Park in the lot marked for the Historical Park Farm/Horse trailer parking. Exit the parking lot south to the left corner which is to the right of the restrooms and by an information board and signpost marked for Spoon Branch Trail
(blue blazes). Go past the group of trees and the park benches on your right and exit through open field and parallel the park road back into the woods.
The trail bends to the left and exits the woods to cross over the park road and back into the woods. The trail skirts past a pond on the right before undulating down and around to the left towards a plank boardwalk. Careful of this after wet weather as this can be very slippery. After completing the plank boardwalk, the trail turns right past another signpost and heads towards a bridge. You'll still be following blue blazes at this point.
After crossing the bridge, bear right and at a fork, turn right on the orange-blazed Bridle Trail
. The Bridle Trail
follows parallel to the creek for a short while before bearing left and uphill. It bears left and then right before heading dead straight as though on the very border of the park. Parts of this straight section can be muddy. Eventually, the trail bends downhill towards a creek. Bear right after the bridge to continue on the trail. The blazing here can be tricky, and it is easy to turn left by mistake to close a much shorter loop.
To continue on the rest of the main loop keep following the orange blazes (bearing right) to the next creek and bridge crossing. The trail crosses over Rocky Branch Creek before finally turning left and following a wider track for a short time. Turn left off the wide track to continue on a singletrack trail which undulates before heading uphill past a wooden bench. Just after this bench, there is an easy climb before a sharp turn to the left that heads uphill.
Below, a bridge can be seen that crosses the main Rock Creek (this bridge will be reached later in the hike). Continue uphill and past a park bench. This is a convenient stopping point for a quick cuppa before continuing on the trail. The going is easy as the first of the two bridges previously crossed are reached; bear right to continue on the trail and bear right at the second of the bridges.
Before long, a turn on the right will be spotted which is white blazed and marked as the Spoon Branch/Rock Creek Connector
. Turn right onto the connector and after a very short while, turn right again to continue on the connector. Ignore the connector blaze that continues straight ahead. The connector soon heads downhill and then parallel to the creek before reaching a bridge and the start of green blazed Rock Creek Trail
. Crossing the bridge is a shortcut to reach Shelter 3.
Turn right to start the loop of Rock Creek Trail
. The trail follows the small creek for a while before undulating in the woods and then following another dry creek bed later on. A couple of boardwalks cross over the dry creek bed before a much larger bridge is reached that crosses over Rock Creek. Rock Creek Trail
can be continued on either side of the creek itself. Crossing over the bridge, the trail continues parallel to the Creek and towards the dam. Rather than crossing the bridge, continue straight on the trail and head towards the dam. In the summer months, the water is always flowing over the dam and it is very pretty to see. A mini gazebo can be seen across the creek which is a nice picnic stop.
Continue on Rock Creek Trail
to the right of the creek until a large gazebo is seen straight ahead. This is Elmo's Gazebo. This is equally a nice stopping point for a picnic or cuppa. Pick up Curtis Mill Trail
on the left to cross over the Creek. The paved trail back to the other side of the dam can be reached by turning left. Cross over the field and turn right to join the paved trail. Follow this to reach Obel's Shelter on the right. From here, hike on the park road to close the loop back at the parking lot.