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Ridge Trail and Lake Trail at Hickory Run State Park

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

I had intended to go for a nice long bicycle ride on the 5th, but we enjoyed our hiking on the 4th so much that we decided to do some more hiking instead. I’ve been in a bit of a cycling rut anyway, and sometimes the best medicine is some time off the bike for other activities.

We got off to a bit of a late start and headed to Hickory Run State Park without much of a plan other than that we wanted to hike a couple of the shorter trails there. We managed to get into a bit of an argument. I wanted to hike the Ridge Trail (the other half of the Shades of Death trail we hiked previously), but Sarah told me to go ahead, she’d sit this one out in the car.


View Ridge Trail and Lake Trail at Hickory Run State Park 07/05/2009 in a larger map

Ridge Trail

I went ahead, a bit frustrated with the situation. As it turns out, when I’m upset, I hike a lot faster. I even ran a few parts, which was surprisingly fun. I say “surprisingly” because running is something I’ve never enjoyed. There might be some trail running in my future. Maybe.

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The Ridge Trail was pretty, but not as stunning as the other half of the Shades of Death trail. While that trail went deeper in the woods, this one stayed close to the road for a while, and climbed above it. The trail was quite narrow at times, and skirted the edge of a ravine.

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After a while, the trail spit me out by a dammed portion of Hickory Run. It was a strange dam in that it was designed to allow the water to flow over the road. A strange design, but I saw several vehicles safely maneuver it, including some SUVs but also a Mercedes sedan, the driver of which did not look amused.

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The trail climbed back up above the road and turned to go deeper into the forest. There was quite a bit of climbing and the trail got increasingly overgrown. The undergrowth varied from grasses to myrtle to ferns and various other plants. I saw a few more wild blueberries, but they weren’t ripe yet.

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The trail once again dropped down to the road, and this time it ended there. Here, Hickory Run had cut its way through lots of rock. The road was a small, one-lane “scenic drive” that would make for some excellent cycling. This would be worth exploring in the future.

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I turned back and shortly after passing the strange bridge, ran into Sarah. She had changed her mind and came to meet me. We patched things up and I took her to see Hickory Run, and the weird bridge. Then we headed back to the car. On the way back, we saw part of what was once a building, and a small hut with a spring coming out of it.

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Once back at the car, we decided we should head over and hike the Lake Trail.

Lake Trail

We had a little trouble finding the trailhead for the Lake Trail, and when we did, there was no parking there, even though the description said there would be. We managed to find a place to park a little ways down the wonderful gravel road.

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As you might expect, the trail took us to Hickory Run Lake. We walked over to get some views of the lake and then got back on the trail. We crossed an eerily-clear stream, passed through some woods, and sort of lost track of the trail. We walked around a bit trying to figure out where the trail was supposed to go. It just continued the way we had been going, but a lack of blazes made it unclear whether that was really where we were supposed to go.

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We had to turn at an intersection that wasn’t marked on the map, in order to stay on the trail. We saw a tree that had grown over an old stump, and lots of mountain laurel. The yellow blazes we had been following changed to orange reflectors.  We once again weren’t sure if we were in the right place, but eventually we reached the Stage Trail. The Lake Trail ended here and while we could have put together a loop with some other trails, we opted to head back. We stopped for some more views of the lake on our way back.

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The Lake Trail ended up not being much of a trail at all. I guess it’s mostly useful to access the lake, and not as great for hiking. The scenery was nice, though.

Over all, another day with over 4.5 miles of nice hiking. One of these days maybe we’ll get an earlier start and hike longer.

One Response to “Ridge Trail and Lake Trail at Hickory Run State Park”

  1. Myles/ rattrappress Says:

    I can’t get over the number of beautiful parks and roadways in your area. I really want to travel up north and do some hiking and riding.

    About your trail running comment, running on trails doesn’t feel like work. Running on a road or track is mind numbing.

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