This is a hilly hike through singletrack and doubletrack. The large downhill in the middle will give a nice time to this ~5k hike.
Some people elect to cross the creek instead of taking the bridge; it really depends on water level at the time though. There is one set of rocks that are large enough to cross on.
Starting at the Burnt Hickory Parking Lot, follow the gravel/dirt trail down the first gradual hill, and then up a short, steeper hill. Take a right at the first trail indicator to follow the North Hardage Mill Trail
. This is a very nice singletrack that has some moderate hills. (There is one intersection, make sure to stay straight through this! The other trail is not maintained and leads to people's back yards!)
This section will lead all the way down to the creek. Stay along the creek, turn right over the bridge, then take an immediate right to get on the South Hardage Mill Trail
. Now get ready to climb! This section gains a fair amount of elevation, and then goes back down to another, smaller creek, and then right back up again.
Stay on this trail until you come to Dallas Highway. Take a left at the road to go down a very wide gravel pathway. There is a long downhill here, almost half a mile, so use it as a nice recovery from all the hills that were just climbed. Take the hill all the way down, and cross over the bridge. Stay on this doubletrack all the way through as it passes over gentle hills. Follow the yellow trail markers all the way back to the parking lot.
Lots of historical markers for troop lines along the way.