Hiking Trail Review
for
Foster Creek Trail
in the
Pisgah Ranger District
of Pisgah National Forest


A short, stand-alone trail near Asheville with a nice pine grove and the namesake creek.



Pine trees abound along the path.

photo by A. Scott Lavender


Directions:

From Mills River, N.C.:  Take U.S. Highway 280, which is known as Boyleston Highway in this area.  Turn onto North Mills River Road at the Ingles Grocery Store.  Drive 1.4 miles.  Turn right onto Foster Creek Road.  Drive 1 mile to the trailhead.  The approach to the trail is a nice mixture of homes, stewarded forest, and pasture.  Note that there is no parking at the trailhead itself.  Drive 368 feet to a pull off where the trail enters the wood.  You can walk back to the trailhead or proceed from this point.

Blaze Markings:  orange

Length:  approximately .78 miles (approximately 1.56 miles there and back as the trail does not end at an accessible location); exactly 4098 feet or 8196 feet there and back; this trail requires an additional 368 feet one way or 736 feet there and back if you walk back to the trailhead to begin the hike.  Thus, the entire there and back distance is approximately 1.70 miles or exactly 8932 feet actual distance.  The one way distance for Foster Creek Trail does not match the 2.5 miles listed on the Trails Illustrated Pisgah Ranger District trail map published by National Geographic (rev. 2003).

The trail can be made into a partial loop by using a portion of the gravel road at the end of the trail that is the same road the trailhead is on.  The road is gated part of the way up, so you cannot leave a car at the other end.

Difficulty:  easy; this is the official trail designation, and I agree. 




The clearly-blazed bridge

photo by A. Scott Lavender


I hiked this trail in late April with my friend, Scott Lavender.  It was a beautiful sunny day with a great temperature and the lifesong of spring growth.  The trial is partially an old roadbed paralleling Foster Creek, a small watercourse flowing through a mountain valley.  It has a typical bottomland forest type.  There is lots of pine trees, turkey brush, and laurel (Rhododendron maximum).  Turkey brush must thrive in acidic soil as I often see it with pine and/or laurel, which are found in acidic ground.  This trail is popular, and it is a good trail to meander with families or young children as there is very little elevation change.  This trail is isolated—it does not connect with another trail.

This area is Stewardship Forest, so there are various flags and other blazes visible along the way.  The trail itself has an orange blaze and is easy to follow, just don’t be thrown off by the other colours and ribbons.

I began measuring distance at the trailhead.  Note the sign reads “Foster Creek Rd.”

 

Foster Creek Trail:

At 368’, the trail leaves the gravel road and turns right between two boulders to enter the wood at 433’.  This is where I am assuming you left your car.

At 590’, a wooden bridge crosses over Foster Creek.  The pine grove that dominates the trail begins on the other side.

At 1642’, a feeder stream crosses beneath the path.

At 2542’, a spur trail to the left goes to the creek and a camp site.

At 4098’, the trail ends further up the gravel road upon which it began.  You can backtrack or take the gravel road to the left and walk back to your car for a total of 8115’.




A side view from the trail

photo by A. Scott Lavender


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