Hiking Trail Review
for
White Pine Loop Trail
in
DuPont State Forest


An easy loop off Hickory Mountain Road near Guion Farm.  Open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.



Typical trail view

photo by A. Scott Lavender


This trail is not directly accessible.  Both ends of the loop connect to Hickory Mountain Road, which is gated.  Thus, the loop is equidistant between the gate at Hickory Mountain Road and the accessible end of Rifle Trail off Sky Valley Road; I am considering the latter to be the beginning.  Thus, this hike involves all of Rifle Trail, a portion of Guion Trail, and a portion of Hickory Mountain Road as well as White Pine Loop itself.

There is no parking for Rifle Trail, so the nearby Shoal Creek Trail parking area is used.   

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 Shoal Creek trailhead.  Note the road turns to gravel at .7 miles.  There is a 2-3 car parking area present on the right.  Walk back 140’ to the Rifle Trail, which is on the same side of the road as the parking area.

Blaze Markings:  unblazed

Length:   Rifle Trail is approximately .47 mile; exactly 2456 feet.  Note this is shorter than the listed length of .5 miles on the Western North Carolina Trail Guide:  DuPont State Forest map by Pisgah Map Company (2014).  The portion of Guion Trail to Hickory Mountain Road is 305 feet.  The portion of Hickory Mountain Road to the near end of White Pine Loop is 432 feet.  White Pine Loop itself is approximately .22 miles or exactly 1185 feet to Hickory Mountain Road ( note this is much shorter than the length of .5 miles on the Western North Carolina Trail Guide:  DuPont State Forest map by Pisgah Map Company [2014]) plus 652 feet to get back to the original end of White Pine Loop.  This means the total distance is approximately .95 miles or exactly 5030 feet one way or approximately 1.91 miles or exactly 10,060 feet there and back.    As a side note, I personally recommend hiking back along Poplar Trail, which connects White Pine Loop and Rifle Trail.  This means a little overlap with White Pine Loop, but avoids more overlap than the way mentioned above plus it allows you to hike a whole new trail.

Difficulty:  easy; this is the official designation; however, due to effective length and slope; I personally rank this trail as moderate difficulty.



The meeting of the ways

photo by A. Scott Lavender


As is the case with most of DuPont, the trail is an old road.  The Poplar Trail is accessible from White Pine Loop Trail.  This trail review necessarily includes all of the Rifle Trail Review.

  

Rifle Trail:

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

 

At 787’, a nice patch of turkey brush carpets the forest floor to the right.

At 844’, there is a junction with Poplar Trail to the left.

At 2456’, the trail ends at a junction with Guion Trail.

Turn left onto the Guion Trail.  Travel 305 feet until the trail ends at Hickory Mountain Road.  Turn left again onto H.M. Road.  Travel 432 feet to the near end of White Pine Loop.

 

White Pine Loop

White Pine Loop is a short trail around a previously logged area.  There are a number of pines, some holly, and odds and ends that like the acidic soil of pine groves.  The trail itself is an old roadbed.  This is a short, almost level, and very easy hike.

I began measuring at the edge of Hickory Mountain Road

 

At 983’, there is a junction with Poplar Trail to the left.

At 1185’, the loop ends at the other side of Hickory Mountain Road.

If you don’t want to backtrack, turn right onto H.M. Road and travel 652 feet to the original end of White Pine Loop.




Some of the namesake white pines wave in the background

photo by A. Scott Lavender


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