Nooks Trail demonstrates why size is no indicator of quality.
Nooks Trail is not accessible from a road. The nearest access is from the Corn Mill Shoals Access Area to the Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail to Burnt Mountain Trail to Nooks Trail. I am measuring Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail from the Corn Mill Shoals Access Area (parking area) to the Burnt Mountain Trail then to Nooks Trail. The Access Area features ample parking and a kiosk with a rather outdated map.
Directions to Corn Mill Shoals Access Area:
There are three ways to access the parking area: 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 1.8 miles to Corn Mill Shoals Access Area on the left. There is a large 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 .7 miles to Corn Mill Access Area on the right. 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 .9 miles. Corn Mill Shoals Access Area is on the right. 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.
Blaze Markings: unblazed
Length: approximately .5 miles; exactly 2568’; note this is slightly longer than the distance of .4 miles given on the Friends of DuPont Forest trail map (rev. 2008); it is possible this difference is due to the .1 mile portion of the trail that leads to the loop and would not be counted if those making the map were not counting portions already hiked; note also that almost a mile, exactly 5135’, of Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail and about .1 mile, exactly 740’, of the Burnt Mountain Trail must be hiked to access the Nooks Trail. There and back distance is approximately 2.7 miles, exactly 14,318’.
Difficulty: Easy; this is the map designation. The trail itself is very easy. However, I rate this trail as Difficult due to significant elevation change as well as actual distance contained in the Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail and Burnt Mountain Trail necessary to access the trail.
View of the trial.
Photo by A. Scott Lavender
I hiked this trail in mid-April with my friend A. Scott Lavender. We hiked Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail to the second access of Burnt Mountain Trail, from thence to the access point with Nooks Trail. The trail review is, therefore, broken up into three sections: the relevant portions of the Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail and the Burnt Mountain Trail as well as the Nooks Trail itself.
I have no idea why the Nooks Trail is named as such. The short, private trail can be envisioned as a “nook” off the nearby trails, though I am speculating here. What I do know is that this is a great little trail. It begins at the junction with Burnt Mountain Trail in a lovely hemlock grove overlooking Little River. The river is visible along part of the trail, which winds around a knoll.
The Corn Mill Shoals Portion:
Beginning at the edge of Cascade Lake Road:
At 134’, a creek crosses the trail just before a gate.
At 203’, there is a junction with Longside Trail to your left.
At 345’, a small creek tinkles down from the left to cross the trail.
At 563’, there is a junction with Big Rock Trail on the left.
At 2297’, the trail is damp from a (possibly wet-weather) spring. You can hear the Little River from this point to the river itself (and beyond for a distance, of course).
At 2623’, the wet trail ends and a creek is underneath the trail.
At 2948’, notice the interesting rock formation on the right.
At 3775’, there is a junction with Burnt Mountain Trail on the right. This is the first access point for the Burnt Mountain Trail; the measurements herein assume the hiker continues to the second access point at 5135’.
At 3907’, a Y-junction with the Little River Trail occurs. Take the right fork to remain on Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail.
At 4700’, the sound of the cascades at the ford at Little River enliven the forest.
At 4955’, a (probably wet-weather) spring is encountered.
At 5135’, there is a pleasant bench at the junction with Burnt Mountain Trail to the right. Take Burnt Mountain Trail.
The Burnt Mountain Trail portion:
Beginning from the middle of the junction with Corn Mill Shoals Road Trail:
Little River is visible along the first 650’ of this trail and sporadically thereafter. It provides a nice view of a typical mountain river.
At 740’, there is a junction with the Nooks Trail to the left.
Nooks Trail Review:
At 472’, the loop begins at a Y-junction. I took the right fork.
At 1652’, notice the large pine on the right.
At 2098’, the trail creates the end of the loop.
At 2568’, you are back at the beginning of the trail.
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