Birding · Fall Colors · Wildlife
While there is not a lot of flat ground on this hike, the hills are not long. Towards the back of the loop it can get pretty mucky after a rain, and the ACLT have done a nice job of building raised wooden pathways to get you over the swampy parts of the trail.
Need to Know
Parking is free but the road in is not well marked.
There is not much as far as a view during the summer when the leaves are on the trees, but you hike through several different forest types, and the trail is a mix of doubletrack and singletrack. Each turn and hill brings different flora, and there are stretches where the path has a sandy base (it is packed hard so it is still easy to hike). Along the loop, you are always under tree cover so the sun isn't an issue.
There are a few steep switchbacks where you may need to slow down, but the great majority of the trail can be done without being over-taxed. Some of the low spots can get pretty muddy after rains but will still be passable.
The trail is not heavily used which is good and bad. You generally have the loop to yourself, even on weekends, but that also means you may end up hiking through dozens of orb weaver spider webs that decided to weave their webs across the path, many at eye level. I ended up doing the first loop with a stick clearing the webs (at least 25-30 of them) before hiking the next loop. Looking forward to freezing weather when the spiders die out.
I have seen a black snake and a copperhead, box turtles, and plenty of squirrels.
Flora & Fauna
I saw my first ever copperhead snake in the wild here. Also a black snake, plenty of spiders (you can eat a lot of webs if you are the first one out). Mostly, what you would expect from a mid-Atlantic trail.
Tulip poplar, oak, hickory, Virginia pine, sycamores, pawpaws, dogwoods, cardinal flowers, mayapples, Virginia waterleaf, bloodroot, ferns, and orchids, cattails, arrow arum, sedges
Giant carp, muskrat, otter, American bald eagle, heron, osprey, wild turkey.
Shared By: Brian Timko
by Ryan Spr