Hiking Trail Review
for
Shoal Creek Trail
in
DuPont State Forest


A jewel of a trail with lots of turkey brush, a pine grove, and the opportunity to follow Shoal Creek to one of its sources.



The trail beckons.

photo by A. Scott Lavender


Both ends of this trail are accessible from Sky Valley Road.  This is a moderate-difficulty trail paralleling the namesake creek.  There is a nice section of pine woods along the way.  If you like water, you’ll like this trail.  The creek is sometimes closer and sometimes further away, but it is always within earshot.  I am considering the nearest end of the trail (to DuPont Road) the beginning.

Directions:

From DuPont Road (a.k.a. Staton Road):  Turn onto Sky Valley Road off DuPont Road.  This junction is 3.2 miles north of the DuPont Visitors Centre.  Travel 1 mile to the trailhead on the right.  Note the road turns to gravel at .7 miles.  There is a 2-3 car parking area on the right; the trail begins on the left side of the road.

Blaze Markings:  unblazed

Length:  approximately 1 mile; exactly 5385 feet.  Note this is shorter than the listed length of 1.2 miles on the Western North Carolina Trail Guide:  DuPont State Forest map by Pisgah Map Company (2014).  Also, as the trail does not loop, the there and back distance is approximately 2 miles or exactly 10,770 feet.  The hike can be made a loop by incorporating .7 miles of Sky Valley Road that lies between the two ends of the trail.   

Difficulty:  moderate; due to effective length and some slope.




A moss-covered stump along the way adds some green to the winter scene.

photo by A. Scott Lavender


This trail’s primary feature is Shoal Creek, which undulates along the trail almost the entire length.  Most of the trail is an old road, but it does narrow at the very end just past the source of the creek and remains so until the trail ends.  Turkey brush frequently graces the path.  Both the Flatwoods Trail and the Farm House Trail are accessible from Shoal Creek Trail.  There is some slope.  I hiked this trail in mid-January with my friend A. Scott Lavender.  It was warm and sunny, and I didn’t even need a coat.

 

I began measuring distance at the edge of Sky Valley Road before the trail sign. 

 

Shoal Creek Trail:

At 830’, an old road to the left goes generally toward the creek.  Stay straight.

At 2025’, the trail crosses a small feeder creek.

At 2429’, there is a junction with Farm House Trail to the right.  Shoal Creek forks here (not visible from the trail); the trail follows the westernmost fork until its terminus and beyond.  From here until the end of the trail, there is a pine grove.  It is predominantly to the right side of the trail until the junction with the Flatwoods Trail; after that, the trail is within it.

At 4157’, there is a junction with the Flatwoods Trail to the right.

At 4471’, the trail forks as it has been rerouted, possibly due to a marshy area near the stream.  Take the right fork (it is straight ahead).

At 4850’, the trail surpasses the western branch source of Shoal Creek.

At 4955’, the trail passes under a power line cut.

At 5375’, there are two posts marking the trail on this end.  When we hiked it, there was no trail sign on this end of the trail.

At 5385’, the trail ends at the edge of Sky Valley Road. 




Shoal Creek is just getting started at this point.

photo by A. Scott Lavender


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