New Trail Opens in DuPont State Forest

In celebration of National Trails day on June 1, 2013, several new trails were officially opened in DuPont State Recreational Forest, including a new connector between the end of Turkey Knob Road at Pinnacle Mountain Road and Little Briery trail. This new segment of trail, which was built by Long Cane Trails and funded by Friends of DuPont Forest, is an important connector and completes a “missing link” needed to make longer loops around the south side of DuPont, including a loop all the way around Lake Julia, without using some boring gravel roads. Designed with all users in mind, it’s not a difficult trail but does include some nice features along the way to make it more interesting – including vast areas of Galax and beautiful forests, rock slabs and rock outcrops, a creek crossing, and a sturdy bridge. With some switchbacks, frequent rolling grade reversals, and a gentle grade, the trail should remain in good condition for years to come!

We weren’t able to make the opening on June 1, but I did make it out Saturday to check out the new trail on foot. Here’s some pics and a report from that hike.

Starting at Pinnacle Mountain Road (where we parked), the new extension to Turkey Knob trail begins heading downhill. Right now, it’s still signed Turkey Knob Road at this junction, but word is that the road portion is going to be allowed to revert back to trail, and the whole thing will be labeled as a trail in the future.

Riders at the beginning of the new extension to Turkey Knob Road (Trail).

As the trail starts descending the ridge, it passes through vast beds of Galax, an evergreen plant common to DuPont and popular for greenery around the holidays. In June, it flowers with straight, white stalks – an amazing sight if you hit it at the right time.

Galax flowers beside the new portion of Turkey Knob trail.
Galax and mountain laurel flowering beside the new stretch of trail.

The trail passes several nice rock outcrops and over a few rock slabs near the top, spicing it up just a little. There are several rock slabs along the way, actually, but nothing like the vast expanses of rock on Big Rock or Cedar Rock trails.

Rock outcrop beside the new section of Turkey Knob trail.
Rock slab along the new Turkey Knob trail. 

The trail descends through some switchbacks, across a creek, and over another tributary on this new, sturdy bridge.

Sturdy new bridge along the Turkey Knob trail.

As you approach the bottom intersection with Briery Fork trail, you’ll see more ferns along rolling sections of the trail, before entering a forest of white pines – probably an old plantation. Here are a few more shots from the lower 1/3 of the trail.

Winding section of trail.
Rolling grade dips along the new Turkey Knob trail.
Ferns grow beside the trail near the bottom.
The trail winds up in a white pine plantation.
Trail sign at the bottom – it looks temporary.

At the intersection of Briery Fork trail, you can go left or right up to Joanna Road to make some nice loops. The trail here is signed as Turkey Knob Trail (not road), so that lends some support to the idea that it may be re-designated a trail from end to end. Whatever it’s called, we definitely thing this one’s worth hiking or riding. Here are some links to the trail pages with maps and GPS data:

Turkey Knob Road (Trail) on HikeWNC
Turkey Knob Road (Trail) on MTB WNC


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