“A short, easy, family-friendly stroll through mixed forest with historical buildings, rock houses, and a waterfall.”
— Mike Plaster
Features: Birding — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Family Friendly: Ease of use, short length, and featuring a variety of life, this is an excellent route.
The Oscar Blevins Trail starts out a stones throw from the BSFNRA Visitor Center. Exiting the paved parking area complete with restrooms (closed in the off-season) the trail is clearly marked. There is a brochure box with a Blevins Loop Guide available should you like to make a 3.6 mile loop out of the trail. The guide has numbered points of interest that correspond to numbered posts along the trail. The loop uses the Oscar Blevins Trail as a return route.
Taking the Blevins Trail you'll parallel the road for a short distance before dropping into a more secluded mixed hardwood/pine/hemlock forest. The damage from the Woolly Adelgid, and probably some from the Pine Bark Beetle, is ever present on this trail. Some very grand old trees have been absolutely destroyed and are in an advanced process of decay. Many young trees have sprung up in their place and are competing for the light let through the canopy by the hole left from these massive trees' demise. In fact, the loss of these trees has opened up this area of woodland to a much greater variety of life than would have been present before. Large stretches of a huge variety of moss, a potpourri of saplings and scrub, and the few survivors of the infestations are situated side by side repeatedly. There are also stretches of deeply shaded, seemingly unaffected woodland.
The trail emerges from the forest and terminates at the Blevins homestead. Rolling pasture, log buildings, horses, fence rows, and a 1950's Cumberland style house give you a greatly contrasted view as you emerge from the woods. To make a loop from this point simply go left and follow the signs to the campground. There you'll find rock houses and waterfalls, the signature sights for this area, that we're missing from the Blevins Trail.
If high adventure or jaw dropping views are what you are looking for this is not the trail you should choose. If, however, you want a very friendly trail, gentle hike, or find interest in the understated beauty of a forest in renewal; this is a nice choice.
Flora & Fauna
The plant variety is superb on this trail. When I went I saw only birds and one hawk but, because of the variety of landscapes and plant life, I believe there is an opportunity to see every animal that makes it's home here; from rodents and deer to bobcats and bear.