Features: Lake — River/Creek — Wildflowers
Sal's Branch Trail starts at the visitor center from the Crabtree Creek entrance to the park (US-70). The trail leads down to the gravel parking lot behind the park office and then heads into the woods. You'll follow along the small stream for which the trail is named, but unless it has rained recently, there isn't usually much water. In about a half-mile from the start, a spur trail splits and goes right towards the family campground.
After this point, the trail loops around and starts heading towards the south. Although there are some minor ups and downs, the elevation change on this trail is minimal, making it a good option for all ability and fitness levels. The trail crosses a service road and soon you should be able to get glimpses of Big Lake through the trees.
Eventually, the trail comes out of the woods at a powerline clearing near the boat house. Turn left to head back into the woods and follow the trail back to the start. The trail crosses the service road once more, and you should be able to see and hear vehicles on Umstead Parkway not far to the east of the trail. At the end the trail comes out at the gravel parking lot below the visitor center. Look for blazes across the parking lot and pick the trail back up to return to the visitor center.