Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Historical Significance · River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers
Need to Know
-Wear blaze orange during deer and turkey hunting seasons.
-There is no potable water along the trail, so bring your own or be prepared to filter from several substantial creeks.
-This is a multi-use trail.
-Horses have the right-of-way, mountain bikes yield to foot-traffic.
-Ticks are abundant during warm months so defend yourself accordingly.
From German Ridge Road, turn west onto the gravel road entering the recreation area. Hold left at the fork and head toward the campground. A day-use parking area is on the north side of the road just before the campground loop. There is an informational kiosk on the east side of the parking area with a trail map and other important information. (Another trailhead parking area exists on the north side of the loop off of Gerald Road.)
Along this trail, you'll see a variety of forest management techniques, rock outcroppings that are more visible in the winter, remnants of old farmsteads, several creeks with water cascading over rocks, and a small waterfall.
The trail system is nicely laid out in a ladder system, so users can make shorter or longer loops through the recreation area. The outer loop as mapped here is marked with blue diamond blazes, and three connector trails are marked in orange diamonds. Notice there are some very challenging hills in the trail profile, but luckily they are spaced out well to give your legs a break between climbs. Most of the big hills have some switchbacks to ease the gradient, but you'll occasionally wish there were more.
This is a multi-use trail that is popular with horseback riders and less popular for mountain biking. As a result of the horse traffic, expect soft spots in trails to be chewed up, but they can usually be bypassed on foot. The trail surface varies significantly. Portions of the trail are sprinkled with gravel to stabilize the mud or control erosion, and some sections use service roads, but it's nearly all covered by the tree canopy. Roughly 85% of the trail is in decent shape, and the other 15% can be quite muddy absent a drought or badly rutted. Some of the creek crossings can be challenging to find dry footing, but if major rains haven't occurred within a few days, its possible to stay dry if you can find suitable rocks to hop across. If you wear a decent pair of waterproof boots/shoes you can get through the whole trail with few problems.
Although backcountry camping is allowed, there are only a few noticeable locations frequented by backcountry campers. The most apparent is near the giant bolder alongside the creek about 5.3 miles from the trailhead. The established campground is another option for camping, and is popular with horsemen.
The trail basically ends at the campground, and this route returns to the start via the gravel road, but check out the side trails near the parking area!
Shared By: Chris W