The trail guide to the Micajah Trail in DuPont State Forest. You definitely want to hike this trail to see the triple rock faces.
Note: The Micajah Trail is not accessible from a road. I am considering the section of the trail at the junction with Rock Quarry Road Trail as the beginning. Thus, I have given instructions to access the Rock Quarry Road Trail, from thence to the Micajah Trail, and the Micajah Trail to its terminus at the Buck Ridge Road Trail.
Directions to Rock Quarry Road Trail:
There are three ways to access the trail: 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 2.3 miles to Rock Quarry Road Trail sign on the left. There is a small 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 .2 miles to Rock Quarry Road Trail on the right. There is a small parking area and a trail sign. 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 .4 miles. Rock Quarry Road Trail is on the right. There is a small parking area and a trail sign. 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.
View from the first of the rock faces.
photo by Bret James Stewart
Blaze Markings: unblazed
Length: approximately 1 mile (approximately 2 miles there and back as the trail does not end at an accessible location; exactly 5273 feet one way; combined with the access portion of Rock Quarry Road Trail, it is 6477 feet one way; note the distance of the Micajah Trail is slightly longer than the distance of .82 as portrayed on the trail map produced by Friends of DuPont Forest in 2008.
Although the Micajah Trail does not end at an accessible location, there are various ways to make the trail a partial loop by using all or portions of Buck Ridge Road Trail, Rock Quarry Road Trail, and/or Wilkie Trail. Please see the trail map or the trail reviews on this site to piece these together.
Difficulty: moderate; due to elevation change and the effective length of the trail due to having to backtrack the entire trail.
The Rock Quarry Road Trail portion is, indeed, a road. It is gravelled and broad. The hike to the Micajah Trail is mostly uphill, though the grade is not excessively steep. The Micajah Trail itself includes portions that were road in the past that have closed in. Portions of it appear to have never been road. There are three brilliant rock faces along the trail, and these alone make the hike worthwhile. The trail is graced with a great deal of ivybush (Kalmia latifolia), turkey brush, galax, and pine as well plenty of deciduous trees that make this a mixed forest type. I assume the source of the name “Micajah” is Micajah Thomas, an early property owner in what is now DuPont State Forest.
I hiked this trail in late February. It was cold pretty much all day, and there were dabs of snow here and there as I hiked, adding a bit of white to the path. These were left over from a previous snow.
The Rock Quarry Road Portion:
I began measuring distance at the gate just off Cascade Lake Road. This wide and easy portion of the trail is uphill until just before the junction with the Micajah Trail. There is lots of laurel (Rhododendron maximum) and pine along this portion.
At 1204’, there is a junction with the Micajah Trail to the left.
Pine tree on one of the rock faces
photo by Bret James Stewart
Beginning from the centre of Rock Quarry Road Trail.
At 626’, a brisk stream crosses the path.
At 2140’, there is a junction with Wilkie Trail. Note the trail map uses the term “Wilkie”, but the trail sign reads “Wilke” with only one “i”. I do not know which it should be. Since Forest Service literature uses the former, I will do likewise.
At 2994’, you can begin to see the first of the rock faces peeping through the trees (perhaps only in winter).
At 3240’, a nice rock overhang is present.
At 3320’, is another rock overhang.
At 4087’, the first rock face spreads before you. The trail is across the face itself from here to 4244’. This is a phenomenal spot. Long range mountain views are present. Lots of moisture and moss combined with some picturesque trees and snags make this a place to spend some time.
At 4341’, a miniature rock face, in comparison to the previous, hosts the trail. This ends at 4550’.
At 5122’, the third rock face appears. This one is more covered with moss and trees. It is a peaceful spot. The trail is across the face to 5202’.
At 5273’, the trail ends at a junction with Buck Ridge Road Trail.
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