Hiking Trail Review
Lake Imaging Road Trail
DuPont State Forest 

Lake Imaging Road Trail in DuPont State Forest is the primary trail off the access area. There are an number of trails off of the main path. Bring a picnic lunch and stop for a lazy snack at the lake.

Like many of DuPont State Forest trails, Lake Imaging Road Trail features a nice mixture of rock and earth.


Photo by A. Scott Lavender

Hearkening back to the DuPont factory days, the Lake Imaging Road Trail leads to a plethora of other trails and is named for Lake Imaging (a pond, actually) along the route.   This trail is accessible from the Lake Imaging Access Area.  There is an outdated kiosk available.  The primary trail accessed here is Lake Imaging Road Trail, though there are several other trails off it, which leads from the parking area to Buck Forest Road Trail.


There are two ways to reach the access area: one from U.S. 276 in Cedar Mountain, N.C. and the other from Crab Creek Road.

From Cedar Mountain, N.C.:  Take U.S. Highway 276.  Turn onto Cascade Lake Road.  Drive 2.5 miles.  Turn right onto Staton Road.  Travel 2.8 miles.  Lake Imaging Access Area is on the right.  This is a medium-sized 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).  Travel 2.6 miles.  Turn left into Lake Imaging Access Area.  There is a medium-sized parking area.

Blaze Markings:  unblazed

Length:  approximately 1.5 miles (approximately 3 miles there and back as the trail does not end at an accessible location; exactly 7990 feet or 15,980 feet there and back.  This matches the one way distance of 1.5 miles listed on the DuPont State Recreational Forest trail map published by the North Carolina Forest Service (rev. 2012).  It can be made a partial loop by piecing together a number of trails such as Hill Top Trail and a segment of Grassy Creek Falls Trail.  Please see the trail map or the trail reviews on this site for more information.

Difficulty:  moderate; this is the official trail designation, and I agree with the assessment; even with the actual distance of 3 miles, it deserves the moderate designation.

The covered dock at lake imaging contemplates itself.

Photo by A. Scott Lavender

Note the trail map shows the trail going off the parking lot to the left; it actually goes to the right and wraps around.  I hiked this trail in mid-May with my friend, A. Scott Lavender.  It features some slope and a nice variety of terrain.  There is the lake, of course, with its picnic shelter and fishing or observation deck, so there is more than the usual fare here.  We saw a flame azalea and a batch of lady slippers.

I began measuring distance at the edge of the parking area. 

At 60’, the road is gated.

At 118’, there is a nice kiosk with an unfortunately outdated map.

At 365’, there is an unofficial trail to the left.  Keep straight.

At 413’, a decently-sized creek flows under the road.

At 853’, there is a junction with Ridgeline Trail to the left.

At 1179’, a horse tie-out is on the right.

At 1214’, Lake Imaging greets you.  A picnic shelter, a regular dock, and a partially covered dock are present.

At 1351’, the trail crosses a culvert for the stream feeding the lake.

At 1394’, a nice oak splits the trail.  Take either way.

At 1617’, there is a junction with Jim Branch Trail to the left.  It’s superb rockwork is inviting.

At 1735’, an unofficial trail to the left leads to the lake.

At 1762’, a small creek passes beneath the trail.  This one does not lead to the lake, though it appears to do so.

At 2744’, there is an unofficial trail to the left.  Stay straight.

From 3871’ to 4050’, a meadow graces the path.

From 6000’ to 6184’, the trail is on-and-off-again a rock face.

At 6391’, there is a junction with Hill Top Trail to the right.  At the time of this writing, the sign reads “Hilltop Loop.”  The trail has been recently expanded and is no longer a loop. 

At 6500’, is a junction with Locust Trail to the left.  You can hear Grassy Creek Falls from this point on.

At 6720’, notice the cool rocks to the left.

At 7578’, there is a junction with Grassy Creek Falls Trail to the right.  The falls (a cascade, actually) is only 500’ away, so it is well worth a side-trek.

At 7990’, the trail ends at a junction with Buck Forest Road Trail.

Don't let this picture fool you, some of Lake Imaging Trail is steep.

Photo by A. Scott Lavender

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