Monday, January 16, 2012

South Mountain State Park Loop Hike 1/15/2012

We decided to get back out on the trail today with a short loop hike at South Mountain State Park.  We started from the parking area at the end of the road but took the less busy trail at the top of the parking next to the ranger's residence.  The Little River Trail immediately starts to climb.  Although not steep is gains elevation continuously for about a half mile.

The trail is an old dirt road that is well maintained.  This time of year there is not a lot of green showing along the trail but there were some ferns that have survived the winter weather.  There were also some Holly and Evergreens.  Although called the Little River Trail the only water we saw was a tiny run passing through a culvert under the road. 

The temperature was around 50 but the nights have been cold and there has been rain.  Near the end of this section of trail Mitch spotted some icicles melting away under a dirt overhang.  We began to get open views of the surrounding hills about this time.  At .7  miles we reached a trail intersection with clear signs.

We turned left and walked a half mile to the next trail intersection.  This area was a mostly level walk  with views on both sides.  The first trail allowed foot traffic only but this one is a horse trail and had evidence of such.  We had fun noticing the variety of horseshoe and hoof prints in the trail.  At the intersection there were more signs and an old bench.

Not wanting to make this a long hike we turned back to the first intersection and headed down the Raven Rock trail towards the River trail.  This trail seemed steeper then the trail we came up and had switchbacks and timbers added to retard erosion.  It was well maintained and not overly steep.  We came to a short fence that looked directly down on the park road.  The first step would have been a long one.

The trail crosses the road and goes a little ways down to the river.  From here it is a pleasant .4 mile walk along the water back to the parking lot.  We did not see a single person on the trail until we were beside the creek. This park may not have the spectacular vistas like the Blue Ridge Parkway oe the Smokies but it has many miles of pleasant trails to choose from.

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