“A diverse trail with great views, open fields, and multiple creek crossings packed into 2.1 miles.
— Alex Waterworth
Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This trail features a variety of terrain packed into a moderately strenuous 2.3 miles. The trail changes dramatically along the way, featuring dense rhododendron tunnels, open pastures, creek crossings, small waterfalls and magnificent long range views of Grandfather Mountain.
Need to Know
Park at the Sims Pond overlook at mile post 295.7 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can also park at the Sim's Creek overlook at milepost 295.2 and take a short access trail to the main loop. Sturdy shoes/boots are a must. There are multiple creek crossings with slippery roots and rocky sections. There is a very steep 1/4-mile section around mile 2 which is treacherous when wet. Keep an eye out for bulls in the pasture.
This 2.3-mile trail is one of the best short hikes in the area. Start from the Sim's Pond overlook, with the recommended direction counter-clockwise. For the first mile or so, the trail winds around Sim's Pond and continues under the massive parkway bridge through rhododendron tunnels, several creek crossings and small waterfalls. The trail then follows the creek bed up the valley through dense foliage with lots of roots, rocks, and a few steep sections.
Around the 1.2 mile mark, the trail opens into a magnificent pasture as it winds to the top of Green Knob. The Pasture is stunning, but long range views are limited due to the surrounding trees. From here, the trail returns to the forest and descends back down to Sim's Pond with a great view of Grandfather Mountain. This stretch contains an extremely steep section that can be treacherous when wet.