A trail guide to Longside Trail in DuPont State Forest. This trail has a number of interesting features that make it a must see.
The Longside Trail is not accessible directly. It can be accessed either from Pine Tree Trail or Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail, the two trails at either end of Longside. I am considering the junction with Corn Mill Shoals to be the primary access due largely to the nearby Corn Mill Shoals Access Area (parking area). This is the beginning of the trail for purposes of this hiking trail guide. The Access Area features ample parking and a kiosk with a rather outdated map.
A mystic view of Longside Trail
photo by A. Scott Lavender
Directions to Corn Mill Shoals Access Area:
There are three ways to access the parking area: one from U.S. 276 in Cedar Mountain, N.C. and the other two from Crab Creek Road. The two from Crab Creek Road are DuPont/Staton Road and Cascade Lake Road. The former should be chosen by those wanting ease and speed; the latter should be chosen if you want to drive a slower gravel road with less ease and more scenery.
From Cedar Mountain, N.C.: Take U.S. Highway 276. Turn onto Cascade Lake Road. Drive 1.8 miles to Corn Mill Shoals Access Area on the left. There is a large parking area.
DuPont Road from Crab Creek Road: Take Crab Creek Road (this road is also known as Kanuga Road in Henderson County should one be coming from Hendersonville). Turn onto DuPont Road. Travel 1.2 miles. DuPont Road ends and Staton Road begins (i.e. DuPont Road becomes Staton Road—this change is due to the road crossing the county line between Henderson and Transylvania Counties). At 5.4 miles, turn left onto Cascade Lake Road. Travel .7 miles to Corn Mill Access Area on the right. This route is considered the primary route.
Cascade Lake Road from Crab Creek Road: Take Crab Creek Road (this road is also known as Kanuga Road in Henderson County should one be coming from Hendersonville). Turn onto Cascade Lake Road. Travel 1.2 miles. The road turns at a confusing junction with Hart Road. Hart Road is paved and goes to the right. Cascade Lake turns to gravel at this point and goes to the left. Remain on Cascade Lake Road. Travel 5 miles; this portion of the road is graveled. Note the nice waterfall at mile 3.0. At the 5 mile mark, the road turns into pavement. Travel .9 miles. Corn Mill Shoals Access Area is on the right. This route is the secondary route and takes significantly longer to travel. It is less than two vehicles wide most of the way, so take your time and be aware. I would not recommend this route except for the interesting features along the way (and, hey, I just like gravel roads), including Cascade Lake itself, lots of forest, and the waterfall mentioned above.
The springhead on the trail
photo by A. Scott Lavender
Blaze Markings: unblazed
Length: approximately .84 miles (approximately 1.68 miles there and back as the trail does not end at an accessible location; exactly 4435 feet one way; this is slightly longer than the .75 miles listed in the DuPont State Forest trail map published by Friends of Dupont Forest (rev. 2008).
Although Longside Trail does not end at an accessible location, there are various ways to make the trail a loop by using portions of Corn Mill Shoals Trail and Pine Tree Trail. A shorter loop can be made using part of the Longside Trail to the Twixt Trail, taking the Twixt Trail back to Cascade Lake Road and thence to the Access Area, though this means you will not hike all of the Longside Trail should that matter. Please see the trail map or the trail reviews on this site to piece these together.
Difficulty: moderate; due to elevation change, especially toward the end, and relative length due to there and back distance.
Longside Trail features some change in elevation. Interesting and large rock formations are all along the trail, and there is a nice swath of laurel (Rhododendron maximum), ivybush (Kalmia latifolia), and holly near the end of the trail. It more or less parallels Cascade Lake Road until the junction with Twixt Trail. Longside Trail connects with 3 other trails, the Corn Mill Shoals Trail, Twixt Trail, and Pine Tree Trail.
I hiked this trail in early March with my friend A. Scott Lavender. This was the same day we hiked the Wilkie Trail and Twixt Trail, so we had a nice day of it.
This trail involves hiking a dab of the Corn Mill Shoals Trail to get to Longside Trail. From Corn Mill Shoals Access Area (parking area), cross the road to the Corn Mill Shoals Trail sign. I began measuring from the trail sign.
The first large boulder along the trail.
photo by A. Scott Lavender
The Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail Portion:
At 123’, a creek crosses the trail.
At 187’, there is a junction with Longside Trail to your left.
The Longside Trail:
I began measuring from the edge of the Corn Mill Shoals Trail.
At 293’, a large rock overlooks the surrounding laurel thicket. This is the first of many interesting rock formations along the trail.
At 946’, there is a junction with Twixt Trail to the left. Longside continues uphill at this point.
At 1235’, the trail crosses a wet area via a wooden plank. The next springhead is audible from here, it’s bubbling welcome in all seasons.
At 1263’, the springhead you could hear is visible. This little guy is crystal clear, framed in moss, and sings down a short stairway of rocks leading from the ground from which it springs to the trail. There are also some winter views from here.
At 2401’, a sharp turn, a u-turn, really, is present. A dark rock slab oversees the turn.
At 3275’, the laurel, ivybush, and holly wood begins. This is a welcome companion until the end of the trail.
At 4435’, the trail ends at the junction with Pine Tree Trail.
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