River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers
Closed at night.
This trail features 1000 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead to the high ridge which marks the USFS boundary. Bikers and hikers frequent the preserve, though it's not as crowded as the DuPont and Pisgah forest trails. The steep ascent out of the parking lot (0.5 miles of continual uphill) turns off a lot of casual hikers.
All the trails are singletrack with no major obstacles, and plenty of tight turns and ascents and descents, making for a solid intermediate difficulty trail. You'll very rarely get level terrain.
Need to Know
No parking fees; no restrooms. Parking is limited.
The 0.5 mile ascent out of the parking lot is tight and steep with blue blazes (Bracken Mountain Trail
), and features several sharp switchbacks due to the narrow conservation easement granted to allow access to the Bracken Preserve property. The upside to the steep slog out of the parking lot is that it turns off a lot of casual hikers, leaving you with blissful solitude in the heart of the trail system.
The red trail (red blazes, Brushy Creek Trail
) forks off the blue trail at the 0.6 mile marker. The red trail quickly descends to the lowest point the trail system. There are four small waterfalls on the red trail, each spanned by short wooden bridges. You'll hike over the first three waterfalls within the first half mile of heading onto the red trail. After that, you'll begin an undulating climb from 2,477 ft to 3,114 feet over the next two miles. There are several markers along with way with descriptions of local flora and fauna and waterfalls.
At the 3.1 mile marker, you can take a left onto the short yellow trail (yellow blazes, Mackey Ridge Trail
), which will bring you back onto the blue trail and back to the parking lot to complete the 5 mile hike.
Flora & Fauna
Plenty of mountain laurel and rhododendron, with your typical assortment of Pisgah flora. You'll rarely be exposed to direct sunlight, as the trails are covered in dappled light streaming through the trees.
Shared By: Mark Hall