“This loop offers fun terrain, mature forest, and plenty of water to admire. The Bear Branch section is a steep climb!”
— Eli Smith
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers
Be cautious during hunting season! Always wear bright colors.
This is a lovely hike through thick forest. Though this means there aren't many stunning viewpoints, you'll be winding around though forest, along creeks and past waterfalls. This is a great hike to get out and enjoy nature.
Need to Know
Creek crossings can be difficult in high water. The uphill is steep! Cell reception is poor. No restroom facilities.
From the parking area, hike approximately 50 yards on Big Hungry Road to a forest road on the right with a metal gate. Go around the gate and take the old road bed past a road to the right, descending gradually along Bishop Branch
Trail for about 0.5 miles. As the trail reaches the creek it turns west.
Follow this to the junction with Rock Hop
Trail which heads off to the northwest following the creek. Turn right to follow Rock Hop
Trail which levels out a bit as it winds through the thick forest, crossing Pulliam Creek just before it dead end's at the junction with the Pulliam Creek
Trail. Turn left and Pulliam Creek
Trail will begin to descend along the Pulliam Creek. About 1.5 miles along the hike there is a small waterfall, Pulliam Creek Falls. This can make for a nice place to stop and rest for a bit.
Just after the falls, Pulliam Creek
Trail crosses the creek; when its low water, this is mostly just rock hopping, but after a weather event, you may be getting your feet wet. If water levels look too high, use your best judgement-this may be a good place to turn back. After crossing the creek, the trail continues to descend, but not as quickly as the creek, and it traverses along the edge of the wooded ridge. Unfortunately, unless its winter, you won't get much in the way of views here.
The trail continues descending, reaching the lowest point of the trip at the junction with Bear Branch Trail
. Take this left to head uphill along the drainage. This climb can feel a bit steep in places, but push on because the grade will eventually ease up. Bear Branch Trail
continues to wind up the ridge and about 4.2 miles into the hike, you'll once again descend. At the junction with Bishop Branch
Trail, turn left onto it and follow it all the way back to the parking area.
The trails comprising this hike mostly have a dirt surface though there are a few rocks sprinkled in along its length. The foliage makes this nice in the autumn, but unless it is winter there arent too many long range views. Besides the falls, there are many places along the trail to sit and rest although there are no benches; rocks will have to suffice.
Flora & Fauna
Healthy turkey, bear, and bird population. Hemlock stands can be found near water are are being treated by the Hemlock Restoration Initiative.