The trail guide to Cannon Creek Trail in DuPont State Forest. This trail is not heavily hiked, offering a peaceful hiking experience.
Directions: There are two ways to access the trail, both from U.S. 276; on near Brevard, N.C. and the other in Cedar Mountain, N.C.
Near Brevard, N.C.: Take U.S. Highway 276. Turn onto Becky Mountain Road. Travel .10 and turn Left onto Rich Mountain Road. Travel 4.8 miles total; the road will turn to gravel at 2.9 miles, continue as gravel for 1.9 miles, then pavement will resume at 4.6 miles with the trail approximately .9 miles further. The trail will be on the left at a small parking area with a trail sign.
From Cedar Mountain, N.C.: Take U.S. Highway 276. Turn onto Rich Mountain Road. Travel 1.8 miles to the trail. The trail is on the right. There is a regular parking area and trail sign.
Note: the gravelled portion of Rich Mountain Road is nothing short of spectacular for long range views and pastoral beauty. I heartily recommend taking the gravelled portion on the drive in or out.
Blaze Markings: unblazed
Length: approximately 1.31 miles (approximately 2.6 miles there and back as the trail does not end at an accessible location; see below); exactly 6937 feet; the DuPont State Forest trail map published by Friends of Dupont Forest (rev. 2008) portrays the length at 1.36 miles, which is very close to my measurement.
As there is no other driving access to the trail, I am considering the Rich Mountain Road end of the trail as the beginning even though trail wear indicates the trail is more frequently accessed from Buckhorn Creek Road Trail. Hikers wanting to travel one way could leave a vehicle on Cascade Lake Road where the Rock Quarry Road Trail begins, the hike Cannon Creek Trail to the end, turning left onto Buckhorn Creek Road Trail to the end (at a four way intersection), then going straight onto Rock Quarry Road to Cascade Lake Road.
Difficulty: moderate; due to elevation change
View down Cannon Creek Trail toward Buckhorn Creek Road Trail.
Photo by Bret James Stewart.
Cannon Creek Trail is a short trail with some elevation change. The namesake creek is visible and crossed on the Rich Mountain Road end of the path. The trail features lots of laurel (Rhododendron maximum), ivy bush (Kalmia latifolia), some chestnut sprouts, and three areas of exposed rock that add a mystical quality to the trail. There are many interesting rock formations beyond the rock faces and intriguing trees and stumps. I hiked this trail in October, and the leaves were just beginning to change, with individual trees striking in their beauty against the background of the forest. I hiked the trail again in April with my friend A. Scott Lavender. This is the westernmost trail in DuPont State Forest.
I began measuring distance at the trail sign at the Rich Mountain Road access. Part of the trail is an old roadbed, as is the case with many trails in DuPont State Forest. The trail parallels Rich Mountain Road until 1230’, which is mostly uphill. The trail begins going back downhill around 1200’, and away from the road. You can hear Cannon Creek quite nicely in this 1200’ area.
A detail of of one of the rock faces along Cannon Creek Trail in DuPont State Forest.
Photo by Bret James Stewart.
At 202’, notice the interesting tree on the right.
At 1332’, a nice bridge with a rock and timber design crosses over Cannon Creek. This is a decent-sized creek for the area. I saw a crayfish (I have always called them crawdads) dart off under the creek bank when I began tromping across the bridge.
At 2467’, there is another creek crossing, but no bridge. I think this is a branch of Cannon Creek rather than Cannon Creek proper.
At 3067’, there is a large rock formation on the left of the path.
At 3284’, is another nice rock formation. This area in general has a lot of nice rocks and tree stumps.
At 3470’, notice a “triple tree” on the right. It appears that three trees share the same trunk.
At 4241’ is the first of three exposed rock areas. The rock is approximately 256’ of the trail. The rock is partially covered by the forest, and peeks out here and there in the immediate vicinity and even a little further along the trail; the area is very mossy; continue straight to remain on the trail.
At 4487’, beware of a false junction. The trail appears to go either left or right (straight). Go right; the left path goes a ways before petering out at private land.
At 5584’ a rock “step” leads to another area of exposed rock. This one is smaller and clearer than the first one. This section of visible rock plays peek-a-boo with the hiker until opening up again at a larger portion beginning around 6077’. As the two sections somewhat run together, it is up to the individual to determine whether or not this is one prolonged area or two tenuously connected areas; I am considering them separate areas. The trail continues straight across the rock.
At 6077’ a third area of exposed rock appears. It is almost rectangular and reminds me of nothing other than a small basketball court, though not as smooth, of course. The trail continues straight across the rock. Just beyond the rock face, the trail heads downhill to the end of the trail. A nice pine grove is on the left.
At 6937’ a trail sign marks the end of the trail. The Buckhorn Creek Road Trail forms a T junction at the end of Cannon Creek. As mentioned above, the Buckhorn Creek Road Trail is apparently considered the primary trail and the sign has been placed where the trail appears to fork from the perspective of a hiker on the Buckhorn Creek Road Trail.
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