Collier Cove Nature Preserve Trip Report

posted in: Trip Reports, WNC Hiking | 0

I’d heard about some new trails on a Buncombe County property that I wanted to check out. So January 4, 2015, when I got the opportunity, I headed out there with the family. What we found was a nice little trail network perfect for exercise trips when you don’t have a lot of time.

Entrance Sign and Parking Area

Or maybe it’s a good place for working off a big meal at 12 Bones BBQ, which is just on the other side of the mountain from the trails. Or maybe you could head to 12 Bones after getting yourself nice and hungry while hiking! Either way, BBQ would be involved so that’d be real good.

But I digress – back to the trails.

Trail Split and Sign
This is the first junction you come to out of the main parking area. All trails are well signed like this throughout Collier Cove Nature Preserve.

Although I don’t think I’d suggest driving hours from out of town just to hike there, the trails are a nice addition to the inventory in our area, and offer a few small treats such as some views, a small “play meadow”, and a splashing (seasonal) stream. The forest is pretty heavily choked with invasives in places, but looks like it could indeed sport some natural beauty in others. It was kind of gray in the middle of winter, but spring wildflowers (including trillium) are reported to be beautiful on this southeastern slope.

Trail in Collier Cove Nature Preserve
A network of these disused old narrow roads form the trails in Collier Cove Nature Preserve. They’ve been there long enough for the banks to have trees growing on them.

The trails are at the back of the Royal Pines residential area on Brown Mountain, near Skyland and Lake Julian, south of Asheville. There is a parking area with plenty of spaces of of Rhododendron Drive. They wind around on an old network of roads – probably intended for a residential development at one time, if I had to guess. But for whatever reason – perhaps the high-voltage power lines that were run down the center of the area? – this little cove was never developed, making for a nice outdoor haven in the South Asheville suburbs.

Tree-Lined Trail
These trees look like they were planted, or cultivated somewhat, along the lower slopes in Collier Cove Nature Preserve.

The trails are a bit steep in places, and can get very muddy after rain (which it did the night before we visited). But overall, the trails are in pretty good shape and even my 5 year old was able to explore every one of them with us in one go. Near the top, and under the power lines, there are some views out across rural Buncombe County.

View of Bearwallow and Little Pisgah
This view from under the power lines near the top of the hill in Collier Cove Nature Preserve shows the summits of Bearwallow Mountain (right) and Little Pisgah Mountain (left) near the upper end of the Hickory Nut Gorge, in the eastern part of Buncombe County.

We’ll be posting the full details on HikeWNC shortly, but for the time being, here’s a GPS track of our route, which includes all the trails. The address for the parking area is 194 Rhododendron Drive. The County also publishes a map which you might want to print out or download to your phone. It’s posted here at the Friends of Collier Cove group’s page on Facebook.

The above map is a raw GPS track of our route. All data in our raw GPS files are un-verified and un-corrected. Please see our Hiking, Mountain Biking, or Waterfalls sites for our guidebook-style curated information for each road and/or trail.

If you’re in the area and don’t have a lot of time, but still looking for a decent hike, give it a look!

Full Photo Gallery

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