While many prefer to hike the loop counterclockwise, either direction is a pleasure. The trail is well-maintained, but the terrain is rugged and scenic. So allow extra time to complete the loop. The trail passes many rock outcroppings, a couple caves, and is highlighted by the Irish Run Natural Bridge.
There is a short dirt access road on the southwest portion of the loop which makes for a welcome sight after the sustained climb that leads up to it. If you do not like doubletrack, do not let this deter you from hiking this loop if you are looking for a challenging singletrack. There are plenty of climbs, rock gardens, and switchbacks to keep you on your toes.
Archer's Fork Loop Trail is one of the easier trails to hike in the area. It gets more traffic than some of the others, giving it a harder packed trail tread. As soon as you enter Archer's Fork Loop from another trail, you can feel that the trail is firmer from increased use. There are typically fewer leaves on this trail as well. Nonetheless, it is still a black diamond level trail for distance and elevation.
The loop is well-marked with wooden signs at intersections and yellow blazes along the trail. It's actually easy to follow compared to other trails in large forests like this one.
Stop at the sign indicating the natural bridge. You cannot see the bridge from Archer's Fork Trail, but it is a very short distance down the spur trail to the bridge. The hill is quite steep, but it is well worth seeing the natural bridge that typically only exists out west (they call them arches in Utah).
Shared By: Jeff Carter