle Multi-use Trail
which starts by skirting the horse parking area and exiting by a gate and the end of the horse parking area. Take the wide horse trail to the left for about 0.5 mile.
The first signpost is marked for the Panhandle Lake Loops Trail
(sign may use a different name) on the right hand side of the trail. Take this trail to the right which loops around four inlets on singletrack before finishing at the main Panhandle Multi-use Trail
. Although the Panhandle Multi-use Trail
can be continued west to its terminus, turn left to head east, back to the horse parking area, and finishing the run.
Overall, this is an enjoyable run with much more elevation gain than you might expect for the area!
Flora & Fauna
Watch out for ticks in the spring and summer!